WEAVER, Capital Press 8/16/12
A week after state wildlife managers killed a wolf that was
attacking cattle in northeastern Washington state, a rancher
there has found two more dead calves.
Laurier, Wash., rancher Len McIrvin found a dead calf the
afternoon of Aug. 14.
McIrvin believes the evidence was consistent with a wolf
attack, with multiple bites and fang marks on the
hindquarters about 1 3/4 inches apart.
Nate Pamplin, assistant director of the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife, said state biologists and
Steven’s County Sheriff’s officers responded to the report.
“What I’m hearing so far is it looks like wolves were likely
involved in this attack,” Pamplin said.
Protocol is to collect data from the scene, including noting
injuries on the animal, tracks, scat and the struggle site,
Pamplin said. A determination isn’t made in the field,
giving agency employees time to review the material and
“bounce ideas” off others, he said. That process was being
completed the morning of Aug. 16.
McIrvin said he has it in writing that if the attack is
confirmed to be a wolf, the state will remove the Wedge Wolf
Pack from the area.
“It’s unfortunate the pack is demonstrating a pattern of
predation here,” Pamplin said. “It’s looking like we would
be having to address and potentially put additional lethal
removal on the table.”
Relocation of the pack is an option, but Pamplin said the
pack’s pattern of depredation makes them poor candidates for
moving elsewhere in Eastern Washington. The goal would be to
disrupt the pack enough to move on or disperse, he said.
McIrvin said he found another dead calf the evening of Aug.
15 but wasn’t certain of the cause of its death. Pamplin had
not heard of the discovery, but said it was possible field
staff were aware of it.
McIrvin reported a loss of 11 calves and five bulls last
year, and expects higher numbers this year. He believes it
might take wolves entering populated areas for the public
to support ranchers.
There are so many wolves now, he said, the only acceptable
option is trapping and poison.
Compensation is not the answer, McIrvin said, because the
proposed fund is for a maximum of 10 ranches to receive
“We’d use up the $50,000 ourselves,” McIrvin said. “We’ll
still have the wolves and they’ll still put us out of
business if we don’t eliminate them.”
Pamplin said the department received $50,000 in its
supplemental budget from the state Legislature, and has
small grants for a wolf-livestock demonstration project from
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Defenders of
“We would be able to spend what we have available,” he said.
The agency recognizes the importance of having additional
funds and resources available as the wolf population grows,
and as it considers its funding request for the coming
legislative session, Pamplin said.