Gray wolf

A rancher lawfully shot a wolf that was attacking a calf in Washington state.

A rancher lawfully shot a Togo pack wolf July 24 that was bringing down a calf on private grazing land in Ferry County, Wash., a state Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Fish and Wildlife also confirmed Wednesday that the pack injured a calf and has now attacked three cattle within the past 10 days, crossing the threshold for the department to consider lethal control.

The wolf that was shot by the livestock producer ran away and attempts by Fish and Wildlife to track it were unsuccessful. Investigators suspect the wound was fatal, the spokeswoman said.

Investigators determined the shooting was legal under the state's caught-in-the-act law that allows ranchers to shoot a wolf that's attacking livestock. The calf was killed by the wolf. 

The pack already had a history of attacking cattle. Fish and Wildlife killed one pack member last September in response to a series of depredations. The renewed depredations pushes the department into making a decision on whether to again use lethal control against the pack. The pack also killed a calf July 29, according to the department.

Fish and Wildlife announced Wednesday it was resuming lethal removal of the OPT pack, also in Ferry County. The pack had attacked seven calves since the department shot one wolf July 13 in hopes of changing the pack's behavior.

After the announcement Wednesday, the department confirmed the pack had injured another calf.

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