Washington Fish and Wildlife has paused after killing one wolf in the Grouse Flats pack in southeast Washington and will wait to see whether the surviving six adult wolves attack more cattle, the department said.
The department removed what it believes was the pack's breeding female on Sept. 25. The department didn't announce the culling last week. It continued to look to remove a second wolf before deciding to suspend the effort, a spokeswoman said.
The department said it could kill more wolves if the pack attacks livestock again. Besides the six adults, the pack has two pups born this year. One wolf is wearing a radio collar to transmit the pack's location.
This is the first time Fish and Wildlife has shot a wolf in southeast Washington to curb depredations on livestock. The pack's territory extends into northeast Oregon.
The pack has attacked seven cattle belonging to seven different ranchers since Aug. 23, 2018, according to the department. The attacks occurred on public and private land. Ranchers were alert to wolves and tried to protect their cattle, according to the department.
Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind authorized the department on Sept. 24 to cull the pack. The department's policy is to shoot one or two wolves initially.
Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter to Susewind on Sept. 30 complaining that the department relies too much on shooting wolves in the Kettle River Range in northeast Washington. The letter did address lethal control of wolves elsewhere.