Columbia wolf

A sedated wolf is fitted with a radio collar in August by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The wolf is in a pack that has been attacking cattle in southeast Washington.

Wolves in a southeast Washington pack have attacked another calf, leading the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to announce Thursday it will try to kill one or two wolves.

The department confirmed Monday that a 400- to 500-pound calf in a private pasture adjacent a rancher's home was killed by wolves in Columbia County.

The calf was at least the sixth one attacked since Aug. 25 by wolves in a newly formed and as yet unnamed pack. The pack has four adults and four pups, and has preyed on cattle belonging to three different ranchers, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The department's director, Kelly Susewind, authorized the department to cull the pack, hoping to deter the surviving wolves.

Fish and Wildlife had previously issued permits to two ranchers authorizing them to each shoot one wolf found on their land. Ranchers already are allowed to shoot wolves caught attacking livestock. The department said Thursday it was suspending the permits.

The pack roams north of the Touchet pack and west of the Tucannon pack, near Oregon. Fish and Wildlife trapped and collared two adult wolves there in August. The collars periodically, though not continuously, transmit the location of wolves.

Fish and Wildlife declined Thursday to disclose whether the department will search for the pack from the air or ground. 

Fish and Wildlife policy calls for the department to consider lethal removal after three attacks in 30 days or four attacks in 10 months.

The Columbia County wolves have been attacking cattle on private land. The calf found dead Monday had been brought off a private summer grazing allotment.  

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