If wolves in the Profanity Peak pack are confirmed to kill livestock one more time, the state’s Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will begin considering killing problem wolves in the pack.
The department investigated a calf carcass July 21 in the Profanity Peak pack area and classified it as a “probable” wolf kill. A calf carcass investigated July 23 was ruled a “confirmed” wolf kill.
These bring the Profanity Peak pack to three confirmed livestock kills and three probable kills. Under the state wolf plan, the department considers killing problem pack wolves after four confirmed livestock kills.
“We’re going to continue monitoring the area, working with the producer to continue with the deterrence measures that are in place,” said Donny Martorello, wolf policy lead for the agency.
If a fourth kill is confirmed and the rancher has met deterrence expectations, WDFW Director Jim Unsworth would begin considering killing wolves in the pack.
“We’re hoping no more livestock are attacked, but if that outcome does happen and those expectations are met, we can look to the director for a decision or authorization of lethal removal and initiate that in a timely manner,” Martorello said.
The department is planning so that there would not be a big delay in time after authorization, Martorello said.
Two ranchers have been affected by the livestock losses. They have met the department’s expectations for proactive measures to deter the wolves and are ramping up of activities in response to the recent depredations, including range riders, Martorello said.
“If we have another confirmed depredation event by wolves and we have those things in place, that’s a cue to us that those deterrence measures have failed to stop repeated depredations,” Martorello said.
The department believes the Profanity Peak pack has 11 wolves. Martorello said the department is not setting a specific number to remove that it will share publicly until after the action is completed. Doing so creates an expectation that that many wolves will be killed, he said.
“The reality is that we have to be able to find wolves to get to wolves, and that’s not always a guarantee,” he said. “We don’t start at full pack removal.”
The department would see if the livestock kills stop after killing several wolves in the pack, Martorello said.
The department updated a chronology of the Profanity Peak’s activities on its website.