Smackout wolfpack reaches threshold for possible culling

John and Karen Hollingsworth/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wolves in the Smackout pack in Stevens County have attacked three heifers this month and four since August.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed Wednesday that a wolfpack killed a heifer on private land in Stevens County, reaching the threshold for the department to consider killing one or two wolves to stop the depredations.

It was the third confirmed attack on cattle by the Smackout pack since Oct. 14 and the third since Aug. 20.

Fish and Wildlife policy calls for the department to consider culling a pack after three depredations on livestock in 30 days or four in 10 months.

By either measure, the depredation confirmed Wednesday puts the pack at risk of lethal removal. A statement by the department said Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind is reviewing the depredations. Efforts to obtain comment from the department were unsuccessful.

Fish and Wildlife trapped and euthanized two Smackout pack wolves in July of last year to curb depredations. The department counted six wolves in the pack at the end of 2017.

The department also announced Thursday that if confirmed an attack on a calf Oct. 26 by the Togo pack in Ferry County. The pack has now attacked cattle six times in the past 10 months. The department shot one wolf in the pack last summer. Susewind is considering whether to take further action, according to the department.

Fish and Wildlife on Friday announced it planned to remove the last two wolves in the Old Profanity pack in Ferry County. The department has not provided any update on that operation. The department shot two wolves in the pack in September in response to attacks on cattle in the Colville National Forest. The attacks continued after the two wolves were killed.

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