Colville Tribes OK Wolf Hunt On Reservation

Dec 27, 2012

The Colville Confederated Tribes have authorized a wolf hunt on their reservation. Steve Jackson has more on the story.

The Colville tribes have authorized the hunting of grey wolves, like the one pictured.
Credit Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service

Although the number of confirmed wolves on the Colville reservation is low, tribal officials say the carnivores have been killing animals that some tribal members normally kill for food.

“This policy was a challenge to come to, as we have cultural ties to the wolf, but this is part of making a balance," says John Sirius, head of the Tribal Business Council. "We don’t want to put stress on the deer and elk populations with a wolf population that is too large.”

Sirius says it’s estimated there are 30 wolves on the reservation. Hunting has been approved in three areas, with a total of nine animals allowed to be taken.

Sirius says the tribe wants to avoid the situation that took place in Northeast Washington earlier this year, when a cattleman’s complaint about cattle depredation prompted the state Fish and Wildlife agency to kill an entire pack believed responsible.

Sirius: “You know just going through with a helicopter and slaughtering an entire pack didn’t sit well with us as a tribe so we wanted to take a different tack.”

The Colville Tribe did hold consultation with state and federal authorities before approving the hunt.

As of last week, no wolves had been killed. The hunt is authorized to continue until the end of February.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio