Wolves
5:48 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Wash. Allows Wolf Kill After Sheep Depredation

A rancher in northeastern Washington will be allowed to shoot wolves approaching his sheep herd. State officials made the decision after confirming wolves killed dozens of his sheep.

A rancher in northeastern Washington will be allowed to shoot wolves approaching his sheep herd.
A rancher in northeastern Washington will be allowed to shoot wolves approaching his sheep herd.
Credit Linda Stanley / Flickr

The Huckleberry Pack usually roams around the Spokane Tribe of Indians reservation, but data from a radio-collared wolf shows it recently attacked a rancher’s sheep herd.

Officials confirmed 16 sheep were killed over a two-week period. The rancher used guard dogs and a herder to try to scare away the wolves. The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association estimates the damage is more than $5,000. 

Now if the wolves approach the herd, state officials are allowed to kill up to two wolves.

Donny Martorello is with the department. He said lethally removing wolves is a tough decision.

“That’s not something we want to happen in our careers, but it is a known part of wolf management,” Martorello said. “Conflict with livestock is going to happen.”

Conservation groups said more non-lethal methods need to be used to lower conflict between wolves and livestock.

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