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.
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.
Copyright 2014 Northwest Public Radio