Skip to main content

Wolf Pack To Be Eliminated

Developing taste for beef dooms Wedge Pack after nonlethal methods fail

Wolf Pack To Be Eliminated
Wolf Pack To Be Eliminated

Opposing conservation and livestock groups eventually stood in agreement last week with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife concerning a wolf pack in northeast Washington that appears to be preying exclusively on cattle in the region.

In the end, it was decided pack must be eliminated. But the opposing sides, along with the WDFW, agree every nonlethal solution possible to correct the situation was exhausted and the best available decision was reached.

“We made lemonade out of a big bunch of lemons,” said Jack Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association.

“It was a bad situation for everyone, certainly,” said Mitch Friedman, the executive director of Conservation Northwest. “But in the end, the correct solutions were reached.”


The WDFW announced on Sept. 21 plans to eliminate a pack of eight to 12 wolves in Stevens County that is believed to have killed or injured 17 cattle since July.


The Wedge Pack, named for the remote, roughly triangular area of northern Stevens County bordered by Canada and the Columbia and Kettle rivers where it roams, has repeatedly preyed on livestock over the past three months and has not changed this pattern despite nonlethal efforts. After the sixth documented attack on cattle from the Diamond M Ranch by wolves in August, WDFW removed one wolf from the Wedge Pack in an effort to break the growing cycle of predation.

But Western U.S. wolf experts agreed the pack is now targeting livestock over natural wild prey.

“Once wolves become habituated to livestock as their primary food source, all of the wolf experts we’ve talked to agree that we have no alternative but to remove the entire pack,” said Phil Anderson, WDFW director. “By doing that, we will preserve the opportunity for the recovery of gray wolves in balance with viable livestock operations.”

The Washington Cattlemen’s Association and Conservation Northwest both worked in the development of the state’s 2011 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, and both agreed to release the joint statement with the WDFW regarding the Wedge Pack decision – even though the final decision was the WDFW’s alone.


“Much of the process was people and experts would express their opinions, we would continue to evaluate and keep people informed,” said Dave Ware of the WDFW. “Then the decision reached demonstrated we are trying to work together as best as we can with wolf recovery.”

“As difficult as this situation with the Wedge Pack is to accept on a personal level, we understand and agree that pack removal is the right action at this point,” Friedman said. “We have been strong advocates for exhausting all nonlethal means possible to avoid this situation and are extremely disappointed that it has come to this.”

“On one side, you have people who have their livelihood on the line,” Field said. “On the other side, you have people who have their philosophical issues on the line.


“We understand that as wolves re-populate the state there will be conflicts with livestock. … But we need everyone else to understand that managing and killing wolves that cause problems is an important part of a healthy co-existence.”

State law lists gray wolves as endangered throughout Washington, but it permits the WDFW to “authorize the killing of wildlife that is destroying or injuring property.”

Wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act in the western two-thirds of the state but are no longer federally listed in the eastern third, where the Wedge Pack resides.

As part of its nonlethal  attempts to control the Wedge Pack, the WDFW required Diamond M to have calving areas moved from the region to make calves less vulnerable. Calves were released into the herd later in the spring when they were larger and more natural prey was available for the wolves. Also, the ranch now employs five range riders to help monitor the herd.

“Hopefully, we’ve helped those people up in Stevens County to be able to get back to doing their jobs,” Field said.

Cooperation between ranchers and the WDFW will always be a key element for the future of the overall health of the state’s wolf recovery program, Friedman said.

“There has to be a commitment on the part of all sides to allow wolves to occupy the landscape while protecting the rancher’s livelihood and maintain their ability to raise cattle,” he said.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Increase a lure’s effectiveness by pairing it with the ideal reel speed.

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter.

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them.10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time.10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos Gomez. In this article, Gomez recounts his experiences from his first nighttime poaching bust.Behind the Badge: A Warden's First Night-Poaching Bust Stories

Behind the Badge: A Warden's First Night-Poaching Bust

Game & Fish Online Staff - July 30, 2018

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos...

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working?Revisiting the Light Goose Conservation Order Conservation & Politics

Revisiting the Light Goose Conservation Order

M.D. Johnson - March 30, 2020

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working?

It was a difficult question for a young hunter to ask, and the answer didn't come any easier.Deer Camp Lesson Learned the Hard Way Stories

Deer Camp Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Jeff Johnston - February 04, 2020

It was a difficult question for a young hunter to ask, and the answer didn't come any easier.

Crossbows are more popular – and legal – in more places, and statistics show they're not that much more effective than vertical bows.Few Bowhunters Can Ignore This Case for Hunting with Crossbows Stories

Few Bowhunters Can Ignore This Case for Hunting with Crossbows

Patrick Durkin - September 30, 2020

Crossbows are more popular – and legal – in more places, and statistics show they're not that...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now