WDFW will allow killing of Huckleberry Pack wolves preying on sheep flock

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said in a press release this week that it was continuing efforts to find and remove up to four wolves from a pack that has killed at least 22 sheep from a flock grazing in southern Stevens County. A federal wildlife agent contracted by WDFW killed one wolf on Saturday, according to the release.

Since Aug. 14, WDFW “has confirmed that wolves from the Huckleberry Pack have killed 22 sheep and injured three more in six separate incidents, despite an array of preventive measures employed by the department and the livestock owner, Dave Dashiell of Hunters,” the release said.

That total does not include 10 other sheep that died earlier and had decomposed to the point they could not be confirmed as wolf kills, WDFW said.

WDFW Director Phil Anderson has authorized the removal of up to four members of the pack, which is estimated to have up to 12 members, WDFW said.

“Unfortunately, lethal action is clearly warranted in this case,” Nate Pamplin, WDFW wildlife program director, said in the release. “Before we considered reducing the size of the pack, our staff and Mr. Dashiell used a wide range of preventive measures to keep the wolves from preying on the pack, but these efforts have not succeeded.” He said non-lethal activities are continuing.

The release noted that the “situation meets all of the conditions for lethal removal established in the department’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and related procedures.” Dashiell has worked closely with WDFW staff to prevent wolf attacks on the flock, which includes 1,800 sheep, according to the release.

The Huckleberry Pack is one of 13 confirmed packs in Washington state. It was confirmed as the state’s seventh pack in June 2012. There is no documented evidence that the pack, named after nearby Huckleberry Mountain, has preyed on livestock until now, according to WDFW.