State to try nonlethal measures after wolves attack cattle

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Washington Fish and Wildlife said Friday it won’t shoot wolves in a small pack that has attacked three calves in rural northeastern Washington.

The three attacks in fewer than 30 days crossed the threshold for the department to consider lethal removal. The department said Friday it is “exploring additional avenues for responsive nonlethal deterrents," The Capital Press reported.

One calf was found dead, another died of its injuries and the third was treated for wounds. Most of the cattle are in a fenced pasture near the producer’s home, according to Fish and Wildlife.

Bites and tears, wolf tracks, signs of a struggle and trail camera photos provided the evidence that wolves attacked the calves, according to Fish and Wildlife.

Fish and Wildlife has placed flashing lights along the pasture. Two wolf-livestock conflict monitors from the Cattle Producers of Washington are assigned to the area.

Fish and Wildlife killed seven wolves in the Wedge pack in 2012, leaving two surviving members. The pack had three wolves at the end of 2019, according to Fish and Wildlife. One pack member was legally harvested last year by a tribal hunter.