One Wolf Dead in Stevens County Wolf Hunt

By Steve Jackson

The Washington department of Fish and Wildlife has authorized killing several members of a wolf pack that have been preying on Sheep in Stevens County. Fish and Wildlife officials say the Huckleberry wolf pack is believed responsible for the death of 22 sheep in an area between Hunters and Springdale, Northwest of Spokane.
 
Agency spokesman Bruce Botka says they have exhausted non lethal efforts to stop the wolves.

Botka: “Four of our employees have helped watch the flock at night where most of the attacks occurred in addition range riders have been used to monitor the herds and are working with the guy to find a different location far from this site.”
 
Botka says the current site is in difficult terrain to keep all of the sheep together for protection. He says the situation meets all the conditions of lethal removal established on the departments Wolf Conservation and Management plan. But a spokeswoman with the group Defenders of Wildlife, which has worked on wolf issues for years, says she believes one action that is finally being taken could have prevented the depredation in the first place.

Suzanne Stone: “My understanding was they were going to move the sheep anyway, and for some reason that’s been delayed, and they were going to move them to an area where there is no habitat. And the reason they hadn’t had problems there is it hadn’t been grazed in the past.”
 
Suzanne Stone says the pack has been living in that region for about seven years, and there have been no conflicts with ranchers until now. She says the property where the depredation occurred was being leased by the rancher from a timber company.
 
So far one of the wolves has been killed. State officials say they plan to kill four members of the 12 wolf pack, and are hoping that will  frighten the wolves away, as well as reduce the packs nutritional needs.
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