Hunter kills gray wolf in Pasayten Wilderness area

by admin on Oct 2, 2013

Photo courtesy of WDFW

Photo courtesy of WDFW

By Ann McCreary

A deer hunter shot and killed an endangered gray wolf north of Harts Pass last month, according to state and federal wildlife officials who are investigating the incident.

The hunter, who lives in the western part of the state, told state wildlife officials that he shot the wolf, an adult female, because he felt threatened.

“He felt he was in danger. He acted in self defense,” said Sgt. Dan Christensen of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The hunter called WDFW on Sept. 20 to report shooting the wolf, which is protected under federal law as an endangered species. Wolves in the western two-thirds of Washington state (west of Highway 97) are listed as a federally endangered, while wolves in the eastern one-third were removed from federal protection in 2011. Wolves throughout Washington are protected under state law as an endangered species.

Because the wolf was killed in an area of the Pasayten Wilderness where wolves are under federal protection, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  (FWS) officials are leading the investigation and collaborating with state officials, said spokesman Doug Zimmer.

Capt. Chris Anderson, of WDFW enforcement, said a group of four state and federal wildlife officials hiked on Sept. 22 to the site where the hunter reported shooting the wolf. He said the animal was a healthy adult female without a radio collar, and had been shot twice.

Christensen, who supervises wildlife enforcement for Okanogan and north Douglas counties, said he spoke with the hunter on the phone. The man said he was participating in the high buck hunt and was about five miles north of Slate Peak, not far from Silver Lake, when the wolf was shot on Sept. 19.

Christensen said the man was hunting with three companions from western Washington, but was alone when he encountered and shot the wolf. He called WDFW to “self-report” the next day, Christensen said.

Wildlife officials examined the dead wolf, took tissue samples and brought the hide back for examination and evidence, Christensen said. “There is no evidence” that the wolf is one of the wolves that has been monitored in the Lookout Pack territory, west of Twisp.

“We are assuming it was a lone female on a road trip,” Christensen said. “We have dispersing females just like we’ve had dispersing males. There were no signs of other members” of a pack, he said.

It will be up to federal investigators to determine if criminal charges related to killing an endangered species are warranted, said Christensen.

Also from the same paper:

State, feds consider changes in management of gray wolves

By Ann McCreary

Changes in the way endangered gray wolves are managed are being considered at both the state and federal levels.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider amending state wildlife interaction rules during a public meeting Friday (Oct. 4) in Olympia.

Those rules include conditions that allow ranchers and farmers to take lethal action to protect livestock from predators, including wolves, as well as for compensation for the loss of livestock killed by predators.

Amendments under consideration would:

• Make permanent an emergency rule that permits ranchers, farmers and other pet and livestock owners in the eastern third of the state to kill a wolf that is attacking their animals;

• Add sheep, goats, swine, donkeys, mules, llamas and alpacas to the list of animals livestock owners could be compensated for if those animals are killed by wolves. The current list only includes cattle, sheep and horses.

• Permit state compensation regardless of whether livestock owners were raising the animals for commercial purposes; and

• Compensate livestock owners for their losses at market value.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, will meet in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.

On the federal level, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposes removing Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from wolves in most of the nation and has scheduled hearings around the country on the proposal.

The proposal affects wolves in Washington because, if enacted, it would remove federal protections for wolves in the western two-thirds of the state, where they are currently listed under the federal ESA. Wolves are currently protected as endangered under state law throughout Washington.

Several western conservation organizations have called on FWS to schedule more public hearings on the proposal, including hearings on the West Coast. Hearings were scheduled in Sacramento, Calif., Albuquerque, N.M, and Washington, D.C.

The Pacific Wolf Coalition, representing 34 conservation organizations, advocates scheduling additional public meetings in Washington, Oregon and California.

8 thoughts on “Hunter kills gray wolf in Pasayten Wilderness area

  1. Another scumbag trophy hunter! He did it bebcause…as usual, he could. I hope this time, they make an example out of him!

  2. Threatened! BS! Wolves have maybe killed two people in North America in the last 100 years. If wildlife agencies go along with this BS they are endorsing the use “of threatened” anytime an anti-wolf nimrod or rancher wants to shoot a wolf. The risk of running into an apex predator is inherent in hunting and if the a nimrod kills a protected predator in the process of enjoying their blood sports, then they should be prosecuted/fined(heavily) else we have endorsed continuing encroachment.

    • Yep, The papers aren’t reporting it yet, but rumor has it the hunter had shot a deer in the area. If so, the wolf was attracted to the area by the smell of carrion or gut piles, not fresh hunter flesh. If the deer hunter was so afraid of the wildlife he might encounter, he shouldn’t be out there.

  3. Isn’t it funny how this always comes back to the livestock industry? This industry grazes all over our wilderness areas, National Forests, BLM lands, wildlife refuges, and state lands, denuding riparian areas and native grasses, spoiling streams and rivers. Then, this industry, with federal government help, gets subsidized help to slaughter the remaining native wild animals, which are trying to survive. This industry has no shame. It consistently opposes all wildlife protections and re-introductions. When are people going to wake up? The livestock industry has been getting a free ride from taxpayers far too long. The native animals are having a hard enough time as it is out there. They simply cannot survive in any viable numbers as long as the livestock industry continues to get handouts by grazing on public lands. If they want to do their business, let them do it on the private lands. Public lands belong to the wildlife. If we do not take serious action to remove ranchers from public lands, the wolves and other wild animals will not make it.

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