A rancher in northeastern Washington will be allowed to shoot wolves approaching his herd of sheep. State officials made the decision after they confirmed wolves killed dozens of his sheep.
The Huckleberry Pack usually roams around the Spokane Tribe of Indians reservation. But data from a radio-collared wolf shows it attacked a rancher’s sheep herd.
Officials confirmed 16 sheep were killed over a two-week period. The rancher used guard dogs and a herder to try to scare away the wolves.
The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association estimates the damage is more than $5,000.
Now if the wolves approach the herd, state officials are allowed to kill them. They can kill up to two wolves.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Donny Martorello said it was a difficult decision to approve lethally removing wolves.
“That’s not something we want to happen in our careers,” he said. “But it is a known part of wolf management. Conflict with livestock is going to happen.”
Conservation groups say more non-lethal methods need to be used to lower conflict between wolves and livestock.