EPHRATA - Washington ranchers may be a little more guarded in 2019 after due to record wolf-related cattle deaths in 2018. The Capital Press reports that attacks on cattle was more than double any previous year, according to Fish and Wildlife reports.
Thirty-one cows or calves were killed or injured surpassing the previous high of 15 in 2016. Cattle Producers of Washington President Scott Nielsen confirms that wolf attacks on cattle is increasing in frequency but also cites the increase to the bump in better documentation of attacks.
“I don’t think there was a big increase. I think it has been a slow, steady growth,” Nielsen told the Capital Press. “It’s not way worse now. They’re just admitting it."
Depredations saw a peak in Ferry and Stevens counties during the summer and fall grazing season. The Old Profanity Territory pack in Ferry County is accountable for 16 attacks. According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, cattle were attacked in more areas of the state over a longer than usual span.
In north central Washington, the Capital Press reports that one wolf took down a 400-pound calf in Okanogan County on November 29.
Attacks reportedly started in May and continued into late fall.