Drama in the Wedge

Today,  the kill order for the Wedge pack was re-issued. Here is the report by Northwest Public Radio’s online issue:

Wolf Kill Order Re-Issued For Washington’s Wedge Pack

Credit Photo by: Gunnar Ries Amphibol / Wikimedia Common

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has re-issued the kill order for four wolves in a pack in the Northeastern corner of the state. Starting Wednesday marksmen will take to the field, Ashley Ahearn reports.

10 cows have been injured or killed on the Diamond M ranch since July. Two more incidents were reported after the holiday weekend. The two calves had claw marks on their backs and bites along their hamstrings, confirming that the injuries were a result of a wolf attack.

Conservation Northwest, an environmental group that works on wolf recovery, agreed that wolves were to blame. On Thursday of last week officials called off efforts to kill four members of the Wedge Pack. Now, that order’s back on.

The pack is believed to number up to 12 wolves total. The state wolf management plan allows for the killing of some wolves, but environmental groups believe killing four members of this pack is too much.Ranchers urged the Department to continue the hunt until the predation stops.

I’ve been in communication with Steve Clevidence, who is doing everything humanly possible to talk with the McIrvin family of the Diamond M, the ranch that has lost cattle to the Wedge pack.

Tonight, Steve informed me that he made contact with Len McIrvin, the elder of the family.  According to Steve, Len reported that calves are being killed by two packs now, on his ranch as well as a neighbors. Also, due to the rough terrain they are unable to pick up the carcasses of cattle so wolves are being attracted. The ranchers have moved the cattle from the upper range to their main ranch but wolves have moved into this vicinity as well.

This is bad news for everyone, but there is hope. In Steve’s words:

I told Len about Timm Kaminski of the Mountain Livestock Cooperative and asked if he would be willing to talk with Timm and Mr McIrvine said that he would be. So that is my next step in this process. Timm is extremely knowledgable in these matters and perhaps there is a chance to save some of the wolves as well as future ones that will fill the void if they kill this particular pack. We will keep doing our best here.” 

Timm Kaminski, if you aren’t aware, is on the Advisory Board, along with Steve, of Living With Wolves, the non-profit that does so much to serve wolves.  He is also the principle investigator for the Mountain Livestock Cooperative , where according to their website they, “…develop a practical ‘working model’ to reduce large carnivore-livestock conflicts across foothill and mountain landscapes in western North America. ”

If there is any chance for wolves in the Wedge, it’s with the assistance of people like Steve and Timm. But there must also be the cooperation of the ranchers.  If things are to be different in the future, they must be willing to change.

Time will tell… but I am heartened by Steve’s words, “… look at it positively, we opened a closed door, we established communication where communication was previously closed. We have a hard core wolf hater, thinking proactive methods may help, because obviously the lethal methods have not. Stay positive. There is No way they will get all the wolves, and we now have an opportunity that has been previously denied to us.”

Rest well friends.

4 thoughts on “Drama in the Wedge

  1. In all fairness, Mr McIrvine was open and willing to talk, and one must realize that most people who may experience what this man and family has been going through for the past 6 years watching their livestock die, you can honestly understand why he feels the way he does. Certainly many things should have happened at the start that may have well prevented an escalation of predation, but at the same time we all must remember why there is such an importance for education about non-lethal methods and getting this methods in place before or soon after predation begins. Even though he feels hate towards the wolves for what has happened, he was still willing to listen about methods that still may be of help other than just killing the wolves. My feeling after talking with Mr. McIrvine, is that he is a descent man who feels at his rope’s end and no where to go. Hes angry with the state because he has asked for help repeatedly and was ignored. As he told me, “all I have heard from them is lies”. He believes there are two packs working his ranch and his neighbors. That shows me that he honestly does not understand wolves. No two packs would be working the same neighborhood with out constant battle between them. Wolves travel for long distances and most likely its the same pack in my opinion. Mr McIrvine is willing to look at all options and even though it is way late in the game now and predation has gone too far in most instances, we still hold hope that we may be able to provide this man and his family some help and at the same time, prevent a continuation of trapping and killings of these wolves, Wulf

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  2. I wish you and Timm the best of luck! Thanks for wanting to take this on, this is huge that the rancher WILL actually talk/listen to outside help.

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  3. Thanks to Beckie and Steve and all for making the calls. I am glad you got through and they took your call. We need some experinced people to help out. Better for everyone.

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  4. Steve, I am so glad that you are trying to initiate non lethal means in the management of the Wedge Pack. You have many wolf supporters here in Washington State who are behind you in encouraging the McIrvins to implement these practices.

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