Wolf Management

Wolf Management

In June Washington had its first “probable wolf kill” that was confirmed this year. In July around 100 landowners and livestock producers met in Walla Walla with nine different county commissioners, elected officials from the 16th legislative district, and a game commissioner to discuss the management of wolves. Washington Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Association Executive Vice President Jack Field reflects on the meeting.

FIELD: All in all I think the discussion was very valuable. There were some great questions that were asked. I think people left with a much stronger understanding of the process - where we are, what needs to be done in order to meet each of the bench marks on a down listing and then a delisting process. We had representation as well from the Washington Association of Counties, and the Association of Counties is going to play a vital role hopefully in the upcoming legislative session with us, if we can get enough support from individual counties on the idea for regional delisting of apex predators.

Field explains the reason regional delisting is desired by landowners and livestock producers.

FIELD: We would like to see the Department of Fish and Wildlife have the clear authority to delist the eastern one third of Washington so those animals could be managed and protected as a big game species. By that we would have a much broader sweep of management tools, and potentially, if the department thought it was appropriate, they could even integrate a harvest season via the public through a hunting process. When we talk about delisting, it’s not about hunting wolves. Delisting is about effective management. Now we’re clearly handcuffed in terms of effective management and the ability of a livestock producer to protect his or her private property.

I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network. 

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