Gray wolf killed in Okanogan County

SEATTLE — Federal wildlife agents are investigating the death of an endangered gray wolf in Okanogan County in north-central Washington state.

The adult female wolf was shot and killed during a big game hunt in the area, Doug Zimmer, a spokesman with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, said Monday. Hunters were in the field hunting elk or deer in the Pasayten Wilderness and reported to state wildlife officials on Sept. 20 that they had shot and killed a wolf.

It’s not legal to hunt wolves in Washington state. Gray wolves are federally protected as endangered in the western two-thirds of Washington.

Zimmer said federal wildlife officers are working with state officials to determine whether the shooting was a legitimate accident or whether the wolf was killed under other circumstances, such as self-defense or in defense of others. It would be up to federal prosecutors to decide whether to prosecute.

The wolf that was killed was not collared and it’s unclear whether she belonged to a known pack, he said.

A spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife referred questions about the wolf to the federal agency. A state wildlife report notes that officials “have not previously verified wolf activity in this portion of the wilderness area and don’t know if the animal is part of an active pack or a solo wanderer.”

Wolves have been a controversial topic ever since the predators returned to the state much faster than expected in recent years. In 2008, there were only a handful of wolves. As of March, there is an estimated 50 to 100 animals in 10 confirmed packs, all in central and eastern Washington.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has proposed lifting most remaining federal protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, including Washington and Oregon. Three public hearings are scheduled across the country this week to discuss the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal.

More in Local News

Snohomish mayoral candidates have very little in common

Karen Guzak and John Kartak are vying for the new position.

Second teen charged after $1 million in school vandalism

Two teens now face felony charges for damage at two schools in Darrington last summer.

Charged in stabbing, his long list of felonies could grow

The Arlington man is accused of attacking a man who interrupted a possible burglary in Everett.

A potentially transformative council election in Snohomish

As the city adopts a new form of government, many new faces are seeking office.

Mill Creek hires Gina Hortillosa as public works director

Hortillosa will be responsible for creating strategic infrastructure plans to promote economic growth.

1 shot dead, another wounded in apparent Everett robbery

There are indications the victims might have known the shooter, who apparently fled in a vehicle.

FBI operation leads to 3 arrests for exploitation

Several Snohomish County law enforcement agencies assisted with a FBI… Continue reading

County Council postpones vote on conservation district programs

The Snohomish County Council has postponed a vote about funding… Continue reading

Most Read