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Wenatchee, WA: Wolf sightings abound, some close to home

By Garnet Wilson and Dennis L. Clay,
Columbia Basin Herald columnists

They are getting closer. Mike Garneau of the Warden area sent word of a wolf sighting south of Wenatchee. Apparently a rancher found a dead pregnant cow with wolf tracks and signs of a wolf feeding on the carcass.

Fish and Wildlife is investigating, but hasn’t determined if a wolf killed the cow. Garneau passed along the info about Fish and Wildlife spotting two wolves within a little over a quarter mile from the kill site.

Fish and Wildlife has reportedly deemed these two wolves to be a pack and named them the Wenatchee Pack.

Fish and Wildlife has a map of wolf sightings on their website. The map is poor as far as exact spot of the sighting or howling, but the description from the observer and the general area indicates we are surrounded by wolves.

On Jan. 13 of this year at 2:30 p.m. in Grant County a wolf was observed for 10 minutes at a distance of 20 yards.

Observer description: “Driving down a gravel road, see it walking down the road away from us, got close enough it ran up to the desert about 20 yards away. It was a big wolf. No way it could have been a coyote. Was not scared it watched us for 10 minutes before we left.”

On Jan. 5 in Lincoln County five adult wolves were seen. Observer description: “Wolves were black in color.”

Jan. 27 in Douglas County one wolf was seen at a distance of 200 yards.

Observer description: “Animal was on ridge line and went over the top after spotting my vehicle. Animal was black, so I know it was not a coyote. Also saw tracks in the area of a canine that were 3 to 31/2 inches.”

Sept. 24, 2012 in Lincoln County one adult wolf seen and five wolves heard.

The map shows the sightings surrounding the Columbia Basin with several inside the Basin area. Plus it shows several sighting of wolves and wolf tracks between Wenatchee and Ellensburg by elk hunters.

The sighting in Grant County just south of Potholes Reservoir is especially interesting. Trust livestock ranchers are keeping an eye on their animals.

Fish and Wildlife will be busy with new sightings and following up with the details. The Basin has always been an interesting place to me, but now it is particularly fascinating with lots of deer, some moose from time to time, cougar and wolves in the area. All we need now is a griz to pass through and this place would really light up.

We still hold to our solution to part of the wolf problem of establishing two or three wolf packs in the Seattle and Tacoma area.

Let the prize horses, cows, goats and sheep get chewed on for a bit and see how fast the population there wants the wolf population reduced.

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