The Huckleberry Alpha Female is Dead: Wolves -1 and WDFW Credibility 0

alpha female dead

By Bob Ferris
I am bone tired after dogging the Huckleberry Pack issue nearly non-stop for approaching two weeks. And now I am angry and disappointed. That is a very bad time to put your thoughts down electronically, but someone needs to.
I am not angry at the rancher who may have or may have not placed sheep in harm’s way. He was just being a rancher—acting as we have come to expect from this quadrant of Washington. Perhaps he was pushing the issue and abusing the system, but that is relatively immaterial to my anger.
I am not angry at the private timber company who allowed the sheep on to their property so that they could graze forest understory that could have been used by deer and elk populations. That is even though they are more than likely getting tax breaks from the State for providing benefits for wildlife and watersheds.  Still not there anger-wise.
I am mad, however, at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Why? Not because their contractor could have made an honest mistake and shot an unintended wolf. Not because they said they would not shoot either of the alpha wolves in this pack. I have worked in wildlife long enough and under tough conditions to know that honest wildlife managers working under similar conditions can make mistakes.
I am mad because the WDFW did not own up to their mistake when it happened. Why would I learn about this 12 days after it happened and then only because I saw a random Facebook post made by a fairly new friend of a tweet by a Washington newscaster (see above)? Really?
After the Wedge Pack disaster of 2012 the WDFW had a heavy burden to carry in terms of their credibility as an agency capable of dealing with the complexity of wolf recovery. They were given a second chance with the Huckleberry Pack to do it right and demonstrate that they were willing and able to deal with this recovery.
They were on a path to failing the test put before them, but with this action (or inaction) WDFW just put the punctuation on that failing grade. Clearly the Governor and legislators need to step in and force the agency to undergo the rule making that we have all requested. But it is more than that, because this is a cultural failure within this public agency and in their governing body to understand their responsibility to the whole public in this matter and not just ranching interests and trophy hunters.

26 thoughts on “The Huckleberry Alpha Female is Dead: Wolves -1 and WDFW Credibility 0

  1. Rebecca Stamos says:

    I was wondering how this was going to work out, shooting wolves from a helicopter.  This is about as unscientific as it can get, wolves on the run, take your best shot.  It's hard to believe this comes from the State Agency in charge of managing wolves.  I say, and I will continue to say, "wolves do not belong to the states in which they reside, they belong to all Americans".  Wildlife is a national treasure and we should all be good stewards of our national treasure.


  2. Mel Scamman says:


    Maybe they didn't say anything because they are so dysfunctional and so in denial at WDFW that they actually believe they can get away with it? If that is correct, then it is logical to assume they have gotten away with it before. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Let's nip this behavior in the bud! That 'bud' would be the governor's political career. We should also use this as a prime example as to why states do not have the ability to make responsible decisions in managing wolves when their management agency has no set rules, and refuses to even talk about adopting them.  Washington State is now going to be used as a bad example when writing to USFWS regarding he delisting issue. As sad and angry as we are now, we must not forget we are arguing for wolves on both the state and federal levels now. It is the perfect argument for the need for federal relisting.

  3. Please protect these vital animals, so critical to a healthy wilderness. 

  4. Janice Sampo says:

    I am so turnoff and discussed with WDFW, their credibility  is beyond repair. There needs to be a total shake-up and cleaning up of WDFW NOW!!!  How they continue to mislead & screwup is unacceptable!

  5. mandy says:

    I shared this with the governor today, along with my plea that he take action on this before more wolves die.  (And that he fire the DFW staff.)

  6. Annette Howell says:

    It's 'mistakes' like this that will ultimately lead to the extinction of any species.  I fault any government or group that thinks it is ok to so agressively kill a species down to just a few and not carefully monitor what they have left.  It's a disaster in the making.  They don't care enough to do the right thing when it matters & inevitably will end up killing the entire species with their carelessness. 

  7. Marcia Mueller says:

    I worried about the hunting and killing when people wanted to reintroduce the wolves. They are important ecologically as a key preditor, but the hatred of wolves and their  killing and torture is one of the ugliest parts of our history. Now they are here, and the killing and hatred continue. It is particularly egregious that the WDFW can act on behalf of special interest groups, mainly hunters and ranchers, to decide the wolves can be shoot with bullets and arrows, trapped, and snared. Polls have revealed that most people do not like such destruction of wildlife. Some democracy!

  8. Don Phipps says:

    I have to ask myself, why would WDFW be required to call you? If I'm not mistaken isn't your office in Eugene (OREGON)? 

     and yes I'm a special interest group. I call myself a concerned citizens of Stevens County, Wa. State…      There are a great number of people who want these wolves to live, so why don't those same people volunteer their time and come on out to the wolf country and be range riders and help save the livestock and the wolves.?






  9. bob says:

    Don, Setting aside the issue of common courtesy to stakeholders, we are an organization that operates in and has membership in the Washington.  Moreover, we are part of a coalition that is has representatives on and provides input the Wolf Advisory Group and have a vested interest and therefore legal standing in wolf recovery within the area we serve–from northern California to southcentral Alaska.

    Bob Ferris

  10. Jennifer Weinberg says:


  11. Elainia clement says:

    We as humans need to take ownership and hit these ranchers abusing public land and anyone assisting in the murder of these wolves. Enough is enough. Boycott the logging companies. Boycott the ranchers. Take back the goverment land and FIRE EVERYONE OF THE MORONS THAT WORKS FOR THE PARKS. BECAUSE CLEARLY NONE OF THEM CAN SHOOT THE BROAD SIDE OF A BARN.

  12. Elainia clement says:

    Save the live stock? If a rancher cant make a go of it of his own land then he needs to find a new career. That public land is for WILDLIFE not cattle and sheep. If a wolf eats your sheep then too bad. Thats the cost you pay for putting it on the menu ON PUBLIC LAND. plain and simple ranchers get off your butts keep your animals on your own land.

  13. Hard to see how this could be construed as a plan or management. Killing is not managing,
    just an admission that your planning is poor.

  14. Ian Courts says:

    Don, several wildlife organisations DID offer time, manpower, & resources (voluntarily & FOC) to the WDFW & dashiell to cover the time lapse before official personnel got their clodhoppers on the ground. These offers were REFUSED. As a result, more sheep were killed, guaranteeing a kill order. Set up from the start, the Huckleberry pack never stood a chance. Just because you want to ignore facts that don’t support your ‘standpoint’ doesn’t make them any less true.

  15. Melissa Odom says:

    Incredibly dumb move. Take out the Alpha female now see how fast they disperse and populate. And thats why they get paid the big bucks.

  16. Don Phipps says:

    There was many comments on the same topic,  Dashiell is on the Wolf advisory board, so he has an unfair advantage swaying the game deptment to his side.!!!. Cascadia Wildlands, Conservation Northwest to name a couple have representatives on the WAG as well…So doesn't that have the same benefits?   an unfair advantage to control the game departments…….?.

     Like you said, somewhere (WE) need to quit bad mouthing the other side…..

  17. Don Phipps says:

    Ian, I'll put my money on the Game dept turning folks away….. WDFW had their police and employees stopping the general public into the area.   

     Next week or next year gather up a few folks and get them trained to be range riders and herders…. I'm sure the farmers won't care……….

  18. bob says:

    Don, Last time I looked we were not asking to have wolves killed because we were grazing too many sheep in an area of known wolf activitiy that had been clearcut and sprayed with herbicides.  

    Bob Ferris

  19. bob says:

    Don, We have hired herders and range riders as well as raising money for compensation and lobbying for those funds as well.  Bob Ferris

  20. Autumn says:

    Not only did they just also kill any pups that can’t live without her, but they may have increased the likelihood of more livestock killing. They killed an alpha so now some other of the wolves may breed causing more wolves, not less. This is cruel and is the exact opposite of management!!!

  21. Don Phipps says:

    That sound great thanks.


  22. Barbara says:


    Is it true there is a kill order by the state on the huckleberry pack?

  23. bob says:

    The kill order was never rescinded they just stopped the gunning and pulled the traps.  They could start up again at any moment.

    Bob Ferris

  24. shawn hill says:

    This is for Rebecca stamos you are wrong the wolves have more right to this land than we do! They were here long before us cause in all reality we are all immigrants,except for the indians!! So unless you all Indian you need to shut up about killing wolves !!! They are beautiful animals and all wildlife needs to be saved!what an heartless person you and everyone else than believes that shooting ,trapping ,sharing and any other forms of murder are ok .You are sick and need help !!! And let me guess you have a fur too right?!

  25. Israel Keyes says:

    Stevens County is corrupt.  And full of retards, drug addicts and satan worshippers like the Dashiells.  That's why they built that "holding facility" disguised as a new Border Patrol HQ.  To put you morons in when the time comes.  Hope you enjoy your in the near future stay…..

  26. Israel Keyes says:

    The criminal cabal behind the wolf slaughters in Washington were planning this long before they ever knew a single wolf was present. I know.  I was there.  As early as 2007, they began their plans to exterminate any and all wolves that they ever heard of.  Fish and Game started it.  A wolf poaching was reported in 2011, and the Fish and Game man relayed the info regarding the pack to local wolf killers, whom saw that the remaining pack was collared and killed.  That was the Wedge Pack.  The Fish and Game man never reported the 2 poachings that an eye witness had him come out to investigate, and instead covered it up.  Yup.  I was there.

Comments are closed.