Wolf sightings in Washington credible

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SPOKANE — Among the many wolf sightings reported in the region, some are more credible than others, including the black wolf wearing a radio collar and running with another wolf west of St. John in recent months.

Washington Fish and Wildlife officials confirmed the wolf was not collared in Washington.

“The wolf could be from either Idaho, Montana or even B.C.,” said Jim Hayden, Idaho Fish and Game wildlife manager in Coeur d’Alene.

“All of us have plenty of collars that have gone off the air, or dispersed out of range where we’re flying,” he said, noting that GPS collars that can be followed by satellite are more expensive and used more sparingly.

“We have not collared any black wolves in the Idaho Panhandle, but a couple days prior to getting a call from a Washington biologist about that wolf, we had reports of two wolf tracks near Windy Bay, on the west side of Lake Coeur d’Alene, so that lends credence to the theory that those two wolves came from or through Idaho,” Hayden said.

“We have four collars active in the Panhandle, three south of I-90 and one north of the corridor.”

Clay Hickey, Idaho Fish and Game biologist in Lewiston, emphasized that wolves can travel.

“One wolf collared in a study in Unit 10 north of Orofino and was killed by a hunter in unit 39 south of Lowman — third of the way across the state,” he said.

“Another one collared in the same study area was harvested in Montana near Helena.

“Given that backdrop, it’s anyone’s guess where that wolf in Washington came from.”

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