Farmer investigated for killing wolf

— The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating a farmer who allegedly shot and killed a wolf Saturday south of town.

Wildlife officials have not released the name of the farmer they allege tracked and killed the wolf after seeing it on his farm.

Agency Wildlife Program Director Nate Pamplin told the Spokesman Review the farmer had "pursued the animal for several miles" west of U.S. Highway 195 on Saturday.

Other details were not released.

Under agency rules, wolves can generally be killed only if caught in the act of attacking livestock or for self-defense.

“The shooting does not appear to have been associated with a defense-of-life action,” Pamplin told the newspaper.

The chief law enforcement officer for Fish and Wildlife, Steve Crown, said the incident remains under investigation.

The name of the farmer will be released once charging documents are filed with the Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, he said, noting officers began their investigation Sunday.

Fish and Wildlife officials say there are not any wolf packs in Whitman County, although a few animals have been reported.

The wolf likely ventured into the area from Idaho, where wolves can be hunted and trapped.

During the 2013-14 hunting season, 105 wolves were hunted or trapped in the Palouse and panhandle regions of Idaho.

The shooting comes less than a week after the state agency was blasted over its wolf management plans during a meeting in Stevens County, where the Huckleberry Pack killed dozens of sheep in August.

Stevens County Commissioners have said they will take wolf management into their own hands if Fish and Wildlife can't handle the predators.

State officials consider wolves as an endangered species statewide, even though federal officials say they are not endangered east of U.S. Highway 97.


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