TWISP, Okanogan County — A Twisp cattle rancher who admitted last year that he had conspired to kill a wolf and ship its pelt to Canada reported finding a dead calf that he suspects might have been killed by a wolf on his property last week.
But state Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) officials say their preliminary finding is that Bill White’s calf was not killed by a wolf.
White says that just days before finding the dead calf, a trail camera on his property captured a photo of a wolf, and a neighbor had seen three wolves near his property. He also found scat that appeared to be too large for coyotes within 10 feet of where the mother cow had her calf. And, he said, the calf was located on a grassy hill, where it would be difficult to detect any animal prints.
White said that biologists who responded to the scene told him that neither a cougar nor a bear had killed it, and that it had been born alive, and traumatized before it died. “So, what I’d like to know is, what did kill it?” he asked. “What can kill it, leave no tracks, eat 40 pounds and then leave?”
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DFW Sgt. Jim Brown, who heads the department’s law enforcement in Okanogan County, said that while the investigation into White’s dead calf is not complete, DFW officers and biologists could find no conclusive evidence that a wolf was involved. He said the carcass had been fed on, but there were no wolf tracks near it.
White pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court last April to conspiracy to take an endangered species and conspiracy to transport an endangered species. He was sentenced to six months of home monitoring and fined $35,000, with $20,000 of the fine shared with his son, Tom, who admitted to killing two wolves.