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What to know about wolves when visiting backcountry areas of the state.

Wolves are gradually returning to Washington’s backcountry. Today, they range across northeast, north, central and far southeast areas of the state. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife gets many questions about them in reference to human safety. There are very few documented wolf attacks on humans outside of Europe in past centuries. Generally wolves want to avoid people. Even those who do wish to see a wolf in the wild rarely do. Your dog, on the other hand, has a better chance of encountering a wolf as they are both curious and confrontational and may challenge a dog over territory.

  • Never leave your dog unattended.
  • Do not allow dogs to chase wildlife.
  • If camping, store all food in wildlife resistant containers and clean up any spilled food.
  • Avoid areas with concentrated wolf sign (tracks and scat).
  • Do not search for den, rendezvous, or kill sites.
  • Never approach a wolf.
  • If a wolf barks, you have likely entered an activity center. Leave immediately and walk back in the direction from which you came.
  • If you encounter a wolf, do not run. Maintain eye contact and leave the area. The wolf may “escort” (follow) you for a short distance.

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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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