Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/4/01

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 12/23-1/04, 2001

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Monitoring

Packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are moving throughout their home ranges. See the 1999 annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/ for a map of those pack locations and home ranges. The annual "official" count of wolf breeding pairs and new pack home ranges will be published in the 2000 annual report which should be out by February 1, 2001.

The former Soda Butte pack has been renamed the Yellowstone Delta pack. The pack was relocated from the Soda Butte area in 1996 and has lived south of Yellowstone Lake since that time. The name change is consistent with most pack names which come from local geologic features in their territory.

Please report wolf sightings!! Signs were distributed asking hunters to report wolf observations. We have copies of these signs for any agency folks willing to post them at information centers, offices, or hunter check stations, etc. Thanks to those who have been forwarding us reports it has helped located several potential new packs. When we are this close to 30 breeding pair, each wolf pack becomes very important.

Control

A heifer was killed by wolves north of Browning on the 20th and another heifer was killed the following night. A WS investigation confirmed that a pair of wolves were responsible. The pair’s tracks were evident. WS and the Service attempted to helicopter dart them the next day but they could not be located. No further problems have been reported. During the weekend of the 24th WS was gunning coyotes in the Deer Lodge area near where several sheep had been killed by wolves earlier this year. Fontaine was on stand-by and WS carried a dart gun with them to capture, radiocollar, and release any wolves found. No wolves were located.

WS investigated a report of a wolf killing sheep near Red Lodge on New Year’s weekend. The sheep were killed by a large malamute dog and not wolves.

On the 24th, a less-than-lethal-muntions research permit was issued to a ranch north of Gardiner, MT to harass wolves on their private property near buildings or livestock using cracker shells. Wolves had been walking past the ranch house for a couple of days and appeared to be getting bolder. An offer of training and use of 12 gauge bean bag rounds was also made at that time.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement are hopeful that a reward of $10,000 will encourage the public to provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or person responsible for the killing of two gray wolves in Camas County, Idaho. Two males, including the alpha, from the Smokey Mountain pack were found dead in late November/early December. Service LE agents can be contacted at (208)378-5333.

The Timber Wolf Alliance put out a call for entries for the 2001 National Wolf Awareness Week Poster Contest. If you know an artist that may be interested have them enclose slides of their original artwork, conceived and created entirely by them to: Timber Wolf Alliance, 2001 National Poster Competition, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Northland College, Ashland, WI 54806. Call (715)682-1490 for further information. The deadline is April 7, 2001.

The Service's weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://www.r6.fws.gov/wolf in addition to the regular distribution.

Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or Internet-ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV