Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 10/26/01

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 10/19-10/26, 2001

Monitoring

Tom Meier and volunteers Jochim Vos, and Vernon and Nancy Hawthorne ended trapping near Pleasant Valley and Libby Dam in NW MT. Fresh sign and howling have been detected in both areas but it appears that only a wolf or two is present. No wolves were captured. Trapping efforts ended because the big game rifle hunting season in Montana opened October 21.

See the 2000 annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt00/ for a map of pack locations and home ranges.

Please report wolf sightings!! If hunters report evidence of wolves to you please pass that information along to the Service.

Control

The Absaroka pack (2 ad, 2 yr, and 3-4 pups) have killed another calf (8th so far) on a private ranch, 6 on USFS allotments and 2 on private land. Control by hazing and then trapping was unsuccessful at stopping further problems and thick cover and high winds delayed aerial gunning efforts. However, on 10/5 a black uncollared 125lb. yearling male was removed. The alpha male will also be removed as soon as weather permits. Several plans to conduct control in WY were abandoned this week because of weather in the area.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

October 14th-21st- was National Wolf Awareness Week. About 30 states and Governors formally recognized this event. On the 18-20th, Bangs and Smith participated in a NFW conference, "Restoring Wolves to the Northern Forest" in Dixville Notch, NH. About 150 people attended the 2-day Conference. Carter Niemeyer, Rick Williamson, and Curt Mack will give presentations at Wolf Haven in Washington State October 20 and 21. About 70 people attended those presentations.

On the AM of the 23rd Bangs, Fontaine, and Niemeyer met with Chris Smith (MT DFW&P) and Greg Schildwachter (ID OSC) to discuss control of problem wolves and the role of wolf relocations and the status of the proposed National Wolf Reclassification Rule. The meeting went well and was useful at understanding what the future of wolf control may look like. These issues were discussed further with other agency cooperators on the 25th and will be discussed again during the annual interagency meeting on December 6th. No policy decisions will be made until everyone has been informed and involved.

On the 24th, Bangs gave a presentation to about 15 people at a Montana Dept. of Transportation managers retreat at Seeley Lake, MT.

On the 25th, the core interagency field team met in Helena to discuss funding and staffing in 2002, wolf monitoring efforts and missing frequencies, cooperative research and joint publications, wolf control and relocation, winter capture plans for 2001/2002, reclassification issues, and general communication. Bangs, Fontaine, Meier, Jimenez, and Neiemyer (FWS), Smith and Guernsey (NPS), Mack and Hoylan (Nez Perce Tribe) and Asher (TESF) participated. Biologists from MT FW&P and WY G&F also sat in. The larger more inclusive interagency coordination meeting is scheduled for December 6th in Helena.

Fontaine gave presentations to students at Helena High School on the 26th.

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 ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV