Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 6/28/02

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 6/21 to 6/28, 2002

Monitoring

See http://WesternGrayWolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm for maps of pack locations and home ranges. The interagency 2001 annual report is available and has been mailed.

The Spotted Bear pair and the Whitefish pack were each seen with 4 pups. Meier got good reports that indicate there may be 2 litters we hadn’t detected before. One was north of Eureka and one near Thompson River. He will be checking them out soon.

Asher has been trying to put another collar in the Chief Joe pack by trapping in the upper end of Tom Miner Basin, but hasn’t had any luck yet. The pack has denned near the old den back in the Park but occasionally hunts in Tom Miner Basin.

Please report wolf sightings in MONTANA, IDAHO, OR WYOMING!! If outdoors enthusiasts or AGENCY BIOLOGISTS report evidence of wolves to you please pass that information along to the Service.

Control

An apparently lone wolf-like canid was confirmed to have killed a llama on private property near Big Fork, Montana. The area is a patch work of "ranchettes." At first it was suspected to be dogs because the llama was bitten in several places (not a clean kill) but then a wolf sized track was found. Traps were set but the first night a fat black lab was caught who was obviously not responsible. Traps were pulled and no further control will be implemented. This area is only 6 miles from where a suspected wolf-hybrid (that reportedly ate from a person’s hand) has been seen over the past several weeks. So this likely an escaped/released wolf hybrid (ie. pet) problem.

On the 28, Wildlife Services and the Service reinitiated control in the Dubois, WY area. The wolves were in the heavy timber on the Forest Service allotment and among Diamond G Ranch cattle and elk. Cattle appeared bunched but no problems were seen. No wolves could be shot. Control will be attempted again ASAP. A neighboring ranch received a shoot-on-site permit because of the Diamond G Ranch confirmed depredation. A dead calf was investigated on that ranch this week but all that was left were a few bones and no cause of death could be determined.

The shoot-on-site permit near Mill Creek in the Paradise Valley elapsed on the 28th. No wolves were taken.

A calf was killed on private land by the Jureano pack near Stanley, ID on the 20th. Rick Williams and Niemeyer caught the packs alpha male at the depredation sight on the 21st and re-radioed and released him. On the 22nd, they caught a subadult female from the Jureano pack and also radioed collared and released her on site. This ranch is the one where the central Idaho fladry study by Wildlife Servcies is being conducted so these wolves were released on site as a test. They quickly moved away from that area and fladry will be tested when/if they return. Nice job Carter and Rick!!.

During the weekend of the 22nd, a man was exercising his German Wirehair Pointer on public land and let it out to work some sage grouse near Hill City, ID. He reported walking over a small hill 5 minutes later and seeing a black wolf standing over his dead dog. He fired a blank pistol and the wolf backed off. He returned to his truck and got his rifle. By the time he returned the wolf had moved off 100 yards and watched as he removed the dog’s body. The dog appeared to die from a broken neck. No control or compensation is provided for hunting dogs that are killed by wolves.

The third annual Predator Alliance Conference "From Control to Coexistence: Reframing how we live with predators" will be held Mammoth Hot Springs October 3 and 4. Several international experts on wildlife/human conflict will speak. For more information call (406)587-3389.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

Administrative officer Eileen Holman in the Helena Field Office, who provided administrative support for the wolf recovery program, retired on the 28th. Eileen has helped us for nearly the past 10 years. She did an outstanding job on many difficult issues including figuring out how to pay for the reintroduction effort in Canada and keeping all the wolf folks out of jail for some very "innovative" purchases, cooperative agreements, contracts, and hiring the crews we have on board, over the years. Thanks Eileen and enjoy your well deserved "rest". Fern Thompson, the previous administrative assistant in Helena, was selected to fill that position. Congratulations! Fern.

The Service’s Helena office completed its hiring for seasonal biologists this summer. Rose Jaffe will be working with Tom Meier out of Kalipsell starting the 1st. Rose did her MS out of MSU on wolves in Yellowstone Park. Issac Babcock was hired to assist with fall trapping. Issac has been volunteering or working for the Service or Nez Perce Tribe since 1996. Welcome aboard Rose and Issac!!!

Wyoming is beginning public scoping meetings to develop its state wolf management plan. Meetings will be held starting 7:00PM at: Lander July 1; Casper July 2; Sheridan July 3; Rock Springs July 8; Pinedale July 9; Jackson July 10; Cody July 11; and Laramie July 12. For further information call WY G&F at (307)777-4600 or access their web site at gf.state.wy.us . Comments can be submitted at Wolf Plan, 5400 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne, WY 82006 or at agfwolf@wgf.state.wy.us .

Mark McNay, Furbearer Biologist with Alaska Fish and Game recently published "A Case History of Wolf-Human Encounters in Alaska and Canada". It is available at: http://www.state.ak.us/adfg/wildlife/geninfo/pub/reports.htm

Doug Smith gave a talk to 30 people at the Silver Tip Ranch. The Ranch is a guest operation/inholding just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Litigation between conservation groups in Idaho and the Forest Service was re-initiated over livestock grazing in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The groups are asking that the Forest Service restrict grazing on five allotments in the area where chronic conflicts with wolves have occurred. The earlier court decision did not affect Service authority to control wolves but did call for the Forest Service to resolve different mandates in the SNRA and some compliance issues.

Niemeyer escorted LA Times writer Elizabeth Shogen to Stanley, ID on the 19th and 20th. She interviewed several Idaho Wolf Recovery Team members while in ID. She got to see a recent wolf depredation site (Jureano pack killed a calf- see control action above). Carter then traveled to Jordan Valley, OR ands spoke to the Idaho Woolgrowers Range Tour on the 23rd and attended the bus tour on the 24th.

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

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