Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 11/08/02

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 11/01 to 11/08, 2002

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- See http://WesternGrayWolf.fws.gov  for maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, and summaries of scientific studies.

Meier and Fontaine located wolves in NW MT on the 5th and 6th. The Hog Heaven pack had 2 adults and 3 pups, in Murphy Lake 6 gray wolves were seen, Spotted Bear had at least 2 pups and 2 adults all gray, the dispersing Idaho male was located where the Half Creek pack was usually located and he may have joined them. The Chief Joe pack was seen in Tom Miner Basin but the only radioed wolf was not with them. He is now a yearling and might have dispersed.

The Service is once again asking for help from big game hunters in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming during the big-game hunting season. Please report any sightings of wolf activity to the nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state Fish and Game Agency, Forest Service, BLM, Tribal, or USDA Wildlife Services office. We thank everyone for their cooperation.

Control

The Mill Creek pack [GYA near Chico, MT] [11 wolves were in the pack, the alpha female is collared] killed 16 sheep in two incidents on private land last week. On the 2nd a landowner killed 2 female gray pups as allowed by the shoot-on-site permits that were issued on the 1st. Control also included burying livestock carcasses, neck snaring with stops, fladry, installing a RAG box. The producer was feeding the sheep hay to keep them in a smaller pasture than normal. Mill Creek wolves continued to visit the ranch where they had killed sheep and on the 5th the landowner/sheep producer was issued a permit to shoot one more wolf in his pastures.

On the 2nd, wolves from the Teton pack [23 wolves] killed a 900-1,000 yearling heifer on a private ranch adjacent to Grand Teton National Park. This is at least the second time the pack has killed cattle this year. WS is trapping, snaring, shooting on the ranch and may remove 3-4 wolves.

The Taylor Fork pack [2 adults and 3 pups] fed on a yearling cattle carcass on private land on the 2nd but the WS investigation indicated that calf and another found nearby died from pneumonia.

A yearling cattle carcass was investigated in the northern part of the Paradise Valley [Trail Creek] where wolves have been reported in the past and seen this year. WS heard 3 wolves howling while in the area and this is a new un-radioed group. The livestock did not die from wolf attack but wolves had fed on the carcass. Asher instructed local ranch care-takers to use less-than-lethal munitions and how to preserve evidence for WS should wolf depredations be suspected..

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

On November 1, Meier met at Murphy Lake Ranger Station with ranchers from the Grave Creek area, USFS district ranger and district biologists, representatives of USFWS private lands program and the National Wildlife Federation, to discuss the possible retirement of grazing allotments or other strategies that might decrease livestock depredation in the Grave Creek/Deep Creek area. The Grave Creek pack, which occupies the northern half of the Whitefish Range, has depredated on cattle in each of the last three years, in spite of the fact that their territory includes large areas that contain no livestock.

The book "Finding Common Ground: Governance and Natural Resources in the American West" by Ronald Brunner, Christine Colburn, Christina Cromley, Roberta Klein, and Elizabeth Olson was published in 2002 by Yale University Press, New Haven and London. Chapter 3. pg 88-125 by Roberta A. Klein is titled "Wolf Recovery in the Northern Rocky Mountains".

The Winter 2002 International Wolf magazine Vol 12(4):28 contained an article by Bangs about "Wolf Predation and Elk in the Greater Yellowstone Area."

Doug Smith gave several presentations at the University of Idaho in Pocatello, ID on the 7th. Nearly 100 students and teachers attended his evening lecture.

The Service held a national-level ESA Recovery planning meeting in Corpus Christi, TX this week. At the meeting, photographs of Service employees nominated as "Recovery Champions" were displayed. The display will make its way to the National Conservation Training Center in WV. Lo and behold- rumors have it that among the photos were the smiling mug’s of Bangs, Fontaine, Jimenez, Meier, and Niemeyer. Congratulations Team!

Call for papers: Papers are now being accepted for the 2003 North American Interagency Wolf Conference, April 8 - 10, 2003 at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, MT. Please submit a one page single spaced abstract which includes your full contact information, affiliations, and authors, by email to Joseph Fontaine at Joseph_Fontaine@fws.gov Topics include, but are not limited to, wolf biology and conservation, conflict management, predator and prey relationships, law enforcement, forensics, population status, state wolf management planning, national wolf reclassification and delisting, ethics, environmental education, and public outreach. Please submit a digital picture related to your research or topic to include in the agenda and on the website. We can also scan images sent by mail. Registration for the conference will begin November 1, 2002 and you may contact Suzanne Laverty at SLaverty@defenders.org for details.

The Service's weekly wolf report can now also be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at WesternGrayWolf.fws.gov. This report is government public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.

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