Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 12/17/04

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 12/10-12/17, 2004

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2003 annual wolf report is at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ . It has maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, litigation and funding issues, and summaries of scientific studies.

Laudon [MTFWP] located wolf B-81 in NW MT on mortality mode. It hadn’t been located since early summer. Its death is under LE investigation.

IDFG flights on the 14th and 16th, reported locations and observations of the following packs: Copper Basin located east of Hailey, 9 gray wolves were seen; Buffalo Ridge was located between the E. Fork Salmon and Hwy 93 (second consecutive sighting of 7 grays); Morgan Creek pack located within usual home range area, w/minimum of 9 wolves (observed 7 blacks, plus two collared pack members were located a couple miles away); Moyer Basin was located in Panther Ck. drainage ; Galena Pack was located in the Redfish Ck drainage ; Jureano Mtn. pack was located in South of the Salmon river within their typical home range (5 black wolves, two gray wolves seen—might be more, but a pretty good min. estimate).

Control

Two wolves [a male and female- both yearlings] from the Daniel pack near Pinedale, WY were shot from fixed-wing aircraft by WS on the 13th. The pack had been involved in chronic cattle depredations in that area since this fall with at least 8 calves confirmed killed. Like the Owl Creek control action [see last week’s weekly where two 95lb. sub-adults were removed] control was suspended during the WY big game rifle hunting season. Hunting season ended and the control action was completed as planned. Seven wolves remain in the Daniel pack.

A pet cat was apparently killed by the Daniel pack on 20 acre piece of private land near Pinedale, WY on the 12th. The landowner reported wolf tracks in fresh snow that indicted the cat was hiding under a car and was flushed by the wolves, who killed it and let lay. This was not confirmed by WS but the landowner had confirmed wolf tracks on his place several times, had previously made casts of them, and the Daniel pack was located nearby the next day. Control is not conducted for pet depredations.

Research

Yellowstone National Park ended their early winter wolf predation study on the 15th.

Information and education and law enforcement

The annual interagency wolf meeting was held in Missoula, MT on the 14th and 15th. About 30 wolf managers and agency representatives from a host of federal, state and tribal cooperators attended. The year end meeting is held as a yearly wrap-up and to begin preparation of the 2004 annual interagency wolf report. Overall, the wolf population barely grew, livestock depredations and lethal removal where higher than past years but still below predicted levels, and everyone is excited about the increased participation of the state Fish and Game agencies in Montana and Idaho.

Sime and Trapp [MT FWP] visited with landowners in the Red Lodge/Roscoe, MT area on the 11th. Trapp, Laudon, and Sime gave presentations and had discussions with MT FWP staff in

the Billings and Great Falls regions on the 9th and 10th.

Nadeau, Niemeyer, Husseman, Curt Mack and Jim Holyan met in Boise, ID on December 6 to review and analyze the Idaho wolf population data for 2004. Telemetry flights in December will be used to finalize the counts for the year, and final numbers will be provided when they are available.

Nadeau gave a wolf presentation to Idaho Outfitters and Guides on the 8th in Boise, ID to approximately 30 outfitters.

Jimenez gave a talk to about 25 biology students at NW College in Powell, WY on the 13th.

The Service's weekly wolf report can now also be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at  http://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