Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 3/7/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 2/26 to 3/07, 2005

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2005 annual wolf report [covering all 2004] can be viewed 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. We will not be mailing hard copies of the report out as in past years, unless we have specific requests.

Control

Wolves from the Halfway pack north of Avon, MT killed a calf on private property on the 2nd. Tracks indicated 4 wolves were involved. On the 5th, a night attack by at least 2 wolves was disrupted on another ranch but the calf was bitten across the back and severely injured. The recently dispersing male from Canada that depredated on cattle there, is now a member of this pack. As a result of the Oregon court ruling these wolves are listed as endangered. Control to tag and release one wolf on-site and to remove no more than two wolves was authorized under the 1999 Interim wolf control plan.

On the 28th, members of the uncollared Horse Prairie pack killed a calf on private land. Written authorization to shoot one wolf on-sight was issued to the landowner and WS was asked to trap and release a wolf and kill one wolf. After one wolf is taken control ends.

A wolf was shot by a private landowner on the 6th near Mackay, ID. Reportedly, two wolves were observed harassing a herd of cattle at night and the rancher shot an uncollared, gray female that appeared to be a yearling. The harassment of cattle may have started on the 3rd, and persisted off and on through the 6th. The rancher had one calf trampled to death and had another calf with a back injury. The rancher called WS and WS had been working with him on the situation. The Copper Basin pack was in the vicinity, but it is unsure if the two wolves were pack members. LE is investigating.

WS reported a rancher said he had shot at three wolves that were chasing his cattle on his private land near Riggins, ID. The rancher said that he saw the three wolves (at least one was black) chasing his cattle just after daylight. He took two long shots and at least one more that was at a range of about 175 yards. The rancher said none of the wolves appeared to be hit but he couldn't believe that he missed the closer shot. He checked for signs of blood and hair but found none. This could be the Cold Springs Pack, as the pack (B-183) was previously located a few miles away. WS and LE are investigating. Initial indications are no wounded or missing cattle or injured wolves- hopefully the wolves were frightened and will not be back anytime soon.

Research

Yellowstone National Park started its annual late winter wolf predation study on March 1. Kill rates seem down dramatically, likely due to the usually mild winter and lack of snow.

Information and education and law enforcement

On February 23, Jason Husseman gave a presentation to 50 participants at the Salmon Chapter of Idaho Outfitter and Guides meeting.

On February 25, Fish and Game officers euthanized a young female wolf found partly paralyzed north of Ashton near Sand Creek Wildlife Refuge. The necropsy revealed heavy bruising along the lower back from an injury that apparently paralyzed the wolf from the waist down. By following the wolf’s snow-tracks, it appeared that the injuries were caused by a moose.

Michael Lucid [IDFG] and FWS agent Scott Kabasa recovered remains of wolf B154, a young wolf from Idaho’s Timberline pack. Evidence on site suggested a natural mortality.

Mack [Nez Perce Tribe] gave a presentation to the Corps of Engineers district/regional Natural Resources staff in Lewiston on the 4th.

Sime, Ross, Asher, Bradley, Trapp, and Laudon [MTFWP] attended helicopter ACETA training in Bozeman, MT on March 2nd.

Trapp [MTFWP] presented his wolf den research and Sime discussed the status of Montana state wolf mgt. at the Montana/NW Section annual meeting of the Wildlife Society in Helena on March 3rd.

Bangs was in Washington DC 2/28-3/4 attending a meeting with attorneys and other FWS biologists and administrators to discuss the recent Oregon federal District Court ruling, what it might mean to wolf recovery and management, and what legal and policy options might be available for the Service.

The Service's weekly wolf report can be viewed 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