Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 3/11/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 3/7 to 3/11, 2005

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2005 annual interagency 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, discussions of litigation and funding issues, summaries of scientific studies, and an extensive bibliography and additional informational websites. We will not be mailing hard copies of the report out as we have done in past years, unless we have specific requests.

Biscuit Basin pack has left Yellowstone Park and spending time in Idaho. All other Park packs in their typical areas.

Monitoring flights for the state of Idaho are mostly completed for March, with the exception of the northern part (Clearwater River drainage and greater area). Most wolf packs were located in their usual areas. Telemetry flights in Idaho indicate- Packer John: not located. Calderwood: observed 5 grey wolves (including B141) resting south of Hot Springs Campground. Scott Mountain: B78, B177, B178 located in Anderson Creek (northeast of Garden Valley). B115 not present (missing since January 2005). Warm Springs: Scanned from mouth of Deadwood River to Lowman to Warm Springs Creek. Unable to locate. FWS LE Kabasa picked up a signal on B109 near Lowman on 3-1-05. Steel Mountain: B241, B186, and B189 located in Black Warrior Creek. B188 not located. Visual of 5 wolves and several ravens, wolves possibly on kill. Bennett Mountain: Visual of B199 and one other gray in Camas Creek. Listened for signals from B155, B188, and B115 as well as all loners and missing wolves – no signals picked up. Soldier Mountain:B149, B150, B191, and B192 all located 1 mile northwest of Big Smokey Guard Station. Visual of 4 blacks and 4 grays. Timberline: not located. Jureano Mountain: Observed 3 black, 1 gray wolf on ridge east of the mouth of Panther Creek. Moyer Basin: Pack was located in the Yellowjacket Creek drainage. Morgan Creek: Observed 6 black and 1 gray bedded on ridge in the W. Fork Camas Creek. Galena: Observed 4-5 gray wolves walking up low ridge near Redfish Lake. B197: Probable disperser from Morgan Creek pack- located near Lone Pine Peak south of Challis. Buffalo Ridge: Pack was located in Squaw Creek drainage; dispersing wolf B196 from the Morgan Creek pack was again located with Buffalo Ridge. B228: Probable disperser from Morgan Creek pack—was located in the Spring Creek drainage north of Morgan Creek. Copper Basin: Located in Bady Creek drainage. Biscuit Basin pack out by Henrys Fork in Idaho. This pack may account for most of the recent observations of wolves in that area.

Control

WS confirmed a calf depredation by wolves on a ranch near Clayton, Idaho on the 7th. Evidence indicates that a single wolf killed the calf. The Service authorized the lethal removal of one wolf. This was the 3rd calf killed by wolves on that ranch this spring. Two other control actions were previously authorized for the same ranch and one wolf was shot by WS in mid-February.

On the 10th, WS was doing aerial coyote control in response to some recent calf losses on private land within the Crow reservation in the Pryor Mountains south of Billings, MT. That morning WS saw an uncollared black wolf standing in the cattle herd where the losses occurred. WS will go back to the livestock carcasses to see if they were actually killed by a wolf. WS is contacting the Crow Tribe to determine what, if anything, the Tribe would want done if wolves are killing livestock on the reservation.

Research

Yellowstone National Park started its annual late winter wolf predation study on March 1. Kill rates seem down, likely due to the usually mild winter and lack of snow. Lots of bulls being killed but few calves are being killed. For most packs, but not all, kill rates continue to be down.

The Nez Perce Tribe is finalizing work on a literature review of worldwide wolf monitoring techniques. This will lead to the development of a research effort to test the applicability of those methods deemed most appropriate for use in Idaho.

Information and education and law enforcement

Bangs and Sime helped teach a class "Wolf management beyond delisting" for the Yellowstone Association Institute the 11th and 12th. Twenty people attended and it involved wolf watching and some lectures in Yellowstone National Park.

A conference call was held the morning of the 11th with Service, Wildlife Services, State, and Tribal representatives to discuss the OR court ruling, 10j rule, and transition to state-led management and future coordination regarding problem wolf management.

Smith gave a talk to Diane Boyd’s Yellowstone Institute class in the Lamar Valley on March 4th. About 15 people attended.

Steve Nadeau [IDFG] gave a presentation on State Wolf Management to the Idaho Chapter of the Wildlife Society on March 10.

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