Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 7/01/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 6/24 to 7/01, 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, an extensive bibliography, and additional informational websites.

Jonathan Derbridge is on board volunteering for MFWP in the greater NW Montana area. Welcome Jonathan! He is currently scouting an area south of Superior following up on a cluster of both recent and past reports. There are no known radio collared animals in that area.

Laudon (MFWP), has been coordinating with Dave Spicer (IDFG) and Adam Gall (IDFG) on recent reports on a transboundary group of wolves with the Idaho Panhandle and NW Montana. Wolf activity has been known in this area for awhile and there are no known radio collars in this area. The plan is to cooperatively (MFWP & IDFG) trap this area next week, after the 4th of July weekend, if sufficient sign can been found.

Jon Trapp [MFWP] has been trapping for Moccasin Lake south of Big Timber, MT. The pack seems to be moving around quite a bit. It is still not clear whether then denned and have pups. There are also many bears in the area. No wolves have been captured to date.

On June 27th, MFWP retrieved the carcass of a yearling male wolf that had been hit by a vehicle on Interstate 90 just north of Deerlodge MT. It was first reported by the local USDA Wildlife Services agent and Montana Department of Transportation. Excellent interagency coordination.

On the 1st, Jimenez caught and radioed a black 2-yr male on the border of Grand Teton National Park. He was #350, a radio-collared disperser from the Druid pack. He was with the pack in the Park this past March. Hopefully he is now associated with a new pack that has suspected to have formed adjacent to the Teton pack.

Husseman [IDGF] verified 4 pups in the new Hughs creek pack and attempted to put a collar on them this week. He pulled traps for the July 4 weekend. Lucid [IDGF] worked on the Scott Mt. pack and due to the transient nature of the pack and lack of localized activity throughout the spring, he thinks it is a non-reproductive pack this year. So far this year, IDFG crews have verified 14 reproductive packs and a minimum of 42 pups, though in a couple of those packs pups were not counted, just heard. Wolf sign was verified by IDFG north of I-90 and east of Lake Pend Oreille in the Panhandle. IDFG will coordinate with MFWP to attempt to trap and collar the pack. It is believed to be another of the several packs that move between Idaho and Montana.

Control

Correction- The Farson female and 4 pups [not 6 pups] were shot. Two that escaped into a den were going to be shot but couldn’t be found the next day. Since they can not survive without an adult carrying for them, the control action did remove all 6 pups, but only 4 were euthanized. Control there ended.

The Owl Creek radioed male and uncollared female have pups. Trapping to radio and release the female ended on the 1st and we are in a wait and see mode regarding more control. If there are additional depredations the entire pack may be removed.

Williamson (ID WS) confirmed that a single wolf killed 15 lambs and 3 ewes on Tuesday night (6/28). The depredation took place at the confluence of Willow Creek, Warm Creek, and Little Smoky Creek on a public grazing allotment the Sawtooth National Forest. The herder saw a single, black, collared wolf at the site on Wednesday morning and again on Wednesday evening. The herder shot an entire box (20 rds.) of .30-30 ammo at the wolf, sometimes at very close range. He does not know if the wolf ever got hit. The wolf did not return. None of the carcasses were fed on. WS has not been able to hear any telemetry signals or any other fresh wolf sign. The FWS authorized WS to remove one wolf and may issue a SOS permit to the livestock producer.

On 6/24, Idaho WS confirmed that wolves had killed 1 lamb killed on 6/23. A dead ewe was also present, but it was mostly consumed and difficult to get to, so it will most likely be called it a "probable". The depredation took place on Badger Creek, about 2 miles south of the Pine, ID airstrip on the Boise National Forest. A herder witnessed the attack by two wolves (one gray, one black). He tried to shoot at the wolves but his rifle malfunctioned. Besides the herder, there were several dogs with the band. These may be a group of dispersers, but the collared Bennett Mt. pack wolf (B-199) was located, via telemetry, about 6-7 miles from the depredation site, but on the other side of the Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Traps have been set and 1 fixed-winged flight has been made in attempt to kill several wolves, but to date, no wolves have been captured, collared or killed.

The June 26th investigation that Idaho WS conducted near Grangeville, where 18 goats were reportedly killed by wolves turned out to be caused by domestic dogs. No wolves were involved.

On June 30, Laudon (MFWP) responded to a missing calf complaint in the Murphy Lake pack area. The calf was born Monday, wolves were heard howling Tuesday morning and the calf had not been seen since Monday. The 23 acre forested pasture was searched extensively by the producers on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to no avail. Laudon helped search the pasture again Thursday evening the 30th, and the calf was found. All involved were happy with the outcome. Sometimes, it goes like, other times it doesn’t.

Research

Nothing new.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

FWP TAKES LEAD IN WOLF MANAGEMENT IN MONTANA- News release-

Federal wildlife officials turned over most authority for the state's recovered but still federally protected wolf population to Montana today allowing the state to carry out much of its approved wolf conservation and management plan. "It's been a long time coming, but the people of Montana worked hard over the past 10 years with the expectation that the wolf would one day be delisted and managed among all of the state's wildlife," said Jeff Hagener, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks "The agreement is confirmation that the people of Montana did their part to restore the wolf in this part of the country. It allows Montana to make wolf management decisions, which puts us in a better position to meet the challenges of living with the recovered population instead of waiting for delisting."

Wyoming Governor Petitions to Change 10j rules- Late afternoon on July 1st the Wyoming Governor issued a press release, and a petition and its justification asking that the Service to essentially change the 1994 10j rule in Wyoming to make it like the new 2005 10j rule that allows states with approved wolf management plans to lead wolf management and have extra wolf management flexibility. The Service will carefully review that information and respond appropriately once the petition is received.

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