Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/23/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 9/16 to 9/23, 2005

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2005 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2004] can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm . 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.

HUNTERS PLEASE REMEMBER TO REPORT SUSPECTED WOLF OBSERVATIONS. TO YOUR LOCAL FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT. THANKS AND HAVE A GREAT SEASON.

Isaac Babcock [NPT] obtained a pup count on the Eagle Mt. pack; there are a minimum of 4 pups present (3 gray observed and a 4th heard howling). Two uncollared gray adults were seen, while the sole radio-collared wolf, alpha male B136, was not present.

Tyler Hollow [NTP] and volunteer Cason Johnson conducted a trapping operation to place additional collars in the Stolle Meadow pack. As of the 19th he was unsuccessful, although he did obtain a better estimate of the number of adult wolves associated with this pack. He observed 4 other adults with the sole radio-collared wolf, suspected alpha female B249. One pup was inadvertently trapped here earlier in the summer but he hasn’t located pups since.

Jim Holyan [NTP] and volunteers Janeen Hetzler and Erin Simmons worked on the newly radio-collared wolf near Burgdorf, ID. Two uncollared gray adults were seen very near where B257 was being monitored, but on other days B257 was apparently alone. These wolves are suspected to be part of a group of undocumented wolves first reported near Carey Dome (north of McCall, ID on the breaks of the Salmon River) in 2004.

Holyan and volunteer Hetzler also monitored Cold Springs pack wolf B206; her signal was detected, but walk-ins on her location were not feasible, so no information on reproductive status of this pack was obtained. After several attempts to document the reproductive status of this pack in 2005 we have been unable to verify if there are pups present.

Laudon (MFWP) closed the trapline on the Spotted Bear Pack after he determined that the lone radio collared animal was moving extensively daily including swimming the Hungry Horse Reservoir.

On the 9th, MFWP Warden Jon Obst recovered the carcass of an adult male wolf in the Wolf Creek drainage that had been hit and killed by a pickup truck. This animal is believed to be a member of the Wolf Prairie Pack.

Control

On the 15th, Niemeyer (FWS), Parker (WS) and Graves (WS) examined a 4-yr-old cow that was killed on private property near Cascade, ID. Shoot-on-sight permits for up to 3 wolves were issued to both the grazing permittees and landowner. WS was authorized to remove 3 wolves and traps were set. On morning of the 18th, the landowner reported shooting two black wolves (1 male pup, 1 adult male) out of a group of five black wolves. They were killed not far from where a neighboring ranch had a cow killed on the 14th. When 1 more wolf is taken, SOS permits and agency control will be terminated.

ID WS confirmed another calf killed on the Boone Creek grazing allotment in the Copper Basin area on the 18th. WS set traps and will euthanize any wolf captured. The previous SOS permit issued to this ranch expired on the 18th. At the producers request, the Service extended the permit to October 20th, at which time the cattle will be removed from the allotment.

On the 20th, ID WS specialists Craig Maycock, Jon Farr, and Lee Czapenski examined a dead calf that was reported as a wolf kill in the Kilgore, ID area. They couldn’t tell what it had died from and only coyotes had been feeding on it.

On the 18th, Eric Simonson, WS specialist, confirmed that a calf was killed by wolves in Copper Basin on a grazing allotment in the Challis National Forest. Eric set traps and will kill any wolf that is captured. A shoot-on-sight permit was renewed by the Service for the permittee until October 20th.

On the 20th, ID WS Jeff Ashmead investigated a calf carcass that was reported as wolf kill. The calf was on private property, south of Stanley, ID about 15 miles. He believes the calf had been dead for about 5 or 6 days, but the physical condition was still in good enough shape for him to make a "probable" assessment. Wolves B107, B170 (Galena pack) and B253(collared near Pole Crk.a month ago), were located near the depredation site before and after the calf reportedly died.

On the 23rd, ID WS killed a wolf from the Chesimia pack near Dworshak Reservoir in northern Idaho. WS located the wolves in heavy, thick brush, conducted some predator calling and killed a gray female young-of-the-year that had been captured and ear-tagged during an earlier trapping session in August. WS will try to remove one more wolf.

On the 20th, a heifer was wounded by wolves from the Wedge pack on private land, south of Ennis, MT. Herders drove the wolves away but the cow is not expected to live and was later euthanized. Cattle were being removed from the ranch and the landowner did not want any lethal control.

On the 20th, the uncollared suspected alpha male of the Freezeout pack was called in and shot from the ground by MT WS. The once gray wolf was now nearly white. On the 21st ,WS was locating the remaining Freezeout pack members and found 7 on a fresh calf carcass on a small partial of private land. They shot an uncollared adult male from a fixed-wing aircraft, completing control. Both wolves were taken on public land. WS retrieved the wolf’s carcass and examined the calf. WS confirmed it had been killed by wolves. Agency control and the shoot-on-sight permits were suspended, pending additional depredations.

A calf was confirmed killed by wolves on a private ranch in the Big Hole Valley, MT on the 20th. There are believed to be at least 3 wolves left in the Battlefield pack and MT WS has been authorized to remove the remaining individuals. In addition, the ranch manager has been issued a 45 day shoot-on-site permit for 3 wolves on the ranch. The Battlefield pack has been involved in numerous depredations over the past year and efforts to remove the remainder of this pack this past June were unsuccessful. There are no radio-collars currently in this pack.

In last week’s weekly WY WS Specialist Tracy Frye reported that on Sept. 11th, a Riverton, WY man reported his dog, a golden retriever, was attacked by wolves near Dubois, WY. It recovered.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 20th, Laudon (MFWP) spoke at the Libby Rod and Gun Club to present the Montana Wolf Management Plan, the current status of wolves in Montana, and a request to please report wolf observations of any kind.

Doug Smith [NPS] and Dominic Domenici [FWS LE] rode into the backcountry of the Grerater Yellowstone Area meeting with various guides and outfitters at their camps.

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