Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 12/09/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 12/02 to 12/09, 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.

On a telemetry flight on the 8th, Jimenez saw 10 wolves in the East Fork pack and 10 in the Washakie pack. Both these packs are near Dubois, WY.

Bradley reported seeing tracks of 8 wolves in the uncollared Shalkaho pack, east of Hamilton, MT, which is consistent with numerous reports from hunters this past season.

Control

A Great Pyrenees guard dog was confirmed injured by wolves on the 3rd in SW MT. It had to have stitches in the hindquarters and had several puncture wounds to the chest but is expected to live. This occurred in Rock Creek/Blacktail country northeast of Dillon, MT and in the same band of sheep where confirmed losses occurred in October. Amazingly this was also the same dog that was injured by the Freezeout pack in September. The herder reportedly heard the commotion (4 guard dogs) and fired off a couple rounds which seemed to drive the wolves off. It is possible that it was the Freezeout pack, the "bob-tailed pair", or a something new. The producer was given a shoot-on-site permit by MFWP for 2 wolves within two miles of where the sheep were being trailed back to their wintering area. Once they are there Dec 6, the permits will be invalid. WS was authorized to remove 2 wolves [bob-tailed pair who have been involved in chronic depredations this summer] or get a radio in a larger pack if found. MFWP is working closely with WS to see what if anything else be done.

A houndsman from Kooskia, Idaho, called ID WS on the 7th. He reported one of his hounds was killed by wolves last Friday (Dec 2), and that one of the wolves had approached to within 10 yards of him and was acting very aggressive (growling) as it advanced toward him. He said this occurred up in the Selway area. He was encouraged to provide all the relevant details of the incident by filling out one of the on-line wolf sighting reports via the IDFG website. He wanted to talk to an actual person rather than just sending something in electronicaly. He was assured that every report was reviewed by several agency biologists. Understandably, he was very upset.

On the 7th, WY WS confirmed another calf killed on private land by the uncollared Daniel pack, west of Pinedale, WY. This pack has killed numerous livestock throughout this spring and summer- as well as last year. The area is a checker board of private and public land and extensively used for livestock production, including sheep. It is also interspersed with state elk feedgrounds that draw and hold dispersing wolves in that area. WS was authorized to remove all remaining pack members because of the chronic level of livestock depredations and lack of viable alternatives to lethal control. The landowner was offered a shoot on site permit but he declined saying he’d just as soon the agencies take care of it. On the 9th, WS used fixed-wing aircraft to kill 2 gray [adults] wolves out of a group of 8 gray and 1 black. Control is ongoing.

Research

The Yellowstone early winter [Nov 15- Dec 15] wolf predation study is ongoing. Kill rates seem typical of past years.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

Changing of the Guard- ‘The only constant thing is change’. The wolf program is evolving into a state & tribal-based conservation & management program and that’s very good news for wolves and the people they now live amongst. Carter Niemeyer [ID FWS] announced he will be retiring after 33 years of government service on Jan 2, 2006. Joe Fontaine [MT FWS] just accepted a refuge manger position on the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi and will report for duty early next year. We wish them well and it makes us very proud to see two of our best, make parole. Thanks and best of luck.

On the 9th, Jimenez talked to the Johnson County Predator Board in Buffalo, WY.

Sime, Alt, and Flowers [MFWP] attended a multi-county meeting in Livingston, MT on the 6th. They presented information about wolves and wolf management in Montana and answered questions regarding a proposed county petition about wolves. No action was taken on the petition.

On the 9th , the Service announced a 90-day finding on a petition to delist the gray wolf in Nevada by Nevada Department of Wildlife. The Service found that the petition did not provide information that indicated delisting may be warranted. (50 CFR part 17, FR 73190).

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