Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 4/14/06

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 4/07 to 4/14, 2006

Important- Due to the time involved in trying to update and modify the mailing list, the direct e-mailing of the weekly wolf report to the public is ending after this mailing. It will continue to be posted at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov and interested parties can access it there the beginning of each week.

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2006 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2005] 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.

MT WS sighted a wolf 1 mile east of the White Sulphur Springs airport on April 14. Snares for coyote control were about 5 miles away and they will pull the snares if they see wolf sign closer to the snares. They also contacted landowners in the area and explained 2005 10-j rule.

Control

WY WS confirmed one young calf killed by wolves on the 9th and a second calf killed on the 10th on private property south of Boulder, WY [also near Farson, WY]. Every spring, thousands of sheep graze and lamb on public and private land within 5 miles of this depredation site. Last year, wolves were confirmed to have killed at least 18 ewes and 2 lambs, with an additional 14 ewes recorded as probable wolf kills (19 lambs also died) just south of this area. At the direct of the FWS, WS tried to aerial gun wolves near the depredation site on the 11th and 12th, but no wolves were found. Control was completed on the 14th, when WS removed 3 wolves (1 grey adult male [a dispersing former Teton wolf #506] & 2 yearling females). No other wolves were seen in the area and control is concluded unless there are additional problems.

On the 10th WY WS confirmed an adult cow killed by wolves near Big Piney, WY. WS attempted to shoot a wolf if one returned to the livestock carcass, but no wolves came back. Control ended, but FWS/WS will closely monitor the situation.

On the 14th WY WS removed a yearling male wolf from the Carter Mtn. Pack after the pack killed a calf last week on private property. The Carter Mtn. Pack consists of 5-6 wolves and has killed numerous cattle over the last few years. If depredations continue, more wolves will be removed.

Husseman and ID WS agents visited the ranch where the two wolves were previously shot to talk with the producer about some more calves that were killed (apparently by internal trauma, possibly from being stepped on); wolf activity is being closely monitored in the area by both IDFG and WS and assistance to reduce conflicts is being provided to the rancher.

There were more sheep depredations on a private ranch in McCone County in central MT on the 15th by a wolf or wolf-like canid. WS confirmed 2 dead ewes. The McCone County private control agent who is a volunteer for MFWP, joined WS for the field necropsy. MFWP issued the ranch owner a 45-day shoot on sight permit. MFWP has been in regular communication with and provided technical assistance to its McCone Co. volunteers over the last month.

MT WS killed the radio-collared Halfway pack female [west of Helena, MT] on April 7 after seeing her alone over several previous flights. This MFWP authorized wolf control action is now concluded that the last pack member has been removed. The 45 day control to collar and release a member of the adjacent Spotted Dog pack ended on April 9 and was unsuccessful.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 13th Jimenez spoke to the Wyoming Chapter of Future Farmers of America in Laramie, WY. Numerous sessions were held through out the 2 day symposium included: WYG&F elk management and feed grounds, USDA Wildlife Services, and the Wyoming State Vet. Lab programs on Brucellosis and Pasturella in Big Horn Sheep.

On the 12th Curt Mack (NPT), Pete Zager and Steve Nadeau (IDFG), and Mike Mitchell (Leader Univ. of MT Wildlife Research Coop) interviewed and selected a principal investigator to conduct the field research component for the NPT's "Long-term monitoring protocols for wolves in Idaho" grant.

Nadeau [IDFG] gave a presentation to a 15 students of a philosophy class at Univ. of Idaho on Tuesday on decision processes in wolf management. Nadeau and Brent Thomas (IDFG) also met with Dr. Oz Garton and Dr. Mike Scott at U of I to review population estimation techniques and wolf habitat mapping.

Jason Husseman and IDFG officers along with ID WS agents investigated claims that wolves were killed on private property near Challis while attacking cattle. The necropsy by WS and concurred that it wasn’t wolf predation that killed the adult cow and no evidence of wolves being injured was found.

Holyan (NPT) participated in the Central Idaho Science Symposium on the 11th at McCall-Donnelly High School. He displayed a poster, telemetry equipment, wolf skull and pelts. The NPT display was among one of 40+ poster projects shown by students. Approximately 200 students and their family members attended.

Bradley [MFWP] gave a talk to ~65 seventh graders at Anaconda Middle School on the 10th. On the 11th she gave a talk to ~50 students in the Montana Wildlife class at the University of Montana in Missoula.

A wolf carcass was found near Garrison, MT on April 10th. MFWP warden Dan Burns investigated and coordinated with FWS LE agent Goessman. The cause of its death is under investigation.

The Service's weekly wolf report can be viewed at 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