Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 8/11/06

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 8/04 to 8/11/2006

 

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.

Monitoring

A gray uncollared female wolf was reportedly hit by a car and killed the evening of the 4th near Reynolds Pass along the MT/ID border. MFWP retrieved the carcass and got it to the MFWP Bozeman Wildlife Lab. for analysis. MFWP is in communication w/ IDFG, NPT, WYFWS and YNP about wolf activity on their side of the border, respectively. MFWP enforcement did a great job- thanks.

A pup from the Mussigbrod pack in the Big Hole valley collared on July 25 by MT WS slipped its collar. Kari Holder [MFWP] retrieved the collar on August 6 and found the collar at their densite which they had recently vacated. The pup had apparently gotten stuck while trying to get in a small hole adjacent to the main denhole and was able to pull his head out of the padded collar. This was the only collar in this newly documented pack that consists of at least 2 adults and 4 pups. Bradley and Holder [MFWP] spent several days scouting and howling in the area but were unable to locate where the pack had moved to.

Laudon and Whitehead [MFWP] have been trapping at Spotted Bear. The pack is suspected to have den. Efforts ongoing. Whitehead joined Derbridge on the 10th at Wolf Prairie.

Laudon, volunteer Whitehead, and Warden Brian Sommers [MFWP] investigated a dead wolf on 9th. The collar was retrieved in the Ashley Lake area. The death is under investigation.

Isaac Babcock [NPT] re-examined the Stolle Meadow pack's territory and did find the radio-collared wolves together in the vicinity of Knox Lake. As with his previous efforts on this pack, he did find some evidence of reproduction (poss. pup track and scat), but could not elicit a howling response from any wolves. If there was a litter produced this year, it is Isaac's belief that there may be only a single pup at this time.

Tyler Hollow [NPT], following up on his pup count on the Eagle Mt. pack last hitch, conducted a capture operation there this outing. He trapped and radio collared an adult female wolf (B295). The other collared wolf, suspected alpha male B136, was last handled in 2002 and his collar is expected to expire soon. Thanks to the help of a USFS packer who assisted in transporting traps to this remote area.

Jim Holyan and Kerry Rennie obtained a pup count of 3 (observed) - 4 (suspected from howling) in the Kelly Ck. pack. They also searched for the sole radio-collared member of the Lochsa pack, but did not hear her signal. An area of suspected wolf activity encompassing much of the Cayuse Ck. drainage where IDFG personnel conducted surveys last fall was also surveyed. Based on recent wolf tracks Jim and Kerry established a trap line in the Field Ck. drainage, but wolves did not travel that trail again, and no other sign was observed.

Carter Niemeyer [IFDG] surveyed wolf activity and reviewed non lethal efforts in the Stanley Basin. Jason Husseman [IDFG] attempted to capture wolves in the East Fork Salmon River area of the Castle Peak pack that hasn’t been collared in a few years. A wolf was captured in a bear snare by graduate student Jesse Lewis near the Canadian Border. This young female B296 is believed to be associated with the Border Pack verified last winter north of Bonners Ferry. The wolf was radio collared and will be followed by IDFG personnel. Paul Frame [IDFG] captured 2 wolves in the Fishhook Pack on Aug. 7, a 40# female pup (B293), and likely the alpha male, B294. Paul and Dave Spicer also verified multiple pups in the Marble Mt. pack.

The lab reports and investigation of a large black male wolf-like canid that was found in early April 2006 along I-90 east of Sturgis, South Dakota concluded it was a grey wolf from the Yellowstone Area. Cause of death was due to a vehicle strike and had deer remains in its stomach. The pelt and skull were loaned to South Dakota Fish and Game for educational purposes.

Control

On the 5th, MT WS investigated and confirmed a calf had been injured on private land by wolves the day before in Alaska Basin (Centennial Mts). A ranch hand is doctoring it but it isn’t expected to live. Two gray wolves have been sighted in the area by the ranch hand over the last few weeks. MFWP asked WS to trap, collar, and release any wolves captured on-site. There are no known wolves in the basin but wolf activity has been reported within the year around Reynolds Pass, Cliff and Wade lakes, the Sheep Experiment Station near Spencer, ID (over the divide) all within traveling distance of Alaska Basin. The Freezeout collared female seems to be staying in the Long Creek drainage (historic denning and rendezvous area) and the Sage Creek collared male has dispersed into Idaho so MFWP is unsure which wolves these might be. MT WS spoke to the ranch hand on the 10-j rules.

On the evening of the 4th MT WS reported that a producer of the Wall Creek Grazing Assoc. found a dead calf in the Madison Valley that was pretty much consumed. He did not want WS to investigate but wanted them to be aware of the loss. Three wolves had been seen in the area a few days previous. MT WS said another dead calf was found in the same area on the 7th, and was also consumed, again this was not investigated by WS but was just a heads-up report. These were not confirmed or probable depredations and could have been killed by predators or could have died from a number of things and been scavenged. The Wall Creek Grazing Assoc. is going to ask the Antelope Basin Range Riders to try and work this area soon. On the 13th, MT WS investigated another dead calf in the upper Wall Creek area (FS allotment) and confirmed it as a wolf kill. WS said there was a lot of bear sign in the area but there were also tracks of one wolf traveling alone. Traps were set near the carcass and they will be run for a few days.

MT WS shot an uncollared adult male and male young of the year from the Sleeping Child pack on the 8th. MT WS located 4 wolves close to livestock pastures where there were previous losses and 2 were shot. Only one young of the year and the collared female remained. On the 9th, MT WS finished up the control work for this pack near Sula when the collared female and the last young of the year were shot. All carcasses have been accounted for and were transported to the MFWP lab in Bozeman. The WS field specialist did a great job at keeping MFWP informed and has been very conscientious about concluding this control action.

On the 1st, a livestock producer east of Red Lodge, MT reported that a yearling cow had been attacked by a wolf. Martin [MT WS] inspected the cow and determined that a bear was responsible for the injury. Trapp [MFWP] spoke with the producer about local wolf activity explained the 10(j) rules.

Correction. A dead ewe that was investigated in February west of Red Lodge, MT that was initially called a "probable" wolf kill was changed to unconfirmed after no wolves or wolf sign were ever documented in the area.

On the 7th, ID WS lethally removed a gray-colored wolf on Danskin Ridge, near Mountain Home, using fixed winged aircraft. This removal concluded that control action.

On the 7th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a ewe and a lamb on Lava Ridge, NE of McCall, ID. The depredation occurred on a Payette National Forest grazing allotment. This area was within the Hazard Lake Pack's territory, but it is unknown which wolves are responsible. Traps have been set, and after consulting with IDFG, WS’s intention is to collar and release the first wolf captured and lethally remove one wolf. On the 10th, the same band was attacked again and another lamb and ewe were confirmed as wolf kills.

On the 8th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a calf on private land in Panther Creek, near Salmon, ID. The Jureano Mountain Pack is suspected. Traps have been set with the intention of lethally removing one un-collared wolf. If B-223 or B-225 (the only members of this pack with functioning radio collars) are captured, they will be released. If B-106 is captured, his non-functioning collar will be replaced and he will be released.

On the 8th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a calf on private land near Salmon, ID. Traps have been set with the intention of lethally removing 1 wolf.

On the 11th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed an adult cow on private land near Donnelly, ID. Efforts will begin to lethally remove one wolf and possibly collar one if the opportunity presents itself.

On the 4th, WY WS confirmed 3 more calves killed by wolves in the Upper Green River drainage. As of 8/9/06, at least 12 calves have been killed by wolves in that area. In an effort to prevent further depredations, 2 adults and 3 young-of-the- year wolves have been removed, but depredations have continued. WS is trying to remove all the remaining pack members.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 29th, Trapp [MFWP] met with landowners in the West Boulder Reserve, southwest of Big Timber. Trapp answered questions about wolf ecology and state/federal regulations regarding wolves and other predators.

Hagener, Smith, and Sime [MFWP] met with MT WS [Handegard, Glazier, Hoover] in Helena on the 9th to begin work on the interagency cooperative agreement.

Hagener, Flowers, Alt, Jourdonnais, Ross, and Sime [MFWP] and MT WS [Handegard, Glazier] provided comments during a field hearing of the Montana Environmental Quality Council [a Montana Legislature Interim Committee] on the 11th in Ennis.

On the 10th, Jimenez [WY FWS] spoke to WY WS at their Eastern District Annual Meeting meeting in Cody, WY. About 20 WS specialists [including Jim Perhinger the WY WS/FWS wolf specialist] and managers attended.

Curt Mack met with local government officials, law enforcement, USFS personnel, and local citizens in the Grangeville, ID area this week to discuss the White Bird Ck. wolf pack and issues surrounding them. He also met with livestock producers at the south end of Cascade Reservoir where there has been recent reports of wolf activity.

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