Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

 

From:               Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/15/06

 Subject:            Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 9/08/06 to 9/15/2006

 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

On September 9, 2006 the Utah WS State Director was contacted by a private trapper who reported that he had captured a wolf in a coyote trap set on private sheep grazing land in Box Elder County.  The ranch is located approximately 10 miles NE of Tremonton, UT and about the same distance south of the ID State Line.  WS contacted Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the USFWS LE Agent for Northern Utah and representatives of all three agencies met with the trapper and recovered the animal.  The animal appeared to be a mature male wolf (grey in color without collar or eartags) but was somewhat decomposed. It had apparently escaped with a coyote-sized trap [#3 Montgomery & large rock drag] that was believed to be stolen/missing since August 31.  FWS LE is investigating.  The wolf which appeared to be a 3-year old gray male wolf and is believed to be a disperser from the Yellowstone area, was sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Forensic lab to confirm that its identity, origin, and cause of death.

 On the 19th, Jimenez (USFWS), Lori Brown, and Doug Peterson (IDG&F) located and retrieved a dead radio collared [Driggs pack] wolf east of Victor, ID. The carcass was sent to the USFWS Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon. The lab concluded that the wolf died from natural causes.

 With the beginning of big game rifle hunting seasons in Wyoming trapping for routine radio-collaring purposes has been terminated on nearly all public lands to avoid conflicts with people and their pets.  Some collaring may continue on private lands with landowner permission and where public access is controlled.

 The Derby and Jungle fires in MT just northeast of Yellowstone Park have burned through the Moccasin Lake and Baker Mountain pack territories.  As soon as flight restrictions are lifted MFWP will attempt to locate the packs with aerial telemetry.

 On the 12th, a landowner in the Paradise Valley, MT reported finding a dead wolf wearing a radio collar on his property.  MFWP enforcement picked up the carcass which was #271F of the Mill Creek Pack and delivered it to MFWP's lab in Bozeman.  The cause of death is under investigation.

 Control

On the 10th, MT WS confirmed that wolves had killed an adult ewe sheep on private land near Fishtail, MT.  The producer had been placing the sheep into an electrified night pen at night, but one sheep was mistakenly left out.  The producers are continuing to use the night pen.  MT WS has traps set for a collar and release.  MFWP is scouting the surrounding area for potential trapping opportunities.

 On the 1st, Trapp [MFWP] non-lethally harassed the Baker mountain pack away from livestock in the West Boulder area.

 On the 8th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed 2 ewes and a lamb on a Payette National Forest grazing allotment NE of McCall near Josephine Lake. On the 9th, an adult gray female wolf was captured and killed.

  On the 9th, ID WS investigated a report that wolves had run 7 horses through a fence killing one and causing significant injuries to the rest on a grazing allotment NW of Mountain Home, ID. WS was able to confirm that wolves were in the area, but could not determine what caused the horses to run through the fences.

 On the 9th, ID WS investigated a complaint that wolves had killed a calf on a grazing allotment near Donnely, ID. The calf had been dead for more than a week and there was not enough evidence to determine how the calf died.

 On the 9th, ID WS investigated a complaint that wolves killed an adult cow on private land in Kootenai County. WS determined that the cow died of natural causes and had been fed upon by coyotes.

 On the 10th, ID WS confirmed that wolves from the Timberline/Wangdoodle Pack killed 1 ewe on a Boise National Forest grazing allotment on Rock Creek, north of Idaho City. Another ewe and a guard dog had also been killed, but decomposed to the point that a cause of death could not be determined. Traps were set with the intention of lethally removing 2 wolves. WS removed one wolf on Sept. 11 and another on Sept. 13. This control action is terminated unless additional confirmed depredation occurs.

 On the 10th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed 6 sheep and injured another 5 on private land near Crystal Butte, North of St. Anthony. The Bishop Mountain Pack may be responsible. Traps have been set with the intention of collaring and releasing a wolf and lethally removing up to 2 wolves.

 On the 11th, ID WS confirmed that members of the Gold Fork Pack killed 5 ewes on a Payette National Forest Grazing Allotment East of Donnelly, ID. Traps have been set with the intention of lethally removing 2 un-collared wolves, however, if B-130 is captured, she will be recollared and released.

 On the 13th, ID WS confirmed that members of the Lick Creek Pack killed 9 ewes near Bear Saddle on Rapid River. IDGF authorized the removal of up to 5 un-collared wolves. WS anticipates using a helicopter next week to perform this control action. During the past 3 weeks, WS has confirmed 43 sheep killed by this pack, and the producer is still missing more than 100 sheep that are presumed dead.

 On the 13th, ID WS lethally removed a juvenile, gray, female wolf from a Boise National Forest allotment North of Idaho City.  This action concludes this control action unless more confirmed depredations occur.

On the 14th, ID WS confirmed another 5 ewes killed on Lava Ridge. Traps have been set to collar and release a wolf, and to remove one wolf. It’s speculated that there are only 2-3 wolves involved in the depredation.

WY WS confirmed a calf was killed by wolves on the 9th and another calf killed on the 14th near Farson, WY. This summer, at least 18 calves have been killed by wolves in this area. WS has removed 1 adult male wolf and will continue to attempt to remove the remaining pack members believed to be 3-4 adults and one pup.

On the 8th, WY WS confirmed a calf was killed by wolves near Pinedale, WY. The calf had been killed several days earlier and so far no wolves had returned to the area. We will monitor the site closely to see if wolves return or cause further depredations.

On the 8th, WY WS confirmed a calf killed by wolves from the East Fork Pack near Dubois, WY. This is the first calf killed in this area and livestock will soon leave the allotment as big game hunting season has begun. If possible we may try trapping/collaring after deer season closes.

On the 9th, WY WS confirmed a calf killed by wolves on private land west of Meeteetse, WY. Traps were set and W.S. captured and radio collared a pup. Trapping will continue through the week. It is not clear yet if this is a new pack.

On the 13th, WY WS confirmed a 2-year old heifer killed by wolves west of Cody, WY.  Livestock are beginning to leave the allotment but we will monitor the area closely.

Research

Discussions with Dr. Mark Atkinson, wildlife veterinarian with MFWP indicate that there is virtually no chance Echinococcus eggs can be inhaled from infected canid scat, so a respirator is not required when handling died wolf scat.  However, care [thorough washing of hands] should still be taken to avoid possible accidental ingestion of eggs.

 Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 13th, Jimenez spoke to group of Swedish biologists near Cody, WY. The group is visiting the U.S. to speak with the WYG&F and NPS bear management staff and USFWS wolf staff. 

On the 11th, representatives from FWP attended a meeting of an interim legislative committee. They presented information and answered questions about wolf management, diseases, interagency coordination, and funding. At the same meeting, citizens working to develop the Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Program (reimbursement) presented their work and requested legislative support to launch the program. Speakers included representatives from Montana Stock Growers, Montana Association of Counties, and Predator Conservation Alliance. 

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