Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains
Mountain-Prairie Region

Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/11/2008

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 1/04/08 to1/11/08

 

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2007 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2006] can be viewed at westerngraywolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm. The 2008 report will be available by March 1, 2008.

Monitoring

Michael Lucid and Lacy Robinson [IDFG] successfully snared the alpha female of the Warm Springs pack and placed a GPS collar on her in order to enhance knowledge of this packs territory size, feeding habits, and assist in the big game research project. Lacy finalized her temporary position with IDFG and completed her modeling paper on “Predicting high use areas by wolves in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness”. Thanks Lacy for a job well done.

NPT has been unable to conduct monitoring flights since 12/11/07 due to inclement weather, hindering efforts to obtain pack counts in order to finalize numbers for 2007.

A wolf-like canid was found dead along a highway in North Dakota near Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Belfield, ND. ND Game and Fish and the Service are investigating its possible origin and cause of death.

Control

Correction- the hound killed last week was reportedly a ‘Blackmouth Curr’, apparently a smaller type hound. JUST A REMINDER- Attacks on dogs peak during the mating season [Jan-Feb] and denning [April/May]. MT WS killed 2 members of the Mussigbrod pack in the Big Hole Valley, MT on the 7th. One wolf is thought to remain in this pack and efforts are ongoing to remove it. Five domestic calves were killed by this pack between Dec. 29th and Jan. 4th.

A rancher near Hall, MT reported shooting at (and missing) a single gray wolf that was harassing cattle on the morning of Jan. 6th. He reported numerous other wolf tracks nearby. These wolves are likely members of the Willow Creek pack. The producer is especially concerned about calving season (beginning late Feb/early March) with the wolves hanging so close by. MFWP will monitor the situation and try to help haze/harass if the wolves continue to hang around.

A landowner near Superior, MT reported a pack of wolves (likely the Superior pack) close to her house. One gray wolf reportedly jumped up and rested its front feet on the top of her fence that surrounds her yard. She has 2 dogs and is concerned for their safety. MFWP documented this pack traveling close by this same house last year and put up fladry around the fenced yard. MFWP is going to look to try to replace the fladry and set it away from the existing fence.

A chocolate lab was attacked by a wolf in the Bitterroot Valley near Sula, MT the evening of January 9th. The dog was about 3/4 of a mile away from the house when it was attacked. Snow tracking indicated a lone wolf attacked it. It ran back toward the house and was attacked a second time and then made it under the porch. The owners took the dog to the vet in Missoula and while they had the dog under anesthesia and were doing surgery, it died. MFWP necropsied the dog on the 10th and determined the wounds were consistent with a wolf attack. The owners have been advised of the 10j rule. The Sula pack is known to be in that area although this may also have been a single wolf passing through.

MFWP authorized the removal of 2 wolves from the Monitor Mountain pack west of Augusta, MT. Six calves have been rated confirmed or probable killed in 6 depredation instances since January 2007. Four of the depredations occurred last winter. The new pair moved from livestock areas to den in the spring and continued to move back into the Scapegoat Wilderness area during the summer pup rearing season. This fall the pack moved back onto the East Front and were confirmed to have killed 2 calves again on November 26 and December 7. As a part of an incremental response, one wolf was killed on December 8 and two wolves were killed on December 10. The pattern of testing livestock continued and three more incidents in which cattle were run through fences occurred between December 26, 2007 and January 2, 2008. One 800-pound heifer was euthanized January 4. Monitoring of the collared wolf confirmed that the pack was routinely in the immediate vicinity of cattle during this same period. MFWP authorized removal of 2 more wolves given the depredation history of the pack, the amount of private land and livestock in the area, and the potential for future losses. The adult male and 2-3 pups will remain in the pack, unless further problems are documented.

Research

Attempts to begin routine winter helicopter wolf capture operations in Yellowstone National Park had been stymied because of bad weather. Efforts will continue.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

Bradley (MFWP) gave a talk to the Bitterroot X-Country Ski Club on Thursday, Jan. 10th, in Hamilton, MT. About 40 people attended.

On the 11th , Sime [MFWP] attended attended the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association meeting. About 75 people attended. She gave an update on delisting and development of a tentative proposal to hunt wolves when wolves are delisted and the current public comment opportunities. For more information about the proposal and to send a comment, see: http://fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/wolf/default.html. The comment period closes February 1, 2008. Public meetings on the tentative wolf proposal as well as other big game hunting seasons are scheduled throughout Montana. Contact the nearest MFWP office for a schedule or see the FWP home page under Headlines in the lower left corner.

Steve Nadeau [IDFG] traveled to Vancouver Washington on January 11th along with the Deputy Director Moore and Commissioner Trevey to give a presentation to the Washington Commission on wolf management in Idaho. Bangs [FWS] had a conf. call to answer general questions about wolves and wolf mgt. with three WA Fish and Game Commissioners on the 7th.

On January 8th, Idaho Wolf Managers met in Boise to discuss 2007 management activity, wolf status, and other issues. Present from IDFG were Steve Nadeau, Cal Groen, Virgil Moore, Jim Unsworth, Brad Compton, Jon Heggen; from Idaho Governors office Jeff Allen; from WS were Rick Williamson, Mark Collinge, and Todd Grimm; from Nez Perce Tribe Curt Mack; from USFWS was Jeff Foss, Robert Romero, Scott Kabasa, and Scott Winkler.

The Nez Perce Tribe [NPT] has hired Katrina Chandler as Office Assistant. We welcome her aboard the project. She fills the position vacated through the retirement of Mary Allen. We wish Mary all the best in her new-found leisure time and thank her for the great job she did for us from April 2005.

Doug Smith [NPS] gave a talk on the 9th, to a group at the Buffalo Ranch in the Lamar Valley, YNP; 15 people attended.

Work on the final 10j rule [related to increased flexibility to manage wolves by States with approved wolf management plans for ungulate concerns and for people to legally take wolves to protect stock animals and dogs] and the final NRM wolf delisting rule appear to be progressing on schedule. The 10j rule was scheduled for publication in the Federal Register in late January and the final delisting rule was scheduled for publication in late February.

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

Last updated: March 11, 2010