Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

 

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/11/98

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 9/5-9/11, 1998

 

Monitoring

Packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana areas appear to be in their normal home ranges.

In Yellowstone (9/11) both Washakie wolves were located in the Park. one was by the SE arm of Yellowstone Lake were it has been for months. The other which has been missing for weeks was found along Shosone Lk. All 5 Soda Butte wolves were along Yellowstone Lake. Nez Perce was by Bridge Bay in the center of the Park. #16 and 6-7 pups were back in the Park. Druid pack was in Hayden Valley.

The Nez Perce Tribe is trapping and radio-collaring wolf pups in several Idaho Packs.

The Service's field crew on the Diamond G ranch found fresh wolf sign (2-3 wolves) along the Long Creek Road when they first got to the Dunoir on Sept 2. Both a black and a grey colored wolf have been reported. No radio-collared wolves are known to be in the area but on Sept. 11 a black uncollared wolf was seen by a Service biologist near a reported "den". Ravens were also seen in the area. It will be searched for possible kills and potential trapping sites. The crew will continue to search and trap the area in and around the Diamond G until Sept. 16th or so. The crew examined a possible wolf den. While the hole was big enough for wolves, the chamber was a little shorter (94") than would be expected. The den is where wolves hung out this spring and had some coyote scat and bones around it. It didn't look like it been used to raise wolf or coyote pups this spring but we don't really know what it was used for. Howling did not locate any wolf pups or adults in the Dunoir area. No wolf depredations have been reported but a large grizzly bear killed a 1500 lb. bull and was seen chasing other cattle. Wolf scats with red and black cattle hair have been found but it is unknown if scavenging or depredation was the origin.

After Bangs and Niemeyer visited the Diamond G ranch on August 26 it was obvious why the signals from radio-collared wolves were often picked up strongly in the Dunoir Valley. The upper end of the valley is flanked by two huge long rock walls. They would funnel ground radio signals into the center of the valley (and ranch house) no matter where the wolves might be in the general vicinity. This could be the reason that ground tracking seemed to indicate that the wolves were often close to ranch buildings.

 

Control

Control (trapping) is being attempted to relocate a few more of the Moyer Pack in central Idaho because of several previous cattle losses.

The White Cloud pack (pair with 9 pups) south of Stanley Idaho that killed 5 sheep several weeks ago moved into a remote area. No control will be attempted unless further losses occur.

 

Research

Nothing new to report.

 

I&E

Please help with wolf monitoring efforts by reporting suspected wolf observations. Reclassification, and the resulting increased management flexibility that would result from a threatened status depends upon the number of documented breeding pairs. PLEASE REPORT WOLF SIGHTINGS ASAP. THANKS!!

The Service's two wolf biologists positions in Lander, WY have closed. Because of the large volume of applications, selections will likely not be made until November 1998.

The GS-9 biologist position is being advertised (announcement #DD0897PN) and the GS-7 technician should be advertised by Sept. 14. The applications and information can be reached at www.usajobs.opm.gov The jobs will only be advertised on the OPM register since they are both term positions. Information was mailed out to everyone who previously contacted the Service about the WY jobs on Sept. 11.

Final oral arguments on the Diamond G Ranch court case were scheduled to be heard on September 9th. Apparently the Court was busy on other issues and the case has been postponed for another couple of weeks.

The newest book by Nichols Evans, who wrote mega-bestseller "The Horse Whisperer" has just been released. "The Loop" is a story about people along the East Front of Montana and their reaction to the return of wolves. It should raise the profile of the wolf program somewhat.

The Service's weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://www.r6.fws.gov/wolf in addition to the regular distribution.

Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or Internet-ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV