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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From:               Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 8/17/2007

Subject:            Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 8/10/07 to 8/17/07

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2007 annual interagency Wolf report [covering all 2006] 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

Thanks to a public sighting report filed on the MFWP website a new uncollared pack was documented in the west Big Hole/East Fork divide.  MFWP volunteer Quinn Harrison followed up on the report and documented 3 gray adults and 3 pups.  Trapping was attempted the week of the 6th but a forest fire started near the trapline (Rat Creek fire) and traps were pulled on the 11th with no captures.

Ty Smucker (MFWP) is currently trapping to put a collar in the Ninemile pack.  There have been numerous reports of a collared black wolf, likely NW56F, in the valley but no signal has been heard for several months and the collar is assumed to have failed.

The MFWP crew has been scouting the lower Clark Fork west of Missoula all week.  Traps were set west of Superior on the 12th and on the 16th Bergh, Bassing, Harrison, and Bradley caught an adult male from the Superior pack near Dry Creek.  The Silver Lake area near Saltese was scouted but no fresh wolf sign was found, although wolves were documented in this area in May.  Numerous reports of wolves are coming in from the MT/ID divide near Hoodoo Pass and this area will also be investigated soon.  Kent Laudon and crew are currently trapping for an uncollared pack in the Twelvemile/Tamarack Creek area northwest of St. Regis.

MFWP volunteers Stefanie Bergh and Sarah Bassing finished their field season on the 17th.  They did a great job scouting for wolves and assisting with collaring operations.  Thanks for all the hard work!

Jason Husseman [IDFG] captured a pup in the Jureano Mt. pack on Thursday but released it without a collar.  He will continue trying to place a GPS collar in this pack for research purposes.

Nathan Borg [IDFG] verified reproduction in the Big Buck pack but was unable to verify how many, though sign of multiple pups was present.  He also attempted to locate the Soldier Mt. pack in several of their previously verified rendezvous sites, but was unsuccessful.

Carter Niemeyer [IDFG] continued to try to place a GPS collar in the Warm Springs pack and to locate the Scott Mt pack.  Both packs are not being very cooperative.  However the fire that was burning in Bear Valley seems to be controlled, therefore trapping operations can resume for Scott Mt. and the Bear Valley packs.

Steve Nadeau [IDFG] covered 30 miles over the weekend on horseback and found evidence of a new pack in the Stanley Basin.  Further investigation will be necessary to confirm.

Michael Lucid and crew [IDFG] continue to trap in the upper East Fork of Moose ck in the Selway Wilderness, about the only place left in the Wilderness with wolf sign that is not on fire and they are allowed to work in.  Several major fires have restricted wolf monitoring and trapping operations throughout Idaho this summer but have been particularly restrictive in the Selway area.

U.S. Forest Service in Wyoming escorted  the USFWS trapping crew behind fire lines to retrieve traps in an area where trapping efforts had to be halted because of forest fires. The WY trapping crew suspended all trapping and left the area to minimize interference with fire fighting operations. Thanks to the Forest Service for their patience and assistance. Trapping efforts are postponed until fires are under control and Forest Service fire personnel are no longer needed in the area.

Control

On the 14th, MT WS shot two wolves from the ground in the Lydia pack northwest of Kalispell, one of which was the collared animal.  Several calves had been confirmed killed between August 7 and the 11th.  A calf had also been confirmed killed earlier in the summer.  MFWP crews have also been hazing this pack and monitoring it closely since the first depredation.  Lethal control is completed.  MFWP crews may be able to squeeze another trapping effort to replace it, depending on how the rest of the fire season develops and other trapping priorities.

A wolf was reportedly killed by a livestock producer under provisions of the 2005 10j rule near Cascade, ID last week.  The incident is being investigated.

On the 11th, ID WS confirmed a wolf depredation on a Payette National Forest grazing allotment on Anderson Creek, W of Cascade, ID.  A calf was killed and it looked like 5-7 wolves were involved.  This may be the same group of wolves that depredated on cattle in the High Valley area earlier this year.  On the 14th, ID WS captured and radio collared an adult gray male wolf that was about 110 lbs.  Efforts are still underway to remove up to 2 wolves.

On the 11th, ID WS confirmed a wolf depredation on private land W of Salmon, ID.  The Jureano Mountain pack killed a calf.  Traps were set and WS captured and killed 2 black, sub-adult male wolves, one on the 13th and another on 17th.

On the 13th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed 41 sheep (34 lambs, 7 ewes) and injured another 15 sheep (8 lambs, 7 ewes) near Josephine Lake on a Payette National Forest allotment, NE of McCall, ID.  While the ID WS investigator was setting traps, the herders spotted the wolves on the side of a nearby hill and hurried back to tell WS.  WS protocol (approved by IDFG) allows WS to shoot wolves, opportunistically, if seen at or near a confirmed depredation without re-contacting IDFG.  The WS specialist stalked, shot, and killed three wolves (2 adult, black females and 1 adult, gray male).  Two more wolves (1 black, 1 gray) were seen leaving the kills by the herders while WS was removing the other 3.  All wolves were uncollared and no radio-collared wolves were detected.  A fourth wolf (adult, black male) was shot at the site on the 14th.

On the 14th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a 400 lb. calf in Antelope Creek on a Challis National Forest allotment, W. of Moore, ID.

On the 15th, an ID WS aircrew shot and killed two black wolves from the Morgan Creek pack near Challis, ID after they were involved in cattle depredations last month.  

On the 15th, ID WS confirmed that a wolf killed a calf on private land on Morris Flats, E of Anderson Ranch Reservoir, south of Fairfield, ID.  There is still an open control action at this site, so if a wolf is trapped, it will be killed.

On the 15th, WY WS rode into to remote sheep grazing allotment in the Wyoming Range near LaBarge, WY, to investigate 18 dead sheep that were suspected wolf kills. A pair of wolves were in the area last year. One of the wolves was an older female wolf that got caught in a coyote trap last winter.  The drag didn't hold and escaped with the trap.  It was later euthanized because of foot damage.  The other wolf apparently remained in the area where the sheep depredations occurred.  Control efforts are pending results of the investigation.

On the 16th, WY WS confirmed several sheep had been killed by a wolf (or possibly more) in the Big Horn Mtns, NE of Ten Sleep, WY.  WS is still investigating the total number of sheep lost in the recent depredations.  If WS locates the wolf (or wolves) it will be removed.

Research

Dave Ausband’s [Univ of MT] Idaho field crew studying alternative monitoring techniques has wrapped up for the summer.  Dave will be summarizing the results of the effort and sending a report to cooperators soon.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 14th, Sime and Kujala [MFWP] were in Billings to give a presentation at the MFWP Regional Citizens Advisory Committee.  These regional presentations are meant to introduce MFWP efforts to design public harvest strategies for wolves post delisting.  Formal public comment opportunities on an actual detailed proposal are planned.

Idaho wolf B320 was located on mortality signal east of Kooskia by the NPT during their latest flight and was investigated by IDFG.  The carcass was recovered and is under investigation.

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


Contact Us:  WesternGrayWolf@fws.gov

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