From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/07/2007
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 8/31/07 to 9/07/07
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. Some previous information omitted from the past couple of weekly reports is updated here.
MonitoringOn Sept. 1st, an adult gray female wolf ~4-5 years old weighing 90#'s was captured and collared near Morgan Gulch in the Northern part of the Gravelly Mtns in SW MT. This wolf is not a breeding female, MFWP will monitor this new radio to see if there are more and how many.
FWP biologist Vanna Boccadori has been monitoring the new collared wolf in the Fleecer pack which was captured by WS on Aug. 23rd after a calf was confirmed killed. When captured, the wolf was found to have an old injury to her right front leg from unknown causes and did not appear to be able to use the leg at all. She was caught by her left foot. Over the past 2 weeks the wolf has not moved more than a mile from the capture site, has stayed close to cattle, and has not been found with any other wolves. On the 5th she was found very close to where she was captured and on the morning of the 6th the landowner reported that her cattle were stirred up in that same area. Due to the fact this wolf is injured, does not appear to be very mobile, and has been hanging tight in the cattle, FWP requested WS to euthanize her.
FWP has recently received several reports of 2 gray wolves in the Graves Creek drainage north of Lolo Creek. On the 6th, FWP volunteer Quinn Harrison scouted the area and confirmed tracks of 2 wolves. Trapping may be attempted later this month.
Ty Smucker finished up his seasonal position with FWP this week and is
headed off to work in Ecuador for the next 8 months. Ty also defended his
masters thesis at the University of Montana on the 7th. Ty has been a great
asset to the program and we thank him for all his hard work.
Congratulations Ty and good luck!
On 8/18 Laudon, Boyd, Dwinnell, Levell and Maier (MFWP) captured a pup from the newly identified Mineral Mountain Pack NW of St. Regis. The pup was too small to collar and released unharmed. On 8/24/07 they captured and collared a yearling female from the Mineral Mountain pack.
On 8/27 Laudon, Levell, and Maier initiated a trapline for the Ashley Pack. That trapline is still open and operated by Boyd and Levell.
On 9/4 Dwinnell, Levell, and Maier have begun scouting an area east of lower Hungry Horse Reservoir following a report of 5 pups and 3 adults.
Dave Hoerner (Hoerner Aviation) and Laudon conducted regular monitoring flights on 9/1, 9/3 and 9/5. Wolf 272 from the Spruce Creek pack (aka Nettie pack) was located with his collar on mortality mode on 9/3 in the North Fork, Canada about 6.5 miles north of the US/Canada border. Laudon, Boyd, Chris Jarvis (US Border Patrol) and Tim Gardner (US Border Patrol) investigated. The collar was found to be chewed off by other pack members and was located at a rendezvous site. This pack is no longer collared.
During the past week NPT crew #1 followed up with capture operations on the Selway pack and managed to radiocollar a second pup (the pup that was trapped but not collared the previous hitch; B355-M). The pup that was collared previously (B356), was located a considerable distance away from where it was captured. In addition, a 7th pup, this one gray, was observed. This crew also made a one day survey effort, hampered by fire closure, to search for the Magruder pack; limited wolf sign was located.
NPT crew #2 investigated the area where B349 was recently radiocollared by Wildlife Services and 2 other wolves were lethally controlled; tracks of 2 wolves were located and further efforts will be made to determine whether this group reproduced this year, although a new fire has resulted in access restrictions. B327, the GPS radiocollared wolf in the Gold Fork/Orphan area, was ground tracked; sign and reports suggested that there are multiple wolves associated with B327, including pups, though no audio or visual confirmation of reproduction was made. Thirdly, searched around the Cloochman Saddle/Josephine Lake area where 4 wolves were recently controlled, but the Wildlife Services' field agent subsequently heard 5 wolves howling. Due to road/trail closures for fires only a limited area could be investigated.
NPT crew #3 attempted to survey the area where B320's carcass was recently retrieved; little area could be searched due to extensive private property in the area and a lack of permission to access it. Local residents' sightings suggest a minimum of 4 black adult wolves remain, but reproductive status is unknown. Also, confirmed a new pack between Kooskia and Elk City, ID. Four pups were observed here on the prior hitch and B342 (radiocollared by Wildlife Services) was located with the pups (2 observed this hitch) and 2-3 other adult wolves. This pack is called Pilot Rock. Reproduction was confirmed in the O'Hara Point pack when tracks of adults and pups were observed north of Elk City. At this point this pack will not be considered a breeding pair.
Curt Mack [NPT] conducted a flight (8/27) for the GPS radiocollared wolves and a few other packs: B327 (Gold Fork/Orphan) was located near Scott Valley and B205 (Packer John) was located in the drainage where this pack's rendezvous site has been located.
USFWS crew ended trapping efforts in the Gros Ventre/Togwotee Pass area as Big Game hunting opens. Trapping efforts were hindered by forest fires and bad weather. If possible, the crew will continue trapping & radio collaring later this month in the Gros Ventre drainage.
On 9/2/07, WY WS captured and radio collared and yrlg pup in the Gooseberry Pack.
ControlMT WS confirmed two sheep killed on private land NW of Jordan, MT on August 21st. Wolf-sized tracks were found even though this area is over 200 miles from the nearest known wolf pack. MFWP authorized lethal control removal and a shoot-on-sight permit was issued to the landowner. A second suspected depredation was also investigated (10 sheep) on a nearby ranch but not confirmed because the carcasses were old and decomposed. MT WS spotted two wolf-like canids [one gray and the other light brown] from the ground on the 22nd ~8 miles SW of the sheep depredation but were unable to get a shot. That sighting further suggested that, like last year, these depredations might not have been caused by wild wolves. Just before Labor Day weekend a dark-colored young adult female wolf-like canid was killed nearby in a snare that had been set by MT WS for routine on-going coyote control. The snare had a break-away lock that didn’t release. The animal’s carcass is being examined by the MFWP lab. Because of the distance of this area from known wild wolves, the number and color of the wolf-like canids seen this year, and last year’s depredation by a confirmed domestic wolf in this area, MFWP authorized lethal control for any remaining wolf-like canids.
On the 22nd, MT WS investigated and confirmed 5 yearling cattle had been injured by wolves southwest of Drummond, MT on a federal grazing allotment. Two of the yearlings appeared to have been attacked sometime in the last couple weeks and 3 others were injured more recently. The cattle had run through some fencing and mixed with a neighbor’s cattle so the exact time and location of the attacks is unknown. The Bearmouth pack has been known to frequent the area where the incident occurred and is believed responsible. MFWP authorized WS to kill 1 adult wolf and an SOS permit was issued to the permittees. On the 24th, MT WS shot an adult male wolf on Harvey Ridge southwest of Drummond. Control is now finished on the Bearmouth pack and SOS permits have been cancelled. MFWP personnel will be monitoring the pack in the coming days and trying to haze/harass any wolves that are still around livestock. MT WS saw 3 pups in this pack during their flight yesterday.
On the 25th, Greame McDougal [MT WS] investigated and confirmed a 600 pound calf as being killed by wolves in the Tepee creek area. This is the same area we had problems last year and removed members of the Freezeout pack. Tepee Creek is near the Freezeout and the new Horn Mountain territories so at this point we don't know who was involved. WS did not hear any of the radio collared wolves in the area during their investigation. MT WS shot an uncollared gray wolf on the 5th in the Long Creek area which was a member of the Freezeout Pack. He saw two wolves, the one he shot and the collared member of the Freezeout Pack. These wolves were in the process of trying to kill a domestic calf. The control action for the Centennial is over and the SOS permits have been cancelled.
A calf was reported killed by wolves on private land in the Big Hole valley
on Aug. 29th and was confirmed by Wildlife Services on the 31st. The
Pintler pack was believed involved. FWP authorized WS to remove 1 wolf and
issued an SOS permit to the livestock producer.
On 8/21, ID WS captured and killed an adult gray, male wolf on a Payette National Forest allotment west of Cascade where they confirmed a depredation on cattle last week..
On 8/21, ID WS confirmed that wolves from the Packer John pack killed 12 lambs and 9 ewes and injured another 25 ewes on private land between Smith's Ferry and Round Valley. On 8/22, WS shot and killed an adult, gray female wolf at the depredation site.
On 8/22, ID WS confirmed that wolves from the Jureano Mountain pack killed a calf on private land near Salmon. On 8/23, WS captured and killed a sub-adult, black male wolf near the depredation site.
On 8/22, ID WS confirmed that members of the Phantom Hill pack killed a ewe and severely injured a Great Pyrenees guard dog (that will probably die) in Anderson Creek in the Sawtooth National Forest not far from Ketchum. Another Great Pyrenees guard dog is missing and may be dead.
On 8/23, ID WS confirmed that a wolf attacked and injured a yearling heifer on private land just outside of Cascade. This rancher has had numerous confirmed wolf depredations since Memorial Day. On June 28, WS captured and collared B-327 on this ranch. The most recent attacks have occurred at night when B-327's collar (a GPS collar) is not transmitting a signal, so we are not sure if he is the culprit. Traps have been set since the last depredation two weeks ago.
On 8/23, ID WS investigated a report of several wolves chasing cattle on private land east of Bonners Ferry near the Montana border. WS saw multiple coyotes, but could find no sign of wolves on or near the property.
On 8/25, ID WS captured and killed an adult, black male wolf on Anderson Creek on the Payette National Forest west of Cascade. This is the second and last wolf allowed to be killed under the control action authorization.
On 8/25, ID WS captured and killed a sub-adult, gray female wolf from the Steel Mountain Pack on the Boise National Forest. They were involved in a depredation on sheep last month.
On 8/28, an ID WS aircrew found the four members of the Falls Creek pack in a band of sheep on private land on Brockman Creek, north of the Grays Lake NWR. WS sent personnel in to see if the wolves had killed anything. WS found and confirmed one ewe and one lamb as killed by wolves. From the depredation site, WS was able to call in and shoot an adult, gray male wolf.
On 8/28, ID WS confirmed that a wolf attacked and injured two calves on private land on Morris Flats, east of Anderson Ranch Reservoir. There is already a control action in place at this location.
On 8/28, ID WS confirmed that members of the Carey Dome pack killed three lambs on Payette National Forest land on Lava Ridge, NE of McCall. On 8/31, an adult, gray male wolf was captured and killed to complete the control action.
On 8/30, ID WS confirmed that wolves injured a calf on BLM land between Salmon and Challis. There is already a control action in place at this location.
On 8/30, ID WS confirmed that wolves from the Jureano Mountain pack killed two adult cows on FS land near Salmon. WS has already lethally removed three wolves from this pack within the last couple of weeks. Efforts are underway to remove two more.
On 9/2, ID WS confirmed that wolves from the Galena pack killed a buck sheep that was on a grazing allotment on Champion Creek in the Sawtooth National Forest near Stanley.
On 9/2, ID WS confirmed that members of the High Prairie pack killed 3 lambs and a ewe on private land on House Mountain north of Glenn's Ferry. This is the third depredation this pack has been tied to this year and two wolves have already been removed from the pack.
On 9/6, ID WS investigated a report that wolves killed a calf on private land near Moore. While there was not enough evidence to confirm the depredation, WS did determine it was "probable".
We (ID WS) just confirmed that the Lemhi pack killed 3 heifers (1 on State land/2 on private land) near Leadore. Traps are being set.
On 9/7/07, ongoing control efforts were completed when WY WS removed 1 adult male, 1 yearling female from the Gooseberry Pack,1 yrlg female from the Carter Mtn. Pack, and 2 wolves in the Upper Green River Pack.
ResearchNothing new to report.
Information and Education and Law Enforcement
On the 5th, Sime and Kujala [MFWP] were in Kalispell to give a presentation at the MFWP Regional Citizens Advisory Committee. They gave a similar presentation in Missoula on August 29th. 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.
On 9/6 and 9/7/07, Jimenez (USFWS) took Assoc. Press reporters in to the field to discuss wolf monitoring efforts in Wyoming.
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