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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From:               Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/28/2007

Subject:            Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 9/21/07 to 9/28/07

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.  Our last weekly [Sept. 21, 2007] contained rough estimates of the mid-year wolf population, livestock depredation and wolf control.

Monitoring

Last week, MFWP got a report of an injured and very thin black wolf wearing a radio-collar in the Rye Creek area in the Bitterroot Valley, MT.  This week during a routine MFWP wolf monitoring flight a collared black wolf (Lake Como female SW176) was found on mortality in the Rye Creek area in the Bitterroot Valley, MT.  Biologist John Vore and warden JD Douglas [MFWP] retrieved the carcass on the 25th.  The wolf was emaciated and is thought to be the wolf that was reported the week before.  The carcass was sent to the lab in Bozeman to try to determine cause of death.

Jason Husseman [IDFG] attempted to trap wolf feeding on an elk near Cape Horn, but it pulled out before he arrived to check traps.  Carter Niemeyer and Nate Borg [IDFG] are still attempting to collar wolves in the Scott Mt and Bear Valley packs.  Wolves are very mobile this time of year and it is difficult to get in front of them to trap as opposed to always being a day or so behind them.  In addition the increased human activity often bumps the now very mobile pack & pups to new areas.

Wyoming USFWS is pulling on their traps and wrapping it up for this season.  Between getting later in the year and Wyoming’s big game hunters being out if force, opportunities to trap for routine radio-collaring & monitoring are pretty much over for 2007.  The crew did a great job this summer.

Control

On the 20th, MT WS and CSKT confirmed that wolves had killed a steer calf near Ravalli, MT. Wolves were heard howling immediately above kill site and on the 21st the collared female was located immediately above kill site within a 1/2 mile. Control to remove the remainder of this pack is ongoing.  On the 25th, MT WS shot 4 of 5 members of the Hewolf Mountain Pack from a helicopter.  Three animals were recovered but the fourth wasn’t found.  The remaining radio-collared female will be removed at a later date.
On Sept. 24th, MT WS used a helicopter to shoot 4 wolves from the Sapphire pack southwest of Philipsburg, MT in response to a confirmed calf depredation on the 21st.  An adult female and 3 female pups were removed near the ranch where the depredation occurred.  Up to 11 wolves remain in the pack.  Control is now finished.

On Sept 24th, MT WS killed the collared adult female in the Fleecer Mtn pack, completing the removal of this pack.  A 4th uncollared gray wolf either dispersed or was killed unknowingly last week during control operations.  The SOS permit issued to the affected landowner was cancelled.

On Sept. 25th, MT WS used a helicopter to shoot the collared alpha female of the depredating Bearmouth pack, completing the removal of the pack.

A yellow lab was reported killed on private land in the Ninemile Valley, MT on the 26th. MFWP investigated and confirmed wolves had killed the dog.  The incident occurred around 8 am in a small field about 80 yards from the house.  The Ninemile pack consists of at least 4 adult wolves and 2 pups and is currently uncollared.

On the 22nd and 23rd, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed 2 sheep near Rock Creek, east of Highway 21, near Banner Summit on the Boise National Forest, ID.  Both sheep were killed on the 21st.   Traps were set to remove the depredating animals.

On the 25th,  ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a calf on private land on Moores Flats, east of Anderson Ranch Reservoir in ID.  A number of wolves have already been taken from this area this year and there still is an open control action to take the remaining members of this pack.  On the 27th, 2 more dead calves were determined to be "probable"  wolf kills.  Traps were and ID WS may be able to get an aircraft in the area in the next few days.

On the 27th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed 5 ewes on a Sawtooth National Forest grazing allotment near Alturas Lake, west of Sawtooth City, ID.  Due to the fact that the sheep are now several miles from the depredation site and the large number of hunters in the area, no traps were set.

On the 27th, ID WS looked at a reported depredation on Pole Creek in the Sawtooth National Forest, near Stanley, ID.  Two ewes had been killed and were determined to be "probable' wolf kills.

Wyoming continues to be very quiet with no active livestock depredations or wolf control. 

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

The comment period for the Environmental Assessment for the proposed 10j special rule and re-opened the comment period for the proposed 10j rule will close Oct 11th.  The EA and 10j proposal and instructions on how to submit comments are available at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .
MFWP attended a range rider meeting with Keystone conservation and the Boulder Watershed group on the 24th [Boulder watershed is south of Big Timber, MT].  Discussions included the summers efforts and next year’s funding. About a dozen people attended.

On the 26th, Sime [MFWP] and Jiminez [USFWS] gave presentations and participated on a panel discussion at a special symposium entitled "Social Aspects of Wolf Management" during the national conference of The Wildlife Society in Tucson, AZ.

On the 27th , Sime, Kujala, Gude (biometrician)[MFWP] and Dr. Mike Mitchell from the University of Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit presented information to the MFWP Commission summarizing the Sime/Kujala recent statewide tour giving presentations and receiving public comments at the MFWP regional citizens advisory committees, wolf monitoring strategies, and the development of public harvest strategies that would be implemented after wolves were delisted.

The Service's weekly wolf report can be viewed at 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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