Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 4/5/02

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 3/31 to 4/5, 2002

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s email and web sites are back. Thanks for your patience. Please forward copies of the 2001 annual report and weekly reports to others.


See the 1999, 2000, and 2001 annual report for a map of pack locations and home ranges. The interagency 2001 annual report is available and we should begin mail distribution around April 10th 2002. This year’s annual report is excellent, great job Tom Meier!!, and thanks to all those who contributed their data.

Wolves should be searching out den sites now and will be denning later this month. Monitoring flights will be conducted to determine the number of location of denning wolves.

B116, yearling from the Goldfork pack in Idaho apparently had his radio chewed off, it was recovered this week.

Please report wolf sightings in MONTANA, IDAHO, OR WYOMING!! If outdoors enthusiasts or AGENCY BIOLOGISTS report evidence of wolves to you please pass that information along to the Service. This appears to be a record year for wolf dispersal and evidence is mounting that there are several packs and pairs that have formed that do not contain radio-collared members. We find them primarily through public and agency reports- so please help!!


On the 31st, the only sheep in the East Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho was killed on private land by the Whitehawk pack. Wildlife Services happened to be in the area and within 15 minutes confirmed it had been killed by wolves. As a result 2 members of the Whitehawk pack were removed. An uncollared sub-adult and a radio-collared adult were shot on April 1. The collared wolf had been located in the area by the RAG boxes and when examined had wool in his stomach. At the same time the pack was harassed with cracker shells and a helicopter in hopes of driving them from the vicinity. Five local ranchers were given permits that would allow a wolf to be shot if it was seen on private land. Once a wolf as taken the permits would be inactive. This permits were first issued in Wyoming in late 1999. This year permits were given to several Montana sheep ranchers after they had confirmed losses. To date no wolves have been taken under these permits.

On April 3 the Whitehawk pack returned and killed a calf on private land in the East Fork of the Salmon River. In response on April 4, 3 other pack members were killed. RAG box monitors indicated these wolves were visiting the area where the calf was killed On the 5th, a report of another calf was being investigated and if the Whitehawk pack was responsible the remaining 5 pack members (adult pair and 3 yearlings), may be killed.

Despite repeated statements by the Service that it would not be relocating many wolves and that lethal control would go up as wolf populations increase, we have been getting many calls and emails from the public who are very upset that wolves are being killed, especially wolf #224 from the Druid pack in Yellowstone. He was very visible and many people identified with him on an individual basis. This controversy will likely increase as more lethal control is conducted. One of the consequences of having a rapidly expanding wolf population is an increased number of conflicts and increased wolf control. However, given the emotional nature of wolf issues, the controversy is expected as is the potential for litigation.


The Yellowstone National Park winter predation study began on March 1 and ended on March 30. The 30-day study follows wolf packs every day on the ground and by aircraft [weather depending] to measure the predation rate and prey selection of wolves. This work has been conducted Nov.15-Dec.15 and March 1-30 for the past 5 years. This has been the worst winter weather on record for flying but ground crews are doing their best to keep up.

Asher conducted more rubber bullet training in the Paradise Valley on the 1st and put newer batteries in the RAG box in use there. She also hiked into the area where the Sheep Mountain pack had localized searching for a potential den but none was found and the wolves started moving around again. She did the same for the Chief Joe pack which has been hanging out in Cinibar and Tom Miner Basin. If the packs were cleaning out dens in "bad" locations we would fill the dens with moths balls and disturb the sites to hopefully get the wolves to den in better locations. Last year we successfully caused the Chief Joe pack to den in Yellowstone National Park rather than Cinibar Basin again.

Information and education and law enforcement

Bangs attended and gave the evening presentation at the MidWest Wolf Stewards meeting at Two Harbors, MN on the 3rd. About 70 people from the mid-west, representing MN, MI, and WI state agencies, Wildlife Services, National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Universities, Stockgrowers, and wolf conservation groups attended.

The Nez Perce Tribe’s annual and weekly report can be seen at

On the 16th of January, Montana released its draft state wolf management plan for public review and comment. The draft "Planning Document for Wolf Conservation and Management in Montana" and the Wolf Advisory Council’s "Report to the Governor" are available via MT FW&P’s website at: . To request copies call 406-444-2612.

THE ANNUAL WOLF CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD IN BOISE, ID INSTEAD OF CHICO, MT THIS YEAR. THE CONF. IS SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 23rd and 24th at the Owyhee Plaza Hotel 1-800-233-4611. CONTACT Joe_Fontaine@FWS.GOV.   Joe Fontaine (406)449-5225 x206. The agenda is attached. See to register or for more information.

The 14th Annual North American Interagency Wolf Conference

Owyhee Plaza Hotel, 1109 Main St, (in the Ballroom on the Mezzanine level)

Boise, Idaho

Monday - April 22nd through Wednesday - April 24th

Schedule of Events

Monday April 22nd

8:00 am - 4:00 pm ~ Field Trip: Dances with... Sheep?

Its spring lambing season and the Soulen sheep ranch has invited those interested in discussing issues surrounding sheep ranching in wolf country... or is that wolf restoration in sheep country? Lunch and transportation will be included. Carter Niemeyer, US Fish and Wildlife Service Idaho Wolf Project Leader, will be on hand to answer questions about the Service's role in managing wolves and livestock conflicts in Idaho. Suzanne Laverty, Northwest Field Representative, will discuss Defenders of Wildlife's wolf compensation and proactive programs. Departs from the Owyhee Plaza Hotel lobby at 8 am. Lunch and transportation is provided. Cost: $45.

7:00 - 9:30 p.m. "A Night of Wolves" Public Earth Day Event

Owyhee Plaza Hotel, 1109 Main St, (in the Ballroom on the Mezzanine level) in Boise


Join us for an evening of educational and cultural presentations featuring stories and songs of the ancient relationship between wolves and the indigenous peoples of the West, presented by Black Beaver of the Nez Perce tribe; "Wolves: A Legend Returns to Yellowstone," a documentary by National Geographic’’s Bob Landis will be followed by an update on Yellowstone wolves by National Park Service Wolf Coordinator Dr. Douglas Smith; and a unique wolf program by Colorado’’s Mission Wolf, featuring Rami, a wolf raised in captivity and "educational ambassador" for her species. Local, regional and national environmental groups will participate with displays and information. Admission: $5 adults and $2 for children 12 and under.

Tuesday April 23rd

The 14th Annual North American Interagency Wolf Conference

Sponsored by Boise State University, Defenders of Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wolf Recovery Foundation, and Yellowstone National Park

Owyhee Plaza Hotel, 1109 Main St, (in the Ballroom on the Mezzanine level) Boise, Idaho

8:00 am - 8:05 am ~ Introductions and announcements by conference coordinators, Joseph Fontaine, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Suzanne Laverty, Defenders of Wildlife.

8:05 - 9:00 am ~ The Ripple Effect. Dr. Paul Paquet, University of Alberta.

9:00 - 9:30 am ~ Status of Wolf Recovery in Southwestern Montana. Val Asher, Wildlife Biologist, Turner Endangered Species Fund.

9:30 - 10:00 am ~ Wolf Recovery in the Southern Rockies. Mike Phillips, Turner Endangered Species Fund.

10:00 - 10:30 am ~ Wolf Update for Wisconsin and Michigan. Pam Troxell, Timber Wolf Alliance Coordinator.

10:30 - 11:00 am ~ Status of Red Wolf Recovery. Bud Fazio, Team Leader, Red Wolf Project.

11:00 am - noon ~ The Status of Delisting Wolves in the Northern Rockies

Moderator: Dr. John Freeman, Boise State University

Dave Moody, Wyoming Dept of Game and Fish, Greg Schildwachter, Idaho Policy Advisor, Idaho Office of Species Conservation and Carolyn Sime, Research Biologist, Montana Dept of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Noon - 1:00 pm ~ Buffet Style Lunch

1:00 - 1:30 pm ~ Status of Wolf Recovery in Northwestern Montana. Tom Meier, Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

1:30 - 2:00 pm ~ Human Injuries Caused by Presumably Healthy Wild Wolves in Twentieth Century North America. John C. Carnes, University of Idaho; Victor Van Ballenberghe, U.S. Forest Service Northwest Research Station.

2:00 - 2:30 pm ~ Wolf Recovery in the Lower 48 States - What Happens Next?. Nina Fascione, Director of Carnivore Conservation, Defenders of Wildlife.

2:30 - 3:00 pm ~ Permit Buyout as a Partial Solution to Public Lands Conflicts. George Wuerthner, Organizer, National Public Lands Grazing Campaign.

3:00 - 3:30 pm ~ Break

3:30 - 5:00 pm ~ Panel Discussion: Delisting Wolves in Idaho

Moderator: Marsh Franklin, Idaho Public Television

Ed Bangs, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Curt Mack, Nez Perce Tribe, Dr. Ralph Maughan, Wolf Recovery Foundation, Ted Hoffman, Idaho Cattle Association, Suzanne Laverty, Defenders of Wildlife, and Senator Laird Nay, Idaho State Legislature.

6:30 pm ~ no host bar

7:00 pm ~ Banquet dinner followed by music and dancing to Idaho’s Bitter Brush Blues Band. The 2001 Alpha Award will be presented by the Wolf Recovery Foundation.

Wednesday April 24th

8:00 - 8:30 am ~ Westward-Bound Wolves: From Conflict to Resolution. Nancy Weiss, California Species Associate, Defenders of Wildlife.

8:30 - 9:00 am ~ Nonlethal Radio Activated Guard for Deterring Wolf Depredation in Idaho: Summary and Call for Research. Stewart Beck, Wildlife Research Center; Rick Williamson, Wildlife Services; Carter Niemeyer, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; John Shivik, National Wildlife Research Center.

9:00 - 9:30 am ~ Restoring the Gray Wolf to Idaho: Progress Report 2001. Curt Mack, Isaac Babcock, Keith Lawrence; Nez Perce Tribe.

9:30 - 10:00 am ~ Break

10:00 - 10:30 am ~ Wolves in Utah: An Analysis of Potential Impacts and Recommendations. Trey Simmons, T. Adams Switalski, Andreas Cahvez, Shiree L. Duncan, and Robert H. Schmidt; Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife, Utah State University.

10:30 - 11:00 am ~ Linking Social Behavior to a Population Viability Analysis for a Gray Wolf Population in the Central Rocky Mountains. Carolyn Callaghan, University of Guelph, Central Rockies Wolf Project; John Vucetich, and Miroslaw Kuc.

11:00 - 11:30 am ~ Citizen Involvement - More Than Just One Vote: Stressing the Importance of Public Education and Citizen Activism in Wolf Recovery Policy Decision Making. Sally Englehart, Wolf Recovery Foundation.

11:30 - Noon ~ The Ethics of Wolf Reintroduction. John Marvel, Executive Director, Western Watersheds Project.

Noon - 1:00 pm ~ Lunch

1:00 - 1:30 pm ~ Wyoming Wolf Restoration. Mike Jimenez, Wyoming Project Leader, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

1:30 - 2:00 pm ~ Reintroduction Obstacles and Achievements: Milemarkers of the Effort. Carter Niemeyer, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

2:00 - 2:30 pm ~ Status of the Mexican Wolf. Brian Kelly, Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

2:30 - 3:00 pm ~ Benefits of a Collaborative Approach. Emily Charoglu, Enviroissues Inc.

3:00 - 3:30 pm ~ Break

3:30 - 4:00 pm ~ Evaluating Predator Compensation Programs: Are They Effective at Increasing Tolerance Towards Predators? Jessica Montag, Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.

4:00 - 4:30 pm ~ Ecology and Behavior of Coastal Wolves. Dr. Paul Paquet, University of Alberta; Chris Darimont, Chester Starr.

4:30 - 5:00 pm ~ The Yellowstone wolves: An update. Dr. Douglas Smith, Yellowstone Center for Resources, Yellowstone National Park.

End of Conference

The Service's weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at in addition to the regular distribution.

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