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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/26/2007

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 1/19/07 to 1/26/07

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2006 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2005] 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. Everyone is plugging away on the interagency 2007 annual wolf report [covering all of 2006] should be completed by March 1, 2007. It will follow the same format as last year- the Montana and Idaho state reports, the FWS/NPS report for Wyoming and a summary of other multi-state issues by the FWS, with concluding with tables and maps by both state and recovery area.


In early January, 2 wolves (1 pup/1adult) were caught in coyote traps near Dubois, WY. Both wolves were released on site. On the 19th, Jimenez flew a telemetry flight and located both wolves in the Dunoir Valley traveling with the Washakie Pack.

On the 20th, USFWS winter field crew located a dead wolf pup near Jackson, WY. The wolf carcass was retrieved by USFWS and GTNP personnel and the wolf was sent to the USFWS Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon to determine the cause of death but being killed by an elk is suspected.

On the 24th, an uncollared wolf was caught in a coyote trap (#3 Bridger) on a private ranch near LaBarge, WY. The trap drag did not hold and the wolf ran off with the trap. The trapper notified the USFWS. Jimenez and crew went to the area, tracked the wolf, and tranquilized a very old, gray, female wolf. The wolf had severe foot injuries from being held in the trap for several days. The wolf also had extremely worn teeth; some teeth were worn down to the gum line. Due to the severity of the injuries to its foot, the wolf was euthanized.

On the 23rd, Trapp [MFWP] snow tracked the uncollared Rosebud pack west of Red Lodge. The pack consists of a female that is in heat and a male.

Jason Husseman [IDFG] aerially darted a new wolf in the Pass Creek pack, wolf B317. He also flew in the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area east of Idaho Falls looking for wolves that have been verified in the area. None were seen or collared during their effort. Paul Frame got one last flight in for final counts and increased the count for the Fishhook pack from 2 to 6 wolves.


ID WS received several calls about wolves near livestock operations this week. On one occasion, on 25th, ID WS Wolf Specialist Rick Williamson fired several shots near a wolf to harass it from the area. The wolf was in an area where 3000 cows are about to begin calving. So far, to our knowledge, no depredations have occurred.


On the 22nd, Trapp [MFWP], Rost [MTWS], and Lance [Utah State graduate student] met with ranchers in the Boulder area to discuss the Turbo-Fladry research project. The study will be evaluating the effectiveness of Turbo-Fladry as a non-lethal tool in small areas, such as calving pastures and sheep night corrals.

USFWS winter field crew continue monitoring wolves near Jackson, Wyoming for our 8th season. Prey consumption of elk killed by wolves in early winter 2007 is: 38% cows, 24% bulls, and 38% calves. From 2000 through 2006, we located 281 carcasses of ungulates killed by wolves in winter. Prey species included: 95% elk (n=268); 4% moose (n=10); 0.7% mule deer (n=2); and 0.3% bison (n=1). Prey consumption of elk killed by wolves in winters 2000 through 2006 consisted of: 38% cows (n=100); 15% bulls (n=41); and 47% calves (n=127). Prey consumption of moose killed by wolves included 50% cows (n=5) and 50% calves (n=5).

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

The Nez Perce Tribe is seeking volunteers to assist on the Idaho Gray Wolf Project for the 2007 field season. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable field experience while working in rugged and beautiful Idaho. Work Environment: Work is conducted throughout the Nez Perce Tribe’s (Tribe) area of responsibility within the Central Idaho Experimental Population Area of Idaho, including front country (road accessible) and back country (remote and Wilderness) areas. This is a physically demanding position; extreme climate and terrain will be encountered. Volunteers may be required to carry up to 80 lbs. for varying distances over trail and cross-country conditions. Accommodations vary from cabins to back country houses to tent camping depending upon the locations of wolves and logistics. Travel is mostly by 4-wheel drive pick-up truck, ATV, fixed-wing aircraft, and foot. Work Schedule: Typically 10 days on/4 days off, though work may extend beyond the 10 days depending upon conditions, Project needs, and logistics. Duration: Expected approximately late May through September, but may be shorter depending upon access, workload, volunteer availability, and Project funding. Preference will be given to qualified applicants able to commit for extended periods of time. Compensation: Field stipend of $17/day while on duty. Includes transportation while on duty. Housing (travel trailers, USFS accommodations, and bunkhouse-style quarters) is available for non-duty days. Volunteers are covered under the Tribal Workmen's Compensation program. Primary Duties: 1) assist in locating, via ground and aerial telemetry, potential breeding packs/pairs of wolves to determine reproductive status, 2) assist in obtaining accurate counts of wolf pups at home sites, 3) assist in documenting locations of wolf home sites, 4) assist in collecting scientific data on the ecology of wolves in Idaho, 5) assist in capturing, processing/handling, and radio collaring wolves, and 6) other duties as assigned. Qualifications: 1) documented experience backpacking and camping for extended periods of time in remote settings, 2) proficiency with orienteering (use of map and compass for navigating) required, 3) good physical condition, 4) must hold valid driver's license and be insurable under the Tribe's insurance policy, 5) must be willing to comply with the Tribe's drug and alcohol policy, 6) possess the ability to get along with others in back country settings for 10-day + time periods, 7) possess the ability to communicate verbally with interested and affected publics, 8) completion of, or enrollment in college/university Wildlife, or related, curriculum preferred, 9) radio telemetry experience preferred, 10) capture, immobilizing, and handling/processing experience with wild animals preferred, and 11) experience flying in fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters preferred. Application Period: Applications will be accepted from March 15, 2007 until March 31, 2007. Applications must be received at Gray Wolf Recovery Project office no later March 31, 2007. How to Apply: Submit a cover letter expressing interest in the Project, and resume detailing educational and employment backgrounds, along with the name and contact information of 3 work-related references. Send application materials to: Nez Perce Tribe Gray Wolf Project Attn: Volunteer Program, P.O. Box 1922, McCall, ID 83638, Telephone: (208) 634-1061, Fax: (208) 634-3231, Email: jholyan@nezperce.org

On the 19th, MT WS State Director Steuber and MFWP Sime gave presentations about wolves and their management in Montana to a meeting of Montana Stockgrowers Young Stockgrowers in Helena. About 20 people attended.

Steve Nadeau [IDFG] gave the IDFG commission a presentation on Jan. 25 on statute changes required to be able to issue wolf hunting tags if wolves are delisted. The commission voted to allow up to 10 auction tags and to sell the wolf tag for $26.50. At the same time, they voted to increase the price of a mountain lion tag to the 1999 price of $26.50, and increase the price of resident black bear tags to that price as well. Mt. lion tags prices were reduced in 2000 by commission rule to try to increase harvest of lions. They also voted to increase the nonresident mt. lion and bear tag prices from $150 to the price they were in 1999, which was $256, and set the nonresident wolf tag price similarly. The state plan says that wolves will be managed similar to bears and lions, and this is the latest step in that direction taken by the commission since they classified wolves as big game in 2003. The statute language and tag prices now go to the legislature where they will be discussed and voted on during this session. Development of a species plan that would guide hunting and population management is ongoing and won’t be finished until the fall. Hunting of wolves is contingent upon the successful delisting process by the USFWS.

On the 25th, Jimenez [FWS] spoke to graduate students from Teton Science School in a phone interview. Students asked questions about wolf management, wolf ecology, and public perceptions of wolves. Bangs [FWS] spoke to them on the 26th.

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

Service Links:

Western Gray Wolf Home Page Mountain-Prairie Region Home Page

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