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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 3/09/2007

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 3/2/07 to 3/9/07

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. The interagency 2007 annual wolf report [covering all of 2006] should be posted on the FWS website early next week.


Jason Husseman [IDFG] assisted ID WS on looking for wolf sign and trapping/snaring effort near Ellis; he also retrieved the carcass of B305 with the Assistance of Rick W. and officer C. Wilkie.

On March 7, Holyan [NPT] met with residents north of New Meadows, ID that had reported hearing at least 2 wolves howling near their residence. Holyan confirmed wolf presence (3-4 sets of tracks) and provided information on minimizing potential wolf-human, wolf-dog, and wolf-livestock concerns. This area is part of the (former?) Hazard Lake pack's territory; most of which were removed via lethal control in 2004 and 2005.

Jimenez and crew [FWS] completed their 2007 winter helicopter capture efforts on the 6th. They
collared 18 wolves in 7 different packs near Jackson and Cody, WY. In addition to VHF radio collars, Argos GPS collars were also placed in each of the 7 packs for cooperative research projects with Grand Teton National Park, University of Wyoming, and the WYG&F Dept. Many thanks to pilots Dave Stintson (Sky Aviation), Mark Duffy (Central Helicopters), Leading Edge Aviation; Sarah Dewey (GTNP) and Jim Pehringer (WS) flying as spotters; and Susannah Woodruff and Dylan Taylor handling/collaring wolves.


MT WS confirmed a newborn calf was killed by wolves on the 6th, west of Wisdom, MT in the Big Hole Valley. Four or five wolves appeared to be involved and are likely members of the uncollared Mussigbrod pack. Four calves were confirmed killed by this pack last spring and early summer and one wolf was removed. Trapping conditions are currently poor so collaring is not a feasible option at this time. Calving season is just beginning in the area and potential for further conflict is believed to be high. Elk migrate out of this area in the winter and don't return until spring. MFWP requested WS to remove up to 2 wolves from this pack and a 45 day shoot-on-sight permit was issued to the landowner.

ID WS received a call late on the 4th from a rancher near Ellis, ID who believed wolves had killed one of his calves. WS investigated the complaint on the 5th. The rancher had placed a tarp over the calf carcass to preserve the evidence, but a wolf or wolves came back and pulled the calf carcass out from under the tarp and consumed most of it. WS found a fresh wolf track at the scene, but there was not enough left of the carcass to confirm that wolves had killed the calf, so it was deemed a "probable" wolf kill. Traps were set in an effort to collar and release a wolf and a wolf was captured, but it pulled out of the trap as the WS employee approached. The unsuccessful trapping attempt seemed to have one positive outcome in that the wolves appear to have left the area. This might be wolves from the Morgan Creek pack, which currently has no radio-collared animals.

On the 8th, ID WS investigated a complaint that wolves killed a calf on private land near Darlington, ID. There was not enough evidence to confirm the depredation, but WS did determine that it was "probable" that wolves killed the calf.
On the 4th, WY WS confirmed a pet dog collie was killed on private land by wolves near Daniel, WY. It was 125 yds from the house.


Liz Bradley and Kent Laudon [MFWP] attended Arc-view GIS training in Helena on the 1st.

Yellowstone Parks’ late winter predation study is ongoing. They report that it is a strange winter so far, kill rates are up compared to early winter (expected) but there are so far an unusually high number of carcasses for so early in the study. In other words wolves are feeding on carrion more and ones they killed. There is hardly any snow this year so that might mean poor forage conditions. Bison in Hayden and Pelican valleys are looking thin too, starting to drop one by one and the wolves are just waiting or finishing them off. Marrow on the carcasses the Park has collected so far looks terrible- further suggesting the possibility of a poor nutrition year. Pack numbers are down from early winter study, as is typical due to dispersal and wolf mortality. Drs. Rolf Peterson and Dave Mech will visit the Park this month to help their graduate students with their research programs in Yellowstone National Park.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

WOLF DELISTING HEARINGS- Open houses [3-5PM] and hearings [6-8PM] were held on March 6th in Boise, ID [about 240 people attended]; the 7th in Pendleton, OR [about 90 people attended]; and on the 8th in Spokane, WA [about 160 people attended]. An additional meeting is being scheduled for Cody, WY in mid-April. The public comment period on the delisting proposal was extended and will now end on May 9th. See http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov for further information.

IDFG commissioners Power and McDermitt, along with Director Groen, Jim Unsworth, Brad Compton and Steve Nadeau attended the 6 hour open house presentations by USFWS on wolf delisting in Boise on the 6th.

Brooklyn Baptiste (Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee member), Keith Lawrence (Nez Perce Tribe Wildlife Program Director), and Curt Mack (Nez Perce Tribe Wolf Project Leader) attended the USFWS wolf delisting proposal meeting in Boise on March 6. Mr. Baptiste presented the Tribe's comments to the USFWS panel.

Volunteer Opportunity- Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks; GRAY WOLF CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAM; MFWP is seeking volunteers to assist with the Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Program for the 2007 field season. For more information on the Montana Wolf Program visit www.fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/wolf.

Steve Nadeau gave a presentation on Idaho wolf management to about 150 wildlife biologists at the Idaho Chapter of The Wildlife Society meetings in Pocatello on Tuesday. Steve also gave a presentation to the Fish and Game Commission on Thursday on Idaho wolf management.

Bangs was a guest presenter at a journalism class at Univ. Montana on the 9th. About 20 students attended and asked questions at a mock news conf.

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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