Wyoming Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report
From: USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM
WYOMING WOLF WEEKLY- Dec 21 through Dec 31, 2009
Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website (http://fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/management/wolf/default.html) and Idaho Department of Fish and Game website (http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves). All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Annual Report is available at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .
Delisting Litigation Status
A hearing on the preliminary injunction request was held in Federal Court in Missoula, MT on August 31. Oral arguments were heard from the plaintiffs, U.S. Department of Interior, Montana, and Idaho. On September 8, the Federal Court denied the preliminary injunction motion filed by Defenders of Wildlife and others to stop the 2009 regulated gray wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana. However, in issuing his order, the judge indicated that his preliminary review of the overall delisting case raised questions about Service’s approach of conferring ESA protections to a “significant portion of the range” of a species, as opposed to designating the entire species as a threatened or endangered species. A hearing date for oral arguments has not been set, but is expected to be soon after legal briefs are completed in late January 2010.
Telemetry flights will be ongoing throughout the first part of January to confirm the number and composition of wolf packs in Wyoming. Official wolf population estimates will be published in the 2009 Annual Report. Preliminary counts for Wyoming (outside YNP) estimate > 200 wolves in >30 packs (19-21 breeding pairs). Total known wolf mortality (outside YNP) for 2009 is 35 wolves (control = 30; unknown or under investigation = 5).
Idaho: Wolf hunting season is still open in parts of Idaho with a statewide quota of 220 wolves. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission extended the wolf hunting season until March 31 in units where quotas have not been reached. For the most current harvest status information, call 1(877)872-3190. The IDFG website that summarizes wolf hunting in Idaho can be viewed at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/wolf/quota.cfm
The 2009 wolf hunting season in Montana had a statewide quota of 75 wolves and closed on November 16th. Licensed hunters harvested 72 wolves. Details of the Montana hunting season can be viewed at http://fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/management/wolf/default.html
Summary: Most wolves (78%) were opportunistically harvested by hunters who were primarily hunting elk orelk/deer in combination. Once the general season opened onOctober 25, the pace of wolf harvest was steady and averaged about 20 wolves per week. The seasonclosed statewide on Nov. 16 when quotas were nearly filled in WMU 1 and WMU 2 and the quota inWMU 3 had already been exceed by one wolf.
Most wolves were harvested by hunters who reported hunting primarily for elk or elk/deer in combination. From the deer/elk telephone harvest surveys in 2007 and 2008, FWP learned that roughly 5-8% of deer/elk hunters who hunted in those two years reported seeing at least one wolf while hunting deer and elk. The vast majority of those observations occurred during the 5-week general deer/elk season.
On 12/31/09, the USFWS investigated a complaint of 4 wolves chasing young horses on private land NE of Jackson, WY. Rubber bullets were issued to the ranch manager to harass wolves from the area.
Official livestock damage estimates will be reported in our 2009 Annual Report. Preliminary estimates show that 20 cattle, 195 sheep, and 7 dogs were recorded as confirmed wolf kills in Wyoming in 2009. Two additional cattle and 2 sheep were recorded as probable wolf kills and > 2 cattle and 1 guard dog were injured by wolves. Eleven packs and one individual wolf were involved in livestock depredations.
Table 1. Confirmed livestock killed by wolves in WY: 2000 - 2009.
|# of wolves controlled||2||4||6||18||29||41||44||63||46||30|
Figure 1. Number of wolf packs and number of wolf packs involved in livestock depredations in Wyoming from 2000 through 2009.
Cattle: Eight packs were involved with at least 1 cattle depredation.
Sheep: Three packs (Big Horn, Black Butte, and Dog Creek) were responsible for all of the195 confirmed sheep depredations. The Big Horn Pack consisted of 3 adults male wolves and all 3 wolves were removed in control actions. The Black Butte Pack consisted of 2 adults and 6 pups. Both adult wolves and 4 pups were removed. Six adult wolves and 6 pups made up the Dog Creek Pack. Five adults were removed.
Nothing to report at this time.
Law Enforcement and Related Activities
A radio collared female wolf (#655f) dispersed from the Pinnacle Peak Pack near Jackson, WY in September 2008. On November 11, 2008, the USFWS located the carcass of wolf #655f west of Pinedale, WY. The dead wolf was sent to the USFWS Forensics Lab in Ashland, OR to determine the cause of death. The wolf had an injured front foot probably due to a gun-shot wound, but died from ingesting a plastic eartag used for identifying cattle. The plastic tag perforated the wolf’s intestinal wall and the wolf died from internal injuries.
Outreach and Education
Nothing to report at this time.
To request an investigation of livestock injured or killed by wolves, please contact the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services at (307)261-5336.