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Wolves
Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior
[www.wolfology.com]
Gray Wolf Recovery Status Reports, September 2003
From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT

SEPTEMBER 6-12, 2005
Monitoring
The wolf re-radioed by WS last week near Moccasin Lake was a dispersing Sheep Mountain female #242 that has been missing about a year.....On the 9th, Mike Ross [MT FW&P] caught the 80lb. alpha female of the Chief Joe pack. It is wonderful to have MT FW&P biologists assisting with field work! Asher had helped set traps but had a meeting that morning and missed the handling. The pack has been without a radioed member for over a year despite repeated capture attempts by darting, ground calling, and foot-trapping. Traps were pulled on the 10th because of snow and cold weather......WY WS caught two 60lb. pups near Daniel, WY on the 11th. The pups were radio-collared and released. They are in a pack of 16, 10 gray and 6 blacks, and we suspect a double litter at least. Trapping is continuing to get an adult radio, if possible. See control......Jason Husseman captured and collared two new wolves in the new O'Hara Point pack. This new pack has concentrated its summer activities north of Elk City, Idaho. The pack now has three radio-collared members.
With the help of the Nez Perce National Forest, tribal crews have been working this summer to determine the relationship between the Gospel Hump pack and observed wolves of unknown origin on the eastern edge of their territory, south of Elk City, Idaho. It is not known whether the observed wolves are part of the Gospel Hump pack, or belong to a different undocumented pack. This week, Jim Holyan captured and collared a wolf pup in what now appears to be a newly documented pack. Monitoring of this new collared wolf will be helpful in finally determining the relationship between these two neighboring groups of wolves.....Fish and Wildlife and Tribal field crews continue to investigate additional areas of suspected wolf packs. Wolf activity continues to be documented in the greater Bear Valley, however, the status of these wolves is yet unknown. Wolf activity continues to be reported in the Monumental Creek area. Evidence indicates that the Monumental pack has denned this year, however, the number of wolves or pups in this un-collared pack remains unknown. Recent reports of wolves in the upper Big Creek drainage indicate increased wolf activity in this area. This is within the Wolf Fang packs territory. Radio-contact was lost with this pack last year, however, recent evidence may indicate that this pack is still present. Additional surveys are needed to determine the status of wolves in this area......We estimate the likely number of wolves and wolf breeding pairs in 2003 will be slightly higher than last year but the rate of growth in the population is slowing. While these estimates are admittedly very rough and could change significantly once fall/winter aerial tracking with snow cover has been conducted, we have currently documented an estimated wolf population of: By recovery area- northwestern Montana- 90 wolves and 3 breeding pairs; central Idaho 362 wolves and 21 breeding pairs; Greater Yellowstone Area 295 wolves and 22 breeding pairs. By state these estimates are: Montana- 161 wolves and 8 breeding pairs; Idaho 346 wolves and 21 breeding pair; Wyoming 240 wolves and 17 breeding pairs. The total wolf population estimate for 2003 is 747 wolves and 46 breeding pairs compared to 663 wolves and 43 breeding pairs in 2002.
WE NEED HELP FROM COOPERATORS AND PUBLIC- We are currently into the trapping season, when we try to radio-collar wolves from previously unknown packs and beef up our collar coverage in known packs. Big game hunters are an important source of wolf sightings. Please report any sightings of wolf activity to the nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state Fish and Game Agency, Forest Service, BLM, Tribal, or USDA Wildlife Services office.

Control
A calf was reportedly killed in the Big Horn Mountains, east of Ten Sleep, WY on the 9th. Multiple wolves maybe in the area where a depredating wolf was shot off a sheep carcass by WS on the 5th. Trapping to collar and release will be conducted as soon as the weather dries out.....A calf was killed earlier this week [8th] on a BLM allotment immediately adjacent to private land just west of Daniel, WY [near Pinedale]. WS caught 2 pups on the 11th and they were radio-collared and released on site. The new pack of 16 is suspected of having resulted from a double litter. A couple of weeks ago 2 adult wolves [younger adult female and older male] died during a control action resulting from an earlier depredation and control action. The Daniel pack lives in open sagebrush habitat, where more than 30,000 sheep and cattle winter. If they continue to depredate they will be removed.....A calf was killed by wolves on the Diamond D [neighboring the Diamond G] Ranch, near Dubois, WY on the 8th. Two wolves have been repeatedly seen in the area and this is where the Washakie pack denned this year. Control has authorized lethal removal of 2 wolves, by either the property owner [he was issued a shoot-on-sight permit on the 9th] or WS. The pack has been involved in cattle depredations for the past several years and some pack members were involved in depredations this year.

Information and education and law enforcement
The U.S. Dept. of Justice Appellate Section filed the Federal Appellant’s Opening Brief on Western Watersheds Project v. Sawtooth National Forest on Sept. 2, 2003. The case involves the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and the Judge’s order that prevents problem wolf removal.....MT FWP Director Hagener signed the Record of Decision on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan on September 11. He selected the Updated Council Alternative (also identified as FWP's preferred alternative in the EIS). The FWP Commission concurred with the decision and approved the selection of the Updated Council Alternative as Montana's final plan.
http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf/fnl-rule/index.html
The Service sent out the completed Idaho, Wyoming and Montana wolf management plans for independent scientific peer review on September 12th. The peer reviewers are all recognized professional wolf management and scientific experts from North America. The peer review should be completed by October 31, 2003. Peer review is the next step in the process for the Service to determine if a delisting proposal is appropriate at this time.
The radio-collar from the Red Shale pack wolf that was recovered and first believed shed, had knife marks on it, indicating illegal killing. The case has been turned over to LE for investigation.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prepared a web page that has various links to state wolf management plans, information about wolf reclassification and delisting. It can be accessed at
http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf/fnl-rule/index.html
SEPTEMBER 13-19,2003
Monitoring
WY WS and the Service caught two 50 & 55lb. female pups, one gray one black near Daniel, WY on the 12th. Great job! Trapping is continuing to get an adult radioed, if possible. See control.....On the 12th, Kraig Glazier [WS] reported he was sitting in Avon, MT [NW MT] having lunch with some WS specialists/trappers from Grand Jct. CO who were here in Montana to learn about wolf stuff, and a guy walked in the restaurant and said "Are there wolves around here?" Kraig thought it must be someone who knew them and was joking but NO!- the guy just was coming through and saw some wolves and wanted to know if that was possible! The guy said he just saw 3 wolves [ad gray and 2 gray pups] cross the road just out of Avon and right where the old Halfway pack used to be. So Kraig et al. drove to the spot and howled a pup out of the woods right there. They have traps in the area to try and radio-collar a pack member.....NPT biologist Jim Holyan and volunteer Emily Babcock captured and radio-collared a total of 3 pups from the Red River pack. This pack is located south of Elk City, ID. Reports from the U.S. Forest Service, and ID Dept. of Fish and Game, over the past 2 years finally led to documentation of this wolf group. There are at least 4 adults and 4 pups present.....NPT biologist Jason Husseman and volunteer Karen Loveless captured and radio-collared 2 additional members of the O'Hara Point pack, north of Elk City, ID. A subadult female (B163) and a male pup (B162) joined male B111 as collared animals. They collared a grey female pup in the Galena pack on the 19th. ....NPT biologists Kent Laudon and Anthony Novack captured and radio-collared a male pup (B169) from a previously uncollared pack in the Slate Creek drainage northeast of Riggins, ID. This group was observed earlier in the summer with at least 2 pups. They will be known as the Florence pack.....Missing wolf male B52, from the Jureano Mountain pack, it was relocated to Fish Lake in 1998, may have been re-discovered in southwest MT. The signal was very weak and there was lots of static, so its presence has not been confirmed yet. Personnel from the MT wolf recovery program will investigate further.

Control
A sheep carcass was found north of Idaho Falls, ID on the 12th and tracks of 2 wolves were near it. The sheep belonged to the Sheep Experiment Station. The herder also reported seeing two wolves in the area. WS is trapping to try to radio-collar one of them but traps were pulled after no further wolf sign was documented. Any control action will be determined by subsequent monitoring.....A depredation occurred east of Burgdorf, ID (approx. 30 miles north of McCall, ID) involving what may be an unknown group of wolves over the weekend of the 12th-14th. Over 50 sheep were confirmed killed by wolves. Lethal control was authorized for the removal of 2 adult wolves. On Sept. 16 Wildlife Services' field agent Justin Mann trapped a pup, but it pulled out of the trap and escaped. On Sept. 17 Justin caught another pup (B168), which was radio-collared and released. Several adult wolves were heard howling in the vicinity, leading to the removal of an adult female. The control action will continue until a second wolf is removed or the depredations stop. This is the area that B45 was known to use, but her radio-collar expired last year. She was previously seen with another radio-collared wolf, identity unknown, but it was thought that this pair had never produced pups. Further field work will be conducted to determine the identities and status of the wolves in this area. The total number of dead sheep is in the 70's and 4-5 bands that are protected by dogs and herders have been hit. This group of wolves is likely the same bunch that has been killing sheep about 7-8 miles away. WS was authorized to kill this pack of 4-5 wolves.....A ranch between Deerlodge and Avon that had repeated calf depredations before the Castle Rock pack was removed, reported a possible wolf kill the 11th. There were wolf tracks by the carcass but it looked like it may have been killed [or taken over] by a black bear [hide inside out], it was classified as unconfirmed. No further problems have been reported.....Lethal control was authorized to remove 2 wolves, by either the property owner [he was issued a shoot-on-sight permit on the 9th] or WS. The pack has been involved in cattle depredations for the past several years and some pack members were involved in depredations this year. Aerial shooting is pending when weather allows.....The Daniels pack of up to 16 wolves near Daniels, WY moved into the foothills and timber and they killed two more sheep on the 15th. While investigating they found another calf that was probably a wolf kill. Sheep and cattle are being moved off the allotment and from that area and no further control is planned at this time.....WS shot a large adult grey male out of the Washakie pack on the 19th. The pack was on a Forest Service allotment when found and had been involved in several depredations this summer. This ended the control action since many bow hunters are starting to use the area.....On the 17th, WS investigated a calf carcass in Tom Miner Basin where the Chief Joe pack had killed a calf last week. The calf was not killed by a predator but was just scavenged. The collared female has remained in or near Tom Miner Basin.....A cattle rancher just east of Tom Miner Basin and north of Gardiner, MT reported his cattle had been run through several fences earlier this week, likely by the Sheep Mountain pack. On the 17th, he and another rancher found the lower part of a calf’s leg in a trail heavily used by wolves. They are continuing to ride the area to search for dead livestock. We have increased the level of aerial monitoring to help detect if there is an ongoing depredation problem.

Research
The World Wolf Congress: Bridging Science and Community [see agenda at- http://www.graywolf.ca/worldwolfcongress/wwc2003ataglance.html ] is being held in Banff Canada Sept. 25-28. The meeting is held every ten years and is attended by wolf biologists, managers, and researchers from all over the world. Northern Rocky Mountain wolf recovery staff will be presenting several papers.
The Univ. of Chicago Press is taking pre-orders for the epic all-encompassing book "Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation" Edited by L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani. 2003. University of Chicago Press. You can order from the International Wolf Center by calling 1-800-359-9653 ext 21. They should be available in October 2003.

Information and education and law enforcement
The National Wolf Awareness 2003 wolf poster is available from the Timber Wolf Alliance www.northland.edu/soei/timber_wolf.html or twa@northland.edu . It is a stunning painting of an adult wolf in forest shadows called "The Glance" by Jim Turgeon. On the back is a map of wolves in the U.S. and current accurate information on gray and red wolves in the U.S. Limited copies [please- for educators or classrooms only!] can be obtained from any of the northern Rocky Mountain wolf field offices or cooperators in Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming. Congratulations to the Timber Wolf Alliance! This is an outstanding educational poster......Niemeyer, Nadeau, and others appeared on ID Public Television on Sept. 18 as panel members on a show entitled "Focus West." The show was a forum discussing predators and their management in the west. It will air again on Sept. 21 at 7:00pm Mountain time in ID. The show can also be accessed at http://focuswest.org/index2003d.cfm .

SEPTEMBER 19-OCTOBER 3
Monitoring
On the weekend of the 20th , Frame caught 2 more grey Lazy Creek wolves in NW MT. An adult male and a male pup [52lbs] were caught radioed and released. The presence of the adult male in this pack, which was thought to contain only a pair of wolves and their offspring (yearlings and pups), means that the pack can be counted as a breeding pair toward recovery goals for 2003. The previous breeding male was hit and killed by a vehicle on highway 93 earlier this summer. Traps were pulled Sunday. Unfortunately, a dog was also captured over that weekend in a rubber-jawed trap on the Murphy Lake trap line. The owner released the dog [Golden Retriever] right away but was understandably very upset. The dog’s foot was swollen the next day but will be fine. The trap line was signed and in an area about 200 yds. from a private property line where traps had been set in 1999 but the property owner walked through the woods to the road and did not see the signs. These incidents are rare and regrettable and we strive to learn and do better to reduce the chances of this happening. We apologized for catching the dog.
A new wolf pair has been discovered near Shafer Meadows in the Great Bear Wilderness. Yearling female 271 dispersed east from the Spotted Bear Pack and was seen with an uncollared gray male.
Efforts continue to trap and radio-collar wolves in northwest Montana. Wolf numbers appear to be down, and it is more important than ever that we get reports of wolf sightings or wolf sign, so we can document the status of the NWMT wolf population.
We estimate the likely number of wolves and wolf breeding pairs in 2003 will be slightly higher than last year but the rate of growth in the population is slowing. These estimates are admittedly very rough and could change significantly once fall/winter aerial tracking with snow cover has been conducted. We currently estimate a wolf population of: By recovery area- northwestern Montana- 90 wolves and 3 breeding pairs; central Idaho 362 wolves and 21 breeding pairs; Greater Yellowstone Area 295 wolves and 22 breeding pairs. By state these estimates are: Montana- 161 wolves and 8 breeding pairs; Idaho 346 wolves and 21 breeding pair; Wyoming 240 wolves and 17 breeding pairs. The total wolf population estimate for 2003 is 747 wolves and 46 breeding pairs compared to 663 wolves and 43 breeding pairs in 2002.
WE NEED HELP FROM COOPERATORS AND PUBLIC- We are currently into the trapping season, when we try to radio-collar wolves from previously unknown packs and beef up our collar coverage in known packs. Big game hunters are an important source of wolf sightings. Please report any sightings of wolf activity to the nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state Fish and Game Agency, Forest Service, BLM, Tribal, or USDA Wildlife Services office.
Control
Two more dead sheep were found near Daniel, WY and WS confirmed them as wolf kills. Since the sheep carcasses were old ones and sheep are being moved from the area no further control was conducted. More and more cattle are being moved off allotments and into this area to over winter. A dead adult male wolf was discovered in the area where the 4 wolf pups from the Daniel, WY pack was collared earlier this summer. It is being examined by LE to determine if it is a wild wolf or related to the captured pups. Its feet appeared somewhat smaller than expected, it was ‘found’ under unclear circumstances and not reported for several days. We have removed at least 3 released captive wolves in this general area.
The Service authorized WS to kill the ‘new’ adult male in the Green River pack. He was shot near a wolf-killed calf carcass on the 29th. The female and one pup were also nearby but the male [a former Teton wolf] had been involved in previous depredations and was near the depredation site previously. Another calf and a sheep were confirmed killed by the Green River female and possibly a pup/small yearling on the 30th. The pup/yearling will be killed and the radioed female left in the area. However, if she is involved in another depredation this year she too will be killed.
Wolves north of McCall, ID are now suspected of killing nearly 100 sheep from several different bands. Control to remove another adult from the pack is ongoing. This has become a controversial issue because of the number of sheep and ‘surplus’ killing rhetoric, but overall losses appear relatively low through Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming this year. Wolf opponents held a "news conference on the state capital steps and Niemeyer did TV interviews for three Boise, ID radio stations.
The Sentinel pack was seen feeding on an adult cow on the 28th on private property and the producer hazed them with a rifle. WS investigated on the 29th and determined the cow had not been killed by wolves but was being scavenged. The pack was reportedly harassed by ranchers early in the day after they were seen ‘chasing’ calves. Trapping was conducted at the cow carcass for 2 days but the traps were pulled because the pack moved away from the area. Any captured un-radioed wolves would have been radio collared and released on site.
Research
The Univ. of Chicago Press is taking pre-orders for the epic all-encompassing book "Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation" Edited by L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani. 2003. University of Chicago Press. You can order from the International Wolf Center by calling 1-800-359-9653 ext 21. They should be available in October 2003.
As scheduled, two of four GPS collars have fallen off wolves in Yellowstone National Park. They have been retrieved and the data are interesting and led Park biologists to one unknown wolf kill. The study looks at ways to improve and estimate wolf predation rates. The remotely downloadable function did not work on these collars but data was stored onboard the collars. The other 2 GPS collars are scheduled to come off in December.
Den and rendezvous visits continue and Yellowstone National Park staff have visited nearly every den site and picked up scats for all but 3 packs so far this summer. They plan on getting to another of the last three soon. Two dens sites are too remote to access. The scats indicate mule deer have again played a role in summer food habits and that one pack utilized beaver, but scats have not been fully analyzed at this time.
Information and education and law enforcement
The National Wolf Awareness 2003 wolf poster is available from the Timber Wolf Alliance www.northland.edu/soei/timber_wolf.html or twa@northland.edu . It is a stunning painting of an adult wolf in forest shadows called "The Glance" by Jim Turgeon. On the back is a map of wolves in the U.S. and current accurate information on gray and red wolves in the U.S. Limited copies [please- for educators or classrooms only!] can be obtained from any of the northern Rocky Mountain wolf field offices or cooperators in Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming. Congratulations to the Timber Wolf Alliance! This is an outstanding educational poster.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prepared a web page that has various links to state wolf management plans, information about wolf reclassification and delisting. It can be accessed at
http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf/fnl-rule/index.html
Two wolves died (#207M, #260F), both from the Rose Creek pack that lives along the north boundary of Yellowstone Park. LE is investigating.
On October 1st , Bangs gave an evening public presentation in Salt lake City at the University of Utah School of Law. The 6-part lecture series "Wolves & People: Seeking Common Ground" is an attempt to inform the public about wolves and to review the potential status of wolves in Utah. About 125 people attended.
Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV