Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Weeks of February 8 - February 21, 2003
NEW WEB ADDRESS - See westerngraywolf.fws.gov/
for maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, and summaries of
The Red Shale Pack (14 wolves) has been sighted on the east front of the Rockies west of Choteau. This pack
spends most of its time in the North Fork of the Sun River, but apparently travels across the front ranges
to the east side. There hasn't a pack of wolves on the east front that wasn't eventually eliminated because
of chronic cattle depredations, so we hope these wolves remain in the wilderness.
The Nez Perce Tribe hired Isaac Babcock and Jon Trapp to conduct winter searches for suspected uncollared
packs. Four areas are being searched. An unradioed pack of 10-11 wolves was found in the Morgan Creek
area north of Challis, ID, An unradioed pack of 3-4 wolves was found in upper Lolo Creek near Kamiah. The
Slate Creek area north of Riggins and the upper reaches of the Boise River are still being surveyed.
Isaac Babcock is in the Big Creek area now, helping with the Univ. Idaho wolf/lion/ungulate research
program and Jim and Holly Akinson. Radio contact with the Chamberlain Basin pack was lost a year ago and
Isaac is attempting to trap and radio a pack member.
On the 7th, the Nez Perce pack couldn't be located anywhere near the Jackson, WY area. Over the weekend
graduate students with the MSU elk/wolf study in the middle of Yellowstone National Park and the pack's
normal territory reported ""their back..."
Yellowstone National Park biologists caught 8 wolves in 4 packs on Feb. 12th & 13th. Geode (2 caught
including alpha female and beta male), a Druid sub-group (2 young males), Cougar Creek (2 males including
alpha male), and Nez Perce (2 pups, one male one female). Good job.
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. We thank everyone for their
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
Wildlife Service's investigated a report of a possible wolf-killed calf on the 10th several miles north
of Red Lodge, MT. A wolf might have been there but there was not enough evidence to know what happened. On
about the 18th a rancher closer to Red Lodge who had depredations last year reported a suspected wolf kill
but not enough evidence was left to confirm anything. The rancher reported seeing two gray wolves harassing
a mare/foal about the same time frame and fired shots over their heads and scared them away. On the 19th
he reported another probable calf kill and preserved the evidence. Wildlife Service confirmed it was a wolf
kill on the 20th. Three wolves are believed to be in the Red Lodge pack but up to 5 were seen last summer
when a cow and other calves were killed by that pack. Lethal control for up to 5 wolves was authorized.
In Meeteetse, WY a calf was confirmed killed by 2 wolves. The radio from the Grey Bull river pack was
located in a distant location. WS was authorized to kill up to two wolves in the immediate area of the
A rancher in the Paradise Valley legally shot two uncollared wolves [out of 3] [2-yr-old male and female
pup] in his cattle/calving pasture on the 12th. He had a shoot-on-sight permit for up to 2 wolves that were
on private land and near his livestock. LE investigated and confirmed that all the permit conditions had
been met. Control on the Mill Creek pack [now down to 2-4 wolves] has ended unless other depredations are
confirmed. Asher met with a neighboring rancher and fencing contractor to investigate building a more
secure night pen for his sheep.
The Taylor Peak wolves [2 adult and 2 pups- 2 radioed] harassed a mule in the Madison Valley on the 17th.
Asher and WS investigated on the 18th and wolf tracks were abundant. The mule had a deep cut on its leg, a
wire cut, that it probably received while dogging the wolves. The rancher was provided cracker shells and
a receiver in case the wolves came back. The pack then went further down the valley and got into a fight
with several dogs through a kennel fence but none of the dogs were injured.
The rancher who has lost several llamas to wolves in the Ninemile Valley reported that a pair of wolves
have been seen hanging around the area on several occasions recently. The llamas reacted to the presence
of the wolves, and she is concerned there will be trouble. Attempts may be made to haze the wolves, or to
trap and collar them. They appear to be a splinter group off the Ninemile Pack. The collared Ninemile
wolves seem to be staying higher up in the valley. Volunteers from the Univ. Montana will receive rubber
bullet training and might respond if the problem persists.
WS confirmed that a calf was killed by 2 wolves on private property north of Mackay, ID on the 15th.
Another calf carcasses found 3 days previously was classified as probable and one from 10 days ago was
mainly consumed but a possible wolf kill. No radioed wolves were found and snares were set in an attempt
to collar a wolf. On the morning of the 18th a 2-3 yr-old male gray wolf was seen in that vicinity and it
was shot by WS that afternoon. It had calf hair in its stomach. A second wolf had been reported but aerial
searches on the 18th and 19th did not locate it. Control is terminated unless other depredations are
Tom Meier et al. are finishing work on for the 2002 annual interagency wolf report. The 60 page draft was
completed, and sent to more than 30 reviewers. The report will be finalized by March 3. Approximately 1000
hard copies are distributed, and it will also be available online in March.
Jimenez completed the 2002 Progress Report on wolf/elk interactions on state managed feed grounds in
Wyoming. The 11 page report covering the past three years of field can be obtained at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Fontaine was on a detail to help with the Partners for Wildlife Program in Washington D.C. Feb 10-22.
Meier checked out a report of a possible road-killed wolf near Olney MT but it turned out to be a large
On February 12, Niemeyer met with representatives of Defenders of Wildlife, the ranching community, the
medical profession, the insurance profession, a state senator and others in Tuscon, Arizona, to discuss
and develop an insurance model that could resolve rancher/wolf conflicts and possibly provide potential
solutions to rural West ranching community and environmental problems. An abstract of the concept will be
presented at the April Interagency Wolf Conference at Chico. The first meeting was very productive and all
participants identified problems to be resolved that will help in the modeling process.
On February 19, Niemeyer and Mack met with 40 ranchers, BLM and Forest Service representatives in Grangeville,
Idaho. During the 4-hour presentation, the group was informed about the wolf recovery program, the Final
Rule, reclassification and delisting. Niemeyer presented two slide series on recognizing wolf depredations,
protecting kill sites and applying non-lethal tools to ranchers. Mack gave an update on wolf biology, pack
activities and wolf population dynamics in Idaho Three Wildlife Services personnel were in attendance and
ranchers were encouraged to communicate wolf sightings and depredations to the management agencies. Attendees
were cordial, appreciative and felt that the program was very informative. BLM set up this outreach
Smith talked to about 25 students form the British Columbia Institute of Technology on the 18th. On the
22nd he will talk with a tour group from the International Wolf Center in Mammoth.
On the 11th Bangs, talked to about 30 students at an UM natural resource policy class. That afternoon he
discussed analyzing public comment on a wolf delisting proposal with the Content Analysis Team with the
U.S.D.A. Forest Service in Missoula, MT.
The CENTRAL ROCKIES WOLF PROJECT is pleased to announce that registration has begun for the WORLD WOLF
CONGRESS 2003 - BRIDGING SCIENCE AND COMMUNITY, to be held at the Banff Centre (Banff, Canada) from
September 25-28, 2003. Please visit www.worldwolfcongress.ca
for complete information.
Call for papers: Papers are now being accepted for the 2003 North American Interagency Wolf Conference,
April 8 - 10, 2003 at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, MT. The theme this year is wolf/ungulate relationships.
Please submit a one page single spaced abstract which includes your full contact information, affiliations,
and authors, by email to Joseph Fontaine at Joseph_Fontaine@fws.gov.
Please submit a digital picture related to your research or topic to include in the agenda and on the
website. We can also scan images sent by mail. Registration for the conference will begin November 1, 2002
and you may contact Suzanne Laverty at SLaverty@defenders.org
for details. The registration secure website is
The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at
www.r6.fws.gov/wolf. 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 or Internet - ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV
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