Idaho Wolf Update
March 1, 1998

Information on gray wolf locations is disseminated in this format weekly, and includes the most recent location of wolves in the Idaho. Gray wolves are referenced as B-XX-Y. The B identifies the wolf as a central Idaho animal, numbers identify individuals and the Y (M or F) indicates male or female.


Summary

Wolf locations for this report were obtained from flights during 28 February through 1 March, 1998.

All wolves being monitored via radio-telemetry remain within the experimental area, most on national forest land. Twenty-three radio-collared wolves being monitored are paired or packmates. Six of 8 Idaho wolf packs in 1997 produced pups. Five additional wolf pairs have established in Idaho and may produce pups in 1998. Three of these wolf pairs include wolves that either were not part of the translocated experimental population, or, are wolves with failed radios. Idaho's known wolf population consists of 8 wolf packs, 5 established wolf pairs, and at least 3 lone males. 3 of 5 previously lone males have recently been located with other wolves during February, probably due to females in estrus and the breeding period. Wolf B-33-M is associating with wolves in Chamberlain Basin where he lingered throughout the summer and fall, 1997. Tracks suggest he is with more than one additional wolf, all of which we believe to be yearling plus wolves from the Chamberlain Pack. However, by March 1 he had left Chamberlain Basin and had traveled north of the Salmon River and West to the head of Slate Creek. Wolf B-12-M has been frequenting the Kelly Creek pack, and joined the pack for 2 weeks. He lingered near them within a mile for several days, and could not be located anywhere near the pack by March 1. Wolf B-31-M has joined wolf B-20-F north of Kelly Creek in the Chamberlain Meadows area, and was located again with her on March 1. Wolf B-02-M was located after 1.5 years within 1.5 miles of Wolf B-36-F and an apparently uncollared wolf. On March 1 he was located at the head of Trail Creek near Ketchum, Idaho.

We have now observed the Landmark pack on three occasions between December and February with 7 wolves. This pack was previously 10 in number, post- hunting season. Because we had replicate counts and good information on colors of pups in both 1996 and 1997 litters, we believe that three of the yearling ( approaching 2 yrs of age) wolves from this pack have dispersed, probably in December.

Monitoring

North of the Salmon River

Up to 10 radio-collared wolves remain north of the Salmon River. Two wolf packs and 2 to 3 wolf pairs occur in this area. One litter of 5 pups were produced this year north of the Salmon River. Distinct from anytime prior to the week of 9 February, the Chamberlain Basin pack has been located on two occasions a week apart north of the Salmon River.

Bitterroot National Forest

The Stewart Pair including Wolf B-11-F and Wolf B-07-M were located in the Bitterroot Valley in Sweathouse Creek on Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks land. As of March 1 they were located in the Bitterroot Valley between Mill and Blodgett Creek. We are monitoring their movements daily from the air and/or ground. Elk and deer densities in this area are high, and the confining of their movements over a four day period suggest they are at a kill. Both wolves have remained on national forests land during daytime and night monitoring.

Two wolf pups being held at the Hornocker Institute facility in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness have grown to more than 2/3 adult size. They continue to eat regularly and are doing well. They will be released in the Selway River drainage at the Hornocker pen with radio transmitters during early spring, 1998.

Clearwater National Forest (and Lolo National Forest, Montana)

The Kelly Creek Pack including Wolf B-15-F was located in Oriole Creek in the Fish Creek drainage, Montana. They have been recently joined and lately followed by Wolf B-12-M. Wolf B-12-M was 20 miles distant from the Kelly Creek pack on 17 February after spending more than a week with the pack. He was within a mile on 18 February.We did not locate Wolf-B-12-M on March 1.

Idaho Panhandle Forest

B-20-F was located in the North Fork Clearwater River with Wolf B-31-M in the immediate vicinity of wintering moose. Both wolves have been involved in sheep depredations. There are no known domestic sheep grazing allotments in the vicinity of these 2 wolves. As of March 1 Wolf-B-20-F was located a mile north of her previous location in the North Fork Clearwater River. She remains with Wolf B-31-M.

Nez Perce National Forest

The Selway Pack, including wolves B-5-M and B-10-F could not be locate due to weather. The Selway Pack, and their yearling pups, were located just west of the 1996 den area in upper Bargamin Creek during the February 16-February 19 flights. Wolf B-33-M was located at the head of Slate Creek north of the Salmon River. He was last located in McCalla Creek just below the confluence of Whimstick Creek, Payette National Forest.

South of the Salmon River

Up to 25 radio-collared wolves remain south of the Salmon River. Six wolf packs and 3 wolf pairs occur in this area. Five wolf pairs produced 25-27 wolf pups this year; two of these pairs also produced pups in 1996.

Payette National Forest

The Chamberlain Basin Pack including adults Wolf B-16-F , Wolf B-9-M, and pups were located in Acorn Creek in the Big Creek drainage. They were last located north of the Salmon River in Fawn Creek.

The Dorris Pair including Wolf B-22-F and her associate believed to be Wolf B-34-M were located between the West Fork of Rush Creek and Monumental Creek.

Boise National Forest

Bear Valley Pack wolves B-30-F, Wolf B-28-M and Wolf B-19-M were located in Lodgepole Creek. During the flights done 16 February-19 February, the Bear Valley Pack wolves B-30-F, Wolf B-28-M and Wolf B-19-M were located and observed sleeping above the confluence of Bear Valley Creek and Marsh Creek. They were located again on 16 February a mile north of Highway 21 along Marsh Creek.

Landmark Pack wolves B-06-F, Wolf B-08-M, were located among wintering elk and mule deer in the South Fork of White Creek near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. This is the farthest extension of their range north that we have witnessed since monitoring this pack began in 1996.

Salmon-Challis National Forest

The Jureano Mountain Pack including wolves B-25-F and B-32-M and their pups were located in Pine Creek.

The Moyer Basin Pack including wolves B-29-M and B-37-F and their pups were located in Silver Creek just east of Birdseye Creek.

The Danner Pair including wolves B-35-F and Wolf B-18-M were located in Triple Creek in the Loon Creek drainage.

We did not locate Wolf B-24-M.

Sawtooth National Forest

The Sawtooth Pack including wolves B-23-F, Wolf B-27-M and pups were located and observed above an elk kill in the Salmon River drainage east of Stanley.

The White Clouds Pair including wolf B-36-F and a gray apparently uncollared wolf were located near what appeared to be a dug-up carcass in the head of Little Boulder Creek.

Wolf B-02-M was located at the head of Trail Creek near Ketchum, Idaho.

Research

The Nez Perce Tribe has submitted a winter monitoring proposal to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for their assistance in assessing winter prey selection by wolves in four regions of Idaho. Ungulate wintering areas include the North Fork Clearwater, Panther Creek, Big Creek, and Upper Middle Fork Salmon River. Cooperators are the Hornocker Wildlife Institute, University of Idaho, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S.

Fish and Wildlife Service, and Regions 1 and 4, U.S. Forest Service. Methods to be used will be identical with these employed by Yellowstone National Park. The study period, if approved, will extend from mid-February through mid-April.

The second meeting designed to extend the discussions on predator-prey interactions and focus on wolf-livestock and human dimensions of wolf restoration was delayed until a 1998 budget was available. With the budget now in place we will attempt to identify dates to reconvene this effort.

Outreach

Evening programs to share information on the results of monitoring efforts across the State with Idaho residents in rural and urban communities are in progress. The Project Leader has given presentations during the past 3 weeks to the Environmental Science and Research Foundation Board of Directors (formerly Idaho national Engineering Laboratory), Lemhi County Agric. School and Stockgrowers, Morgan Creek Cattle Association, Soulen Livestock, and assisted film crews of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Japanese Broadcasting Corp. Meetings are scheduled for Salmon, Challis, Stanley, and Rexburg during the third week in March.

Efforts to work with houndsmen continue so that conflicts between hounds used for pursuit of mountain lions and wolves are reduced to the extent possible.

Calving began in the Salmon area during the week of 12 January. To date there have been no conflicts with wolves in calving areas. Tribe personnel will attempt to continue to work closely with area residents on the location of wolves in that vicinity.

Control

Nothing to report.








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