Idaho Wolf Update
March 1999

Gray wolves identified in these updates are referenced as B-XX-Y. The B identifies the wolf as a central Idaho animal, numbers identify individuals, and the Y indicates male (M) or female (F).

Monitoring

North of the Salmon River

Continual inclement weather has curtailed monitoring efforts for wolves north of the Salmon River throughout the winter months.

Panhandle, Clearwater, and Lolo National Forests

The Snow Peak pack including alpha wolves B-20-F and B-31-M remain in the upper St. Joe and North Fork drainages. The collar of male wolf B-31 is suspected to have failed. During the later part of February and first part of March, this pack has traveled much of the upper St. Joe and North Fork Clearwater River drainages. The pack was located in the Moose City area on 20 February, and in the upper St. Joe River west of Simmons Peak on 6 March.

The Kelly Creek pack including alpha wolves B-15-F and 9013-M have most recently been located along Kelly Creek downstream from the confluence of Cayuse Creek. Due to inclement weather, monitoring flights for this pack had to be suspended for much of November through February. This pack was most recently located on 20 February and again on 6 March. An unfortunate incident occurred on 16 February when the Kelly Creek pack killed four hunting hounds that were tracking a mountain lion. This is the third instance, in Idaho, of wolves attacking and killing hunting hounds during the winter. Under current Final Rule provisions, no compensation is available for the loss of hunting hounds killed by wolves. The Recovery Program will increase efforts to effectively communicate with hounds men and women to elevate the awareness of wolf presence and the potential for wolf/dog interactions within active wolf territories.

The Big Hole pack including alpha wolves B-11-F and B-07-M were most recently located along tributaries of Lolo Creek between Lolo Hot Springs and the mouth of the South Fork of Lolo Creek.

Lone wolf B-52-M has not been located since last fall.

Nez Perce National Forest

The Selway pack has most recently been located from the upper Bargamin Creek drainage, east to the headwaters of Red River.

South of the Salmon River

Payette National Forest

The Chamberlain Basin pack including alpha wolves B-09-M and B-16-F have spent the majority of the winter within the Big Creek drainage, tributary to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. During the last two weeks in February, the Chamberlain Basin pack traveled across the basin for the first time this winter to the Main Salmon River. They returned to the Big Creek drainage by mid March were they remain to date.

The Thunder Mountain pack including alpha female wolf B-22-F and her mate of unknown origin have spent most of the winter traveling within Marble Creek and surrounding tributaries to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. On two occasions the Thunder Mountain pack was located on the east side of the Middle Fork around the Loon Creek drainage.

Boise National Forest

Lone wolf B-51-F, a yearling wolf relocated from the Moyer Basin pack in response to livestock depredations last summer, has traveled a considerable distance south of her relocation site. Since late February, she has traveled almost the entire length of the South Fork of the Salmon River from its mouth on the Main Salmon River, south to near Stolle Meadows at its headwaters. Her travels have taken her from the Nez Perce, across the Payette, and into the Boise National Forest.

Wolf B-33-M continues to move widely. During October and November, he spent time in the Middle Fork of the Salmon. During January, he was observed twice with one other wolf and concentrated his movements from the north end of Bear Valley north to around Landmark.

Salmon-Challis National Forest

The Jureano Mountain pack including alpha wolves B-25-F and B-32-M continue to travel through much of their established home range. The pack remains on the move traveling through winter range including foothills west of the town of Salmon, breaks of the Main Salmon River from the town of North Fork downstream to the confluence of Panther Creek, and the lower end of Panther Creek. Two subadults dispersed from this pack this fall. Yearling male wolf B-41 traveled north and was hit and killed by a vehicle along U.S. Highway 12 near Lolo, MT. Female wolf B-45, missing since last fall was located near Baker, Oregon on 3 February. She continued to travel west into the Blue Mountains where she was located within the Middle Fork of the John Day River on 12 February. She remained within the Middle Fork of the John Day and surrounding drainages, just north of the town of John Day until she was captured and returned to Idaho on 26 March. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Game captured B45 using a net gun fired from a helicopter. She was then flown to Idaho, where Nez Perce Tribal biologist released her at the edge of the Selway Bitterrrot Wilderness.

In late March, the Jureano Mountain pack attacked and killed a livestock guardian dog south of Salmon, ID. Although it is impossible to completely recover the loss of this valued dog, The Defenders of Wildlife have provided the landowners with a new trained guardian dog to help compensate for this loss. This was the fourth instance of wolves killing dogs, the first time wolves killed a guardian dog, and highlights wolf/dog interactions as a growing concern in Idaho.

The Moyer Basin pack including alpha pair B-29-M and B-37-F continues to use areas surrounding the upper Panther Creek drainage including the Moyer Basin area, upper Silver and Morgan Creek drainages, and Camas Creek. Subadult male wolf B40 dispersed from this pack in mid February. He was relocated on 23 February after depredating on a new born calf near Salmon Idaho (See Control section). By 6 March he traveled over 100 straight line miles and rejoined the Moyer Basin pack.

The Twin Peaks pack including alpha wolves B-35-F and B-18-M have spent most of the winter in winter range of the upper Loon Creek and Warm Springs Creek drainages.

Sawtooth National Forest

The Stanley Basin pack including wolf pair B-23-F and B-27-M continues to travel throughout Stanley Basin. Pack memebers have been loosely associated through the winter months with the pack fragmenting into at least three smaller groups. Members of this pack travel along winter range of the main Salmon River from below the mouth of the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River, north of Stanley, Idaho, to Champion Creek near the town on Obsidian, Idaho. Two collared wolves from this pack, B-49-M and B-61-F have been missing for the past two months.

Lone wolf B-28 remains within the Stanley Basin pack's territory, near Stanley, Idaho.

The White Cloud pack including alpha female wolf B-36-F continues to concentrated their movements within winter range along the East Fork of the Salmon River. Two pups from this pack were helicopter-darted and collared in response to suspected depredations on new-born calves on private ranch ground. Although it was hoped that the capture and collaring effort would encourage the pack to move away from private property, the pack has not altered their movement patterns substantially, and continue to use private and adjacent public lands. Recovery Program personnel and landowners are monitoring this situation closely and, so far, no further depredations have been documented.

Research

The Idaho Wolf Recovery Program is initiating a cooperative effort to investigate wolf/livestock interactions on the Diamond Moose grazing allotment within the Jureano Mountain wolf pack's territory. The study was conceived to help explain a higher than normal unexplained cattle loss on this allotment. The study will be undertaken to: 1) better document the extent of wolf caused livestock losses, 2) estimate detection rates of wolf killed livestock, and 3) evaluate effectiveness of wolf management actions. The study will be a cooperative effort among many interested agencies and organizations including the Nez Perce Tribe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Services, Salmon Challis National Forest, Diamond Moose Association, Lemhi County Cattle and Horse Growers Association, Idaho Cattle Association, Lemhi County Extension Office, The Defenders of Wildlife, and the University of Idaho.

Outreach

Recovery Program staff continued coordination and outreach efforts with cooperators and interested and affected agencies and private individuals including U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Cattle Association, Wolf Education and Research Center, Lemhi County, Lemhi County Cooperative Extension Office, and individual livestock producers. Project personnel and cooperators presented at the Couer d'Alene chapter of the Audubon Society in Couer d'Alene, Idaho; The Wolf Education and Research Center in Winchester, Idaho; and the Americorp's Salmon Corps in LaGrande, Oregon.

Control

In mid February, B40 (a dispersing male Subadult wolf from the Moyer Basin pack) attached and killed a new born calf on private ranch land just north of Salmon, ID. The Defenders of Wildlife will compensate the livestock producer for this loss. This wolf was helicopter-darted and relocated to the Southfork of the Salmon River. Within two weeks B40 had returned and rejoined the Moyer Basin pack, however so far, has not depredated on livestock.

Idaho wolves B-34-M and B-54-F were lethally controlled in response to continued depredations in the Big Hole country of northwestern Montana. Wolves were confirmed to have killed two calves in two separate instances in this area during the latter part of March. Because monitoring flights did not detect the presence of collared wolves in the area, the offending wolves were thought to be uncollared wolves of unknown origin. Multiple depredations, the assumption of uncollared wolves, and resulting difficulty to resolve these depredations were factors leading to the decision to lethally control these wolves. The identity of these wolves was not determined until the control action was completed.

B34 was originally captured as a pup from the Petrie pack in Canada and released in Idaho during 1996. He traveled throughout much of central Idaho, traveling on occasion with sibling wolf B-35-M and adult female Petrie pack member B-36-F. B34 was difficult to track because of a weak collar. His signal was lost over a year ago, and his whereabouts were unknown until his death on 31 March. B54 was a yearling female wolf born to the Jureano Mountain pack in 1997. She was relocated to the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness during August 1998 during a control action implemented when this pack depredated on livestock. Her signal was lost shortly after relocation and her whereabouts remained unknown until she was killed in the Big Hole. B34 and B54 were paired and she was pregnant with six pups at the time of her death.








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