Idaho Wolf Update
April 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).

The Idaho Wolf Recovery Program is gearing up for another busy summer. Although denning status for all Idaho packs has not been determined, initial aerial breeding pair surveys indicate that all 12 collared packs may produce pups this year. We strongly suspect all nine wolf packs south of the Salmon are denning, while additional investigations are needed to determine the breeding status of the three packs north of the Salmon. Capturing and collaring efforts were initiated 1 May and monitoring crews will be in the field 1 June. The Wolf Recovery Program has an ambitious agenda this year monitoring reproductive status and collaring not only members of 12 known collared packs, but also investigating reliable reports of uncollared packs that may also produce pups this year.

Four wolf packs: Jureano Mountain, Moyer Basin, Stanley Basin, and White Cloud are showing signs of establishing summer homesites within active livestock allotments again this year. Livestock producers are fearful that increased number of wolves, including uncollared dispersing wolves, may increase wolf depredations on livestock. Although always hopeful, the Idaho Recovery Program is gearing up to respond to depredation concerns. This year, as outlined in the Final Rule, 45-day lethal take permits will be available, under certain circumstances, to livestock producers who suffer continued wolf caused livestock losses on public (U.S. Forest Service or BLM) grazing allotments. Issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the 45-day take permits will be authorized after control measures by Wildlife Services fail to stop confirmed wolf depredations. Once issued, lethal take permits will allow the livestock producer and his/her designees to kill a wolf caught in the act of depredating (wounding or killing) his/her livestock on public livestock grazing allotments. For more information about this new permit please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (208) 378-5347.

Monitoring

North of the Salmon River

Panhandle, Clearwater, and Lolo National Forests

The Snow Peak pack including alpha pair B-20-F and B-31-M continues to concentrate their movements within the upper St. Joe drainage. On 7 April B20 was located within the Red Ives Creek drainage. On 14 April, she was located in the lower end of the Dry Creek drainage, just southeast of St. Regis, Montana. This is a the first time she has been located is this area and the farthest (approximately 8 straight line miles) location for this wolf into Montana. She returned to Idaho by 24 April were she was located within the upper St. Joe River drainage along Simmons Ridge. Although we have not been able to detect denning behavior from initial aerial breeding pair surveys to date, we assume this pack will raise their second litter of pups this summer.

The Kelly Creek pack including alpha wolves B-15-F and 9013-M continue to travel within the Kelly Creek drainage. Their movements have generally shifted upstream, from winter range to summer range, during the month of April and have been located from Hanson Meadows upstream to the headwaters of the North Fork Kelly Creek along the Idaho and Montana border. Although breeding pair surveys have not detected denning behavior for B15, we suspect this pack will raise pups again this year. For the past two years, B15 has not been as attentive to the den as other alpha female wolves; accounting for the difficulty in detecting denning behavior from our aerial surveys.

The Big Hole pack including alpha wolves B-11-F and B-07-M continue to use tributaries along the south side of the Lolo Creek drainage from Mill Creek upstream to Lolo Hot Springs. Although we have not been able to detect denning behavior, we are hopeful this pack will produce a second litter of pups this year.

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

Wolf R-132, a two-year old male born to the Washiki pack in Wyoming, dispersed into Idaho where he depredated on sheep near the town of Leadore (see Management and Control section). He was relocated along the Selway River within the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness on 4 April. On 7 April, he was located in Paradise Creek, a headwater tributary to Bear Creek, approximately 10 miles east of his relocation site. By 14 April he had traveled south approximately 15 miles where he was located in Bad Luck Creek, a tributary to the Selway. By 24 April he reversed his line of travel back to the north traveling approximately 37 straight line air miles to the lower end of White Sands Creek drainage, a tributary to the Lochsa River, near Powell, Idaho.

Nez Perce National Forest

The Selway pack continue to travel throughout much of their territory. This pack was located just south of the Red River guard station southeast of Elk City on 7 April. On 17 April, they were located in the headwaters of the Selway River. Most recently, they have been located twice in the Bargamin Creek drainage since 24 April. Although this pack has not produced pups since 1996, we are hopeful they will raise their second litter this year.

South of the Salmon River

Payette National Forest

The Chamberlain Basin pack including alpha wolves B-09-M and B-16-F has moved from low elevation winter range along Big Creek to the higher elevation summer range of Chamberlain Basin. This pack was first located in Disappointment Creek on the northeastern side of Chamberlain Basin on 2 April, and subsequently, has been consistently located within the eastern portion of the Basin. Aerial surveys indicate B16 is denning.

The Thunder Mountain pack including alpha female wolf B-22-F and her mate of unknown origin continue to travel within the Marble Creek and surrounding drainages, as they have for most of the winter. Although this pack remains on winter range we suspect B22 is denning.

Dispersing female wolf B45 continues to travel extensively after her relocation into Idaho. B45 dispersed as a yearling from her natal Jureano Mountain pack last fall. She traveled west across Idaho and into Oregon where she was located on 3 February near the town of Baker, Oregon. She continued to travel west into the Blue Mountains and eventually settled into the Middle Fork of the John Day River area just north of the town of John Day, Oregon. On 26 March of this year, she was captured and relocated along the Lochsa River back in Idaho. Since her relocation she has traveled mainly south crossing the Lochsa, Selway, and Salmon rivers. She continued south up the South Fork of the Salmon to the confluence of the Secesh River which she followed to the west. She was most recently located in the Little French Creek drainage north of McCall, Idaho; approximately 110 straight line air miles from her relocation site.

Boise National Forest

B33 has concentrated his movements within the Landmark pack's territory from just east of Landmark, Idaho to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. We suspect that his mate is a Landmark pack female as he has localized his movements around the Landmark pack's den site for much of April. We are fortunate and hopeful that having this collared wolf associated with the Landmark pack will give us a valuable opportunity to assess the status of this pack and to once again track this pack in the future.

Salmon-Challis National Forest

The Jureano Mountain pack including alpha wolves B-25-F and B-32-M, on several occasions during the month of April, have extending their travels south of their established territory to include Salmon River tributaries on the west side of the valley from Williams Creek to Iron Creek. Most recently, the subadults were located in Iron Creek while the adults were farther north and separated between Napias Creek and Beaver Creek, tributaries to Panther Creek. We suspect that B25 is denning.

The Moyer Basin pack including alpha female B-37-F have most recently concentrated their movements within upper Silver Creek and Camas Creek drainages. Alpha male wolf B29 was found dead in the upper Panther Creek drainage on 31 March. His carcass was shipped to the National Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon. Results of the autopsy were inconclusive and his cause of death remains unknown. We suspect that B37 is denning and are hopeful that the death of B29 will not affect rearing and survival of the pups.

Subadult male wolf B40 dispersed from this pack in mid February. He was relocated to the South Fork of the Salmon River on 23 February after depredating on a new born calf near Salmon, Idaho. By 6 March he had traveled over 100 straight line miles to rejoin the Moyer Basin pack. Shortly after his return, he and another male sibling, B47, left the pack traveling together south crossing tributaries to the Middle Fork of the Salmon, along the east side of the river. They were most recently located up Little Loon Creek.

B-51-F, the yearling wolf relocated from the Moyer Basin pack in response to livestock depredations last summer, traveled approximately 120 straight line air miles south from her relocation site within the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness to the headwaters of the South Fork of the Salmon River over a 7 month period from August 1998 to March 1999. From mid March to mid April, she traveled approximately 70 straight line air miles to the east, back to her natal Moyer Basin pack's territory. Although, so far, she has not been located associated with another collared pack mate, she has stayed within the Moyer Basin pack's territory since her return and we assume has interacted with other pack members. She was most recently located in the headwaters of Camas Creek.

The Twin Peaks pack including alpha wolves B-35-F and B-18-M have most recently concentrated their movements within the Warm Springs Creek drainage. This pack is denning.

Sawtooth National Forest

The Stanley Basin pack including wolf pair B-23-F and B-27-M, after being fragmented for much of the winter, have rejoined and are concentrating their movements most recently in the southern end of Stanley Basin between Obsidian and Sawtooth City were we suspect B23 to be denning. Missing male wolf B49 has rejoined the pack, and female subadult wolf B38 has been missing for the month of April.

Adult wolf B-28-M and yearling wolf B-61-F joined in early April and have traveled together for the remainder of the month. They have concentrated their movements along the Salmon River between the mouth of the Yankee Fork and Thompson Creek. They have concentrated their movements most recently within the Slate Creek Drainage.

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, where we suspect they are denning.

Research

Nothing new to report

Outreach

Recovery Program staff continued coordination and outreach efforts with cooperators and interested and affected agencies and private individuals. Program Staff participated and presented at the annual spring meeting of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association in Salmon, Idaho; and the Interagency Wolf Recovery Conference in Pray, Montana. The Idaho Wolf Recovery Program sponsored annual spring outreach meetings with Custer and Lemhi County Cattle and Horse Growers Associations. Program Staff also participated in a presentation for the Wolf Education and Research Center in Boise, Idaho.

Control

On 31 March, Wolf R132 attacked and killed five new born sheep on a private ranch near Leadore, Idaho. R132 was a dispersing 2 year old male wolf born to the Washiki pack near Dubois, Wyoming. R132 continued to move west crossing the Lemhi Mountains into the Pahsimeroi Valley. He was helicopter darted on 3 April in Little Morgan Creek near the town of May, Idaho; approximately 40 miles west of the depredation site. He was relocated on 4 April along the Selway River within the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.








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