Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week of May 8 - May 14, 2004
NEW WEB ADDRESS - The 2003 annual wolf report is at westerngraywolf.fws.gov.
It has maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, litigation and
funding issues, and summaries of scientific studies.
Frame conducted a survey flight on May 13, to determine which packs being monitored from Kalispell in the
NW Montana recovery area are denning. The Fishtrap, Lazy Creek, Whitefish, Murphy Lake, and Kintla packs
are tending dens. Further investigation is required to tell if Candy Mountain and Hog Heaven have denned.
Great Bear, Red Shale, and Fish Creek will be surveyed on the next flight. The trans-boundary Kootenai
pack that usually dens in Canada was visiting the U.S. on Wednesday and may have denned in the NW Montana
recovery area this year, but further investigation will be required. The Spruce Creek den, which is
located five miles north of the Canadian border in the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage, was
active. This den may be important as a source for future immigrants to the NW Montana recovery area.
A flight in SW Montana on the 9th, indicated most females are localized [denned]. A pair of black wolves
was reported south of Clark Canyon Reservoir, south of Dillon, MT on elk kill.
The Nez Perce Tribe got the first pup count of the season on the 7th. Biologists Trapp and Holyan located
the Gold Fork pack's den and observed 3 black pups inside (eyes not yet open). The signal of the alpha
female was in the same area the following day, so it appears our intrusion did not result in abandonment
of the area.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
WS investigated a possible wolf killed calf just east of Lincoln, MT on the 7th. The producer saw a black
wolf leave from where a dead calf was found. There was no indication that the wolf killed the calf but had
scavenged the carcass. There are no established wolves known to be in the area and the black wolf is
probably a loner. A number of dispersing radio collared wolves have been located in this general area.
On the 9th WS confirmed that a wolf killed 9 lambs and consumed 2 of them near Hall, MT. Traps were set by
WS to try to radio-collar and release it on site. The wolf returned the next evening and consumed a 50
pound lamb that it had previously killed. Unfortunately, the wolf returned by a completely different route
and was not caught. Trapping is ongoing and is still a catch and release control action.
ID WS killed a gray colored, 2-year-old male wolf on private land during a depredation control action
morning of the 14th, from fixed-wing aircraft north of Shoshone, ID. The wolf was a member of the Bennett
Mountain pack/group. WS saved the skull for educational purposes but the hide was not retrieved due to its
poor condition. This pack has been involved in repeated depredations in that area over the past month.
The Nez Perce Tribe received a telephone message on the 13th from a rancher near Kendrick, ID reporting
wolf depredations on cattle. There are no known wolf groups in that area at this time but the investigation
Asher is bringing fladry to the Madison Valley the weekend of the 15th. The faldry will be used to help
protect sheep that are brought into the area for a weed control project in Wall Creek/Madison Valley area.
Sheep will be brought in on May 18, they will be night pastured in fladry/electric fencing, and will be
protected by both a guard dog and herder.
Yellowstone National Park's GPS collar downloads from wolves began May 1 and have been going very well.
Collars are locating the wolf every 30 min for 48 locations/day. After retrieving the first series of
downloads, NPS biologists found 3 kills over a 11 day period by walking to clusters of location points.
Two cows and a calf had been killed (last year's calf, almost a yearly now). Smith et al. are very pleased
and this technique holds great promise to help estimate wolf summer predation rates. The other downloadable
GPS collar unfortunately is on female that denned. It is 1 of 2 denning Druid females, with multiple litters
in that pack again. The data indicated she hung around the den just prior to the birth of the pups - so
the collar works fine.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Long time Kalispell, MT wolf biologist/volunteer Therese Hartman left the program to move on to bigger and
better things. Therese helped trap and radio-collar wolves, conducted many of our radio-collaring flights,
and was a huge help in the NW Montana program for the last 4 years. While a work-study student, she assisted
in the development of the MT state wolf EIS and management plan. She was co-located with Tom Meir and Carolyn
Sime in the MT FW&P Kalispell office. Last year she completed her B.S. degree at Univ,. Montana. While
at UM she continued to volunteer for wolf 'duty' in the Missoula area. Thank you for a great job and good
luck in your future endeavors.
Bangs participated in an hour long presentation/radio talk show for Agriculture Appreciation Days in Butte,
MT on the 12th. About 50 people were in the audience and a dozen stayed another 45 minutes after the
program to talk further about wolves and wolf management. Several people commented that they approved of
the Service's 10 j proposal to increase wolf management flexibility and the state's role.
Nez Perce seasonal wolf biologists Isaac Babcock and Adam Gall start work in Idaho on Monday the 17th. They
will be headed up north to begin trapping on the Big Hole pack, as well as possibly investigating the
reproductive status of other packs in that area (Eagle Mountain, Eldorado, Hemlock Ridge). Kent Laudon and
Anthony Novack return to work on the 24th.
ID F&G hired 2 biologists for their state wolf management positions. Jason Husseman and Michael Lucid
will be starting the 24th of May. Welcome aboard! Steve Nadeau did an interview with a Boise television
station on the 11th discussing the State's role and preparation for State management of wolves.
10j Amendment-Public Comment Period closed on May 10th, 2004.
The proposed experimental population 10j amendment was published in the Federal Register and at
http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/. It will likely
take several months to analyze the nearly 20,000 comments. After all the issues brought up by the public
and agency comments are reviewed and addressed, a final rule will be drafted. Decision-makers will decide
what the final rule will be and if it should be adopted. This federal regulatory process normally takes a
year from the time the draft is published in the Federal Register [March 10], but we will attempt to
develop a final rule and obtain a decision as soon as practical.
The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at
westerngraywolf.fws.gov. 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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