NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2003 annual wolf report is at
http://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.
The Nez Perce Tribe’s field season has been completed. We thank
biologists Kent Laudon, Adam Gall, Isaac Babcock, and Anthony Novack for
another outstanding year of data collection. Our sincerest appreciation to
the volunteers that helped out; Anastacia Kampe, Mischa Connine, Janeen
Hetzler, Jennefer Donovan, Tyler Hollow, Jonathan Derbridge, and Doug
Preliminary information from this field season seems to indicate that
the wolf population in ID is still growing, although our population
estimate for '04 has not been completed. To date, at least 50 known packs,
potential pairs, and areas of suspected wolf activity have been
investigated, resulting in the documentation of 35 breeding pairs
(including 2 in the MT portion of the Central Idaho Experimental
Population Area [CIEPA]), a minimum of 112-124 pups, and the discovery of
9 new packs (3 other areas of high likelihood of pack activity). The
number of breeding pairs and the number of pups counted are all-time highs
for the CIEPA. Nez Perce Tribal crews documented 23 breeding pairs,
accounting for 73-81 of the pups recorded. The remainder of breeding pairs
and pups were noted by IDFG and/or WS personnel. Six of the new packs were
detected by the Nez Perce Tribe wolf team, 2 by IDFG, and 1 by WS.
Documented mortalities were also a record high for the CIEPA in 2004:
25 wolves were lethally controlled, 5 were illegally killed, 3 died as a
result of other human causes, and 5 died from unknown causes.
More wolves were captured and radio-collared in Idaho in 2004 than in
any previous year: Twenty-seven wolves were caught during the helicopter
capture operation in January (25 new and 2 recaptured), and 36 were
trapped (33 new and 3 recaptured) over the spring-fall field season. Nez
Perce Tribal personnel trapped/darted 21, Wildlife Services 7, IDFG 5, and
FWS 3. Not all of the wolves trapped were fitted with radio-collars- some
were pups too small to collar at the time of their captures.
Frame finished up the field season and headed back to Alberta to finish
up his M.S. thesis. On the 1st, Frame retrieved the collar of a recently
trapped Spotted Bear pup (MT, #333M) that had been on mortality. The pup
was found dead and the case is under investigation. That was the only
collar in that pack, so we have lost contact with it.
Idaho wolf B140, an approximately 2-year-old member of the Moyer Basin
pack, was found dead on the 6th. Her remains were collected by IDFG wolf
recovery project personnel. Her body will be sent to the Forensics Lab in
Ashland to determine the cause of her death.
Asher and Ross collared a pup in the Freezeout pack in SW MT but within
a few days the chewed off collar was retrieved. On the 6th,
they collared another pack member, and hopefully its collar will stay on.
Trapping for monitoring on that pack ended for this year.
Wolves from the now 12 member [3 wolves were killed last month] Big
Hole pack in MT killed another calf Sept 29th. WS was
authorized to remove up to 3 more pack members.
WS removed 2 members of the 7 member Mocassin pack on the 28th.
The pack had killed a calf on a Forest Service allotment the week before.
WS tried to remove 2 members of the Sheep Mountain pack and all the
Lone Bear pack several times but they were both in thick timber.
Interestingly on the evening of the 6th, the Sheep Mountain
alpha male was south of Dome Mountain just north of Gardiner, MT, and the
next morning he was with the Lone Bear female and 2 other adults, nearly
40 air-miles to the north. On the 8th, they were still together
in the Lone Bear territory and WS removed an uncollared wolf with them.
Control is ongoing. We suspect that since they are both without mates
because of multiple livestock depredations and subsequent agency control,
they are probably ‘dating’. If so, the Sheep Mountain male is unlikely to
return to the Sheep Mountain territory. Leaving that pack without any
radioed members. He was already slated for removal because of
Rick Williamson, WS Wolf Specialist, captured a pup in Copper Basin on
9/30/04. Two wolves are now radio-collared in the area, and should be
beneficial in helping to monitor this pack in an area of intensive
Twenty weaned calves [around 150 lbs] were reportedly smothered in a
corral in the Madison Valley last week. The following night the cattle
broke through a fence. WS investigated and found no sign that any type of
predator was directly involved. The producer had immediately buried the
calves so they could not be examined for possible wounds [apparently none
were evidence when they were discovered in the morning]. Another landowner
in the valley reported seeing a group of wolves over a week before and
local speculation is that wolves were somehow involved. However, it turns
out a couple of black bears had been hanging around and actually tore a
door off a shed. At this point in time no wolf pack is known to be in that
area and no evidence of wolves was discovered by the WS investigation- so
it is unknown what may have spooked the calves.
WS investigated a report of a dead cow near Eureka, MT. It was nearly 3
weeks old but WS was surprised when they examined it. It had evidence of
bite marks and they suspect wolves were involved. However, cattle were
moved from this allotment and no control action is warranted.
On the 6th, WS confirmed 1 calf was killed by wolves in the
Upper Green River drainage on USFS allotment and 1 calf was killed in the
Wyoming range near Daniel, Wyoming. We are attempting to remove the
So far during the 2004 season, approximately 40 cattle, 5 sheep, and 1
dog have been killed by wolves in Wyoming. Five more cattle and 5
additional sheep were recorded as probable wolf kills. Three horses were
attacked by wolves but none were killed. In response to these confirmed
depredations 19 wolves were killed in agency control actions, including 2
killed by private landowners operating on their private land under Service
shoot-on-sight permits. Three other wolf mortalities are under LE
Nothing new to report.
Information and education and law enforcement
WY seasonal biologist, Jon Trapp was hired by the state of Montana to
their state wolf management field person in Red Lodge, MT. Jon left the
Service’s WY wolf field position on Oct 1. Idaho tribal seasonal biologist
Kent Laudon accepted the MT FWP position in Kalispell. The state will fill
one other position in Dillon and possibly another Helena in the near
Doug Smith rode into 4 outfitter camps just north of Yellowstone
National Park to discuss wolves and elk research in the Park on the 4th.
The back-country outfitters were concerned about the effect of wolf
predation on elk and its potential effect on their businesses.
On the 1st, Bangs gave a presentation to the Western
Literature Assoc. annual meeting in Big Sky, MT. About 20 people attended.
WY state field supervisor, Brian Kelly attended a meeting the MT Public
Lands Council in Glasgow on the 1st. The group reacted
favorably to the proposed wolf 10j regulations that would increase state
Carolyn Sime MT FWP and Bangs were interviewed for an article in
Governing Magazine with publication anticipated in November.
Sime, Asher, Ross met with landowners in the Columbus MT area on the
On the 8th,. Bangs was on NRA radio discussing how hunters
provide lots of food for large predators and scavengers, including wolves,
during the big game rifle hunting season. There are hundreds of tons
[reported hunter harvest about 14,000 ungulates annually] of ‘left-overs’
provided by hunters to predators in the Greater Yellowstone area alone and
as a consequence, wolves in Montana almost stop hunting for themselves
during and just after the 5-week long big-game rifle hunting season.
The Service's weekly wolf report can now also be viewed at the
Service's Region 6 web site at
http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ . This report is government public
property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see
Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or