Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Weeks of August 21 - September 3, 2004
Have a safe Labor Day weekend.
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.
Mike Ross and Val Asher collared a 48-pound female pup from the Phantom pack, on the 26th. The pack is thought to
be responsible for a number of sheep and calf depredations near Roscoe, MT since mid-March. Based on
earlier sightings there were thoughts of there being two separate groups of wolves, so this pack will be
monitored to determine their movements and possible involvement. Traps were pulled Aug 31 and a receiver
was left with the landowner who will share location data with neighbors. Project personnel got a visual
on the pack and think the group consists of two adults, one gray and one black and two pups, one gray and
Jack Bucklin removed all of his traps near the Sapphire pack [east of Hamilton, MT] rendezvous site on the
25th. A number of ATVs came into the meadow and apparently displaced the wolves. Trapping has discontinued
but will resume in the Ninemile Valley after the holiday. A family that was camping on the edge of the
meadow watched the adults bring a small animal to the pups as the pups moved out into the meadow. One of
the adults came within 200 yards of the camp, sat down, and watched the family for about 30 minutes before
going back to the pups. The family thought it was a great opportunity to see the wolves. Sightings from
the people in the area and this family indicate that there are 5 adults and 5 pups.
Paul Frame captured a 40-pound male pup on the 21st belonging to the Spotted Bear pack. On the 26th he
stopped trapping and will be taking a few days off before trying to collar members of the Murphy Lake pack.
Diane Boyd began searching for the Painted Rocks pack in the west fork of the Bitterroot on the 23rd but
there was little sign and trapping was unsuccessful.
On the 26th Doug Hansen (Nez Perce [NP]) and Justin Mann, WS, captured a 100-110# gray male wolf in the
same set that B-45 was captured near McCall Idaho. This wolf had an old non-functioning radio collar that
appeared to have been put on the wolf as a pup and a yellow ear tag in the left ear. It was a Greater
Yellowstone Area wolf #239 that dispersed from the Washakie pack near Dubois, WY to western Idaho, a
distance of approximately 333 airline miles.
Jason Husseman (IDFG) has been searching for suspected wolf packs in the North Fork of the Salmon River,
and assisting Rick Williamson (WS) in attempting to capture wolves in the Salmon area. Michael Lucid and
Lauri H-Brown (IDFG) have been searching and trapping in the Copper Basin area for suspected wolf activity.
Although wolf sign has been found, wolf pack activity centers have not but this effort continues.
NP biologists set up a trapline around the O'Hara Peak pack's rendezvous site but were unable to capture
any wolves. They also attempted to locate and trap the Orphan pack. Although they picked up signals from
alpha female B61, there was not sufficient sign to warrant setting up a trapline. An extensive trapline
was run in the Eldorado wolf pack's territory, but biologists were not able to locate concentrated wolf
sign or capture wolves.
NP biologists are trying to document the status of a new wolf group north of McCall. They suspect recently
captured wolf B45 was associated with this group and may be the alpha female. They trapped this area for a
few days and although was not able to capture a wolf, confirmed the presence of at least 3 adults. Justin
Mann, WS, recently trapped a second wolf with a non-functioning radio collar in the same area B45 was
captured and suspect this wolf is also associated with this new group of wolves. This latest captured wolf
is male Y239, a wolf born into the Washakie pack near Dubois, Wyoming. Y239 was recollared and Tribal
crews will continue to monitor Y239 to determine the status of these wolves.
Isaac Babcock (NP) successfully ground darted a pup, B222, from the Chesimia pack near Elk River, ID. This
pack, composed of what appears to be just the alpha pair and their 3-4 pups, was documented when Dave
Thomas (WS) captured and collared B221, also a pup, during a control action about 2 weeks ago. This is
only the second time a free-ranging wolf has been captured using this technique, both times by Isaac.
Kent Laudon (NP) scoured the area where the uncollared Eldorado pack had a rendezvous site in '03, but
despite extensive and intensive surveys, he was unable to capture a wolf. This pack was not using the '03
site and Kent was able to find wolf sign only at widely scattered locations in the vicinity.
Anthony Novack and volunteer Anastacia Kampe (NP) attempted to radio-collar additional members of the
O'Hara Point pack north of Elk City, ID. To date no wolves have been captured, although the rendezvous
site has been located and traps are set nearby. A dead wolf pup was discovered at the rendezvous site; it
was collected and will be sent to the Forensics lab in Ashland, OR to determine the cause of death.
Jim Holyan (NP) spent 3 days searching for the Orphan pack in hopes of conducting a trapping operation
there, but was unsuccessful in locating the pack. He then began surveying in the Burgdorf area where
recent reports indicate that yet another pack, including pups, may be established. He heard 2-3 wolves
howling and is continuing to trap.
In a previous control action, WS collared a lone wolf in the Sunlight Basin area that was using the home
range of the Absaroka Pack. On a follow-up flight, WS located the Absaroka Pack and confirmed 5-6 adults
and 4 pups. All the wolves looked healthy with no signs of mange.
Jon Trapp and Liz Bradley trapped and collared 3 more wolves in the Teton Pack, deploying a total of 3 GPS
collars for Grand Teton NP research and 3 VHF for routine monitoring. Their trapping efforts will shift to
the Washakie Pack.
While investigating a suspect bear-killed calf [was just being scavenged by a bear] WS also located sign of
3 wolves that were also scavenging on the carcass in the upper part of the West Fork of the Madison Valley
in SW MT. No radioed groups of wolves are believed to be using this area.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
Rick Williamson (WS) captured and collared a pup (B223) from the Jureano Mountain pack near Salmon, ID
during a control action there. This confirms that the Jureano Mountain pack reproduced this year, although
at this time it is not known if they qualify as a breeding pair. Alpha male B106's signal has not been
heard for some time, and because he was the only collared wolf, documenting the status of this pack was
difficult. The addition of B223 will greatly facilitate monitoring here.
A reported depredation south of Grangeville, ID was being investigated by Justin Mann of Wildlife Services.
Control actions for the Gold Fork and B45 packs have concluded.
Gary Looney (ID WS), confirmed 3 more depredations on sheep by the Steel Mtn. pack. He was authorized to
lethally remove one adult wolf and started trapping. On Tuesday the 24th, he captured a 50 lb. gray male pup.
Since he did not have a collar with him at the time and it was a 25-mile trip to get in cell phone range
to try and get a radio collar, he released the pup on site. The depredations have stopped since the
capture and release of that pup and trapping has ceased as of the 30th.
Three members of the Hazard Lake wolf pack in west-central Idaho were lethally removed by helicopter
gunning on August 31 (B-182 and B-185, both subadult females) and September 1 (B-105, the alpha male)
after repeated efforts to remove them by ground techniques had been unsuccessful. B-105 has a long history
of being involved in livestock depredations. The Service, WS and the Tribe provided non-lethal training
and less-than-lethal munitions and RAG boxes to the sheep producer and their personnel on July 8 and in
late July. The producer also used multiple guard dogs and herders with each band of sheep in conjunction
with the non-lethal techniques provided, but still suffered repeated depredations. Incremental removal of
the Hazard pack was authorized beginning July 29 after one lamb was killed on July 23 and another 23 sheep
were injured and missing. The July 23 attack was followed by another depredation on July 29 when the Hazard
pack was implicated (telemetry) in the injury of 21 sheep and the disappearance of another 14 sheep. Two
wolves were lethally removed on July 30 (subadult male) and August 1 (subadult female). Subsequently,
nineteen more sheep were classified as "possible" kills or missing on August 4 from attacks by
the Hazard pack. B-105 and B-182 were documented to be in the area of most of the depredation incidents
and were specifically targeted for removal. Lethal ground removal efforts to remove the Hazard pack
continued without success through August 23 when six more sheep were killed and six were injured. The
Service authorized the removal of one additional wolf (B-183 or B-185) for removal in addition to the
ongoing effort to remove B-105 and B-182 at that time. Remaining members of the Hazard pack include B-183,
the uncollared alpha female and at least 3-5 pups. Control actions have ceased unless further depredations
On the 26th, WS confirmed that wolves had attacked two yearling heifers about two weeks apart on private
land near Red Lodge, MT. The first heifer appears to be healing but will be scarred. The other heifer
sustained more injuries and will be euthanized by the ranch. A black and gray wolf were seen by employees
of the ranch. WS will trap to radio collar and will monitor the situation unless more depredations occur.
On Aug. 23, Mike Ross and other FWP personnel issued cracker shells to an allotment rider in the Taylor
fork area as wolves had been seen in the cattle. The rider hazed wolves on numerous occasions and asked
for more shells which were issued on the 25th. Both the Chief Joe and Bear creek radioed animals have been
in the area and no depredations have been found or documented as of yet. The rider commented that he shot
off a cracker shell under a black radio collared wolf (possibly the Bear Trap male) and since then has
seen its behavior change to being wary when he rides up on it. We will follow up on the riders opinion on
harassing tools and their effectiveness.
Ross received a call from a pet owner in the Norris area Sept. 3 that her dog was killed by a wolf while
out on its chain. The owner did not want project personnel to investigate and felt it could have been
another predator as bears have been seen frequenting the area.
A sheep producer on a remote [5 miles from a road] Forest Service allotment had his sheep band tested by
wolves on the 29th but his herder and dogs drove the wolves off. On the 30th the wolves returned and
killed his border collie. His guard dog was badly wounded and is now missing. WS headed to the area in
the Gravelly range NE of Dillon, MT and confirmed the wolf attack and a dead herding dog. It doesn't
appear that any sheep were killed either night. WS set traps and will attempt to put collars on this pack,
to determine if this is a new pack or if it is the existing Freezeout pack and hopefully drive them from
the area. The producer drove up that night and gave the herder another guard dog. He was issued a special
take permit to take up to 2 wolves in the act of biting grasping wounding his sheep, horses, or livestock
herding or guarding animals on that allotment. WS pulled traps Sept. 2 as the area is swarming with bow
On the 27th, a rancher in Paradise Valley reported that wolves killed a calf near the Sheep Mtn. pack
territory. WS confirmed the loss of the calf to wolves and the Sheep Mtn. pack was located via telemetry
very close to the depredation site. Wolf 334 was previously located by aircraft several times in the
cattle and was in cattle during a confirmed depredation. WS was authorized to remove wolf 334 and did so
on the 31st. At the time #334 was thought to be the alpha male for the pack but turned out to be the alpha
female. Evidently the capture sheets were switched or mislabeled at the time of its capture with another
wolf, #332. Regardless, she was the primary wolf preying on the cattle. The male, (whose number is now
#332) has not been found since March of 2004.
Ross and Asher visited a landowner in the Boulder area E. of Livingston, MT on 9/1 after receiving reports
of the Moccasin Lake pack harassing cattle on FS allotment. A meeting to discuss wolf issues with project
personnel and landowners in the area was discussed but no date has been set. The landowner has a
shoot-on-site permit for his private land.
WS examined a calf west of Kalispell on the 27th on a forest company allotment and confirmed that wolves
were responsible. This is an area north of the Fishtrap pack and south of the Wolf Prairie pack. WS will
try to harass wolves out of the rendezvous site and away from the cattle.
A landowner in the Ninemile Valley called to report that a wolf just went thru an electric fence [provided
a couple of years ago by Defenders of Wildlife after several other llamas had been killed] to try and kill
some young llamas. The llamas scattered thru the back side of the fence. The landowner shot several times
in the air and drove the wolf back thru the electric fence. The fence had just been checked and was in
good working order. About 3 weeks prior to this incident another wolf came into the yard before being
drove off by shotgun blasts as well. The landowner could hear other wolves howling about a mile away. A
shoot on sight permit was renewed for the landowner. Jack Bucklin will begin trapping in the area to radio
collar one of the Ninemile wolves and monitor the situation. WS will assist when trapping has ceased west
WS investigated the possible depredation of a horse near Plains on the 30th but it was not confirmed.
WS specialist from the Dillon, MT area trapped a member of the Battlefield pack on the 31st, but couldn't
locate it. He is used his dog to trail it but with no luck that day. The control action [collar and
release on site] was in response to a confirmed calf depredation last week. WS continued to search and
found the yearling male on the 1st. He was in good shape and was radio-collared and released on site.
On August 21, USFWS and WYG&F examined a dead cow on the Teton Park grazing allotment. The cow was not
killed by wolves or grizzly bears, but had been scavenged by a bear. The carcass was removed and we will
continue to monitor wolves and cows in the Park closely. At the Park's request, the livestock producer has
stationed a ranch hand on the allotment to monitor wolves and cattle throughout each night. Teton wolves
have not recently been in the cattle.
On August 25, USFWS examined the remains of a calf possibly killed by wolves on a ranch adjacent to Teton
National Park. USFWS is working with the rancher and we will continue to keep a close watch.
Two wolves [52 lb pups] were killed near Dubois, WY under a private land shoot-on-site permit. At least 7
calves have been killed by these wolves this summer. The Washakie pack presently consists of 7-8 adults
and 4-5 pups. On the 1st another calf was killed by the Washakie pack on a Forest Service allotment and WS
was asked to remove 3-5 more wolves from that area.
A lone wolf that killed a calf on an public land grazing allotment near Kemmerer, WY around the 23rd, and
was just been monitored to see if it stayed in the area or killed more livestock, was confirmed to have
killed another calf on a public land grazing allotment on the 1st. WS was asked to lethally remove it.
Three GPS collars were placed on Teton Park wolves which will be part of a joint study with Grand Teton
Park, USFWS, and the Teton Cougar Project. One study objective is to investigate interactions between
grizzly bears, wolves and cougars. In addition 3 regular VHF collars were put in the pack by our WY field
crew. Good job, Mike, Liz and Jon.
Two radio-activated blow-off Televilt GPS collars on wolves in Yellowstone National Park did not blow-off.
The were designed to be activated at the users discretion and but both attempts from the air and ground
failed. There is a programmed "back-up" scheduled to blow off mid-winter so we may have to wait
to get the collars back then. Den visits continue in Yellowstone NP to pick-up scats and take den measurements.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Therese Hartman [volunteer Mt FW&P] gave a presentation to about 15 people at the Holland Lake
campground on August 21. She began with a puppet show and then talked about wolf history in North America
and wolf ecology followed by Q and A. Most attendees were from Montana and one family was from Alaska.
There were lots of questions about the locations and numbers of wolves in Montana and a good deal of
interest in how wolves will be managed by the state while the delisting process proceeds. After the talk
everyone took the opportunity to look through the wolf box, posters and a photo album full of pictures of
Carolyn Sime, Mike Ross, MT FWP, Val Asher, TESF and Doug Smith, NPS, attended the Montana WS annual
conference near Red Lodge. Sime and Smith gave presentations about their respective programs.
On August 30th Doug Smith gave a Yellowstone National Park Amphitheater talk at Canyon to general public.
Nearly 100 people attended.
Steve Nadeau gave a presentation and update on wolf management in Idaho to about 100 IDFG wildlife
biologist on August 17 at Coeur D'Alene. Jason Husseman and Michael Lucid also presented information on
wolf monitoring protocol to the group.
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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