Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week of September 13 - September 19, 2003
NEW WEB ADDRESS - See westerngraywolf.fws.gov/
for maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, and summaries of
scientific studies. We are in the process of compiling our preliminary monitoring information for this
year and hope to provide a "best guess" of current wolf numbers and pack status in our September 12th,
2003 weekly report.
WY WS and the Service caught two 50 & 55lb. female pups, one gray one black near Daniel, WY on the 12th.
Great job! Trapping is continuing to get an adult radioed, if possible. See control.
On the 12th, Kraig Glazier [WS] reported he was sitting in Avon, MT [NW MT] having lunch with some WS
specialists/trappers from Grand Jct. CO who were here in Montana to learn about wolf stuff, and a guy
walked in the restaurant and said "Are there wolves around here?" Kraig thought it must be
someone who knew them and was joking but NO! - the guy just was coming through and saw some wolves and
wanted to know if that was possible! The guy said he just saw 3 wolves [adult gray and 2 gray pups] cross
the road just out of Avon and right where the old Halfway pack used to be. So Kraig et al. drove to the
spot and howled a pup out of the woods right there. They have traps in the area to try and radio-collar a
NPT biologist Jim Holyan and volunteer Emily Babcock captured and radio-collared a total of 3 pups from the
Red River pack. This pack is located south of Elk City, ID. Reports from the U.S. Forest Service, and ID
Dept. of Fish and Game, over the past 2 years finally led to documentation of this wolf group. There are
at least 4 adults and 4 pups present.
NPT biologist Jason Husseman and volunteer Karen Loveless captured and radio-collared 2 additional members
of the O'Hara Point pack, north of Elk City, ID. A subadult female (B163) and a male pup (B162) joined male
B111 as collared animals. They collared a grey female pup in the Galena pack on the 19th.
NPT biologists Kent Laudon and Anthony Novack captured and radio-collared a male pup (B169) from a previously
uncollared pack in the Slate Creek drainage northeast of Riggins, ID. This group was observed earlier in
the summer with at least 2 pups. They will be known as the Florence pack.
Missing wolf male B52, from the Jureano Mountain pack, it was relocated to Fish Lake in 1998, may have
been re-discovered in southwest MT. The signal was very weak and there was lots of static, so its presence
has not been confirmed yet. Personnel from the MT wolf recovery program will investigate further.
We estimate the likely number of wolves and wolf breeding pairs in 2003 will be slightly higher than last
year but the rate of growth in the population is slowing. These estimates are admittedly very rough and
could change significantly once fall/winter aerial tracking with snow cover has been conducted. We currently
estimate a wolf population of: By recovery area - northwestern Montana, 90 wolves and 3 breeding pairs;
central Idaho, 362 wolves and 21 breeding pairs; Greater Yellowstone Area, 295 wolves and 22 breeding pairs.
By state these estimates are: Montana, 161 wolves and 8 breeding pairs; Idaho, 346 wolves and 21 breeding
pair; Wyoming, 240 wolves and 17 breeding pairs. The total wolf population estimate for 2003 is 747 wolves
and 46 breeding pairs compared to 663 wolves and 43 breeding pairs in 2002.
WE NEED HELP FROM COOPERATORS AND PUBLIC - We are currently into the trapping season, when we try to
radio-collar wolves from previously unknown packs and beef up our collar coverage in known packs. Please
report any sightings of wolf activity to the nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state Fish and Game
Agency, Forest Service, BLM, Tribal, or USDA Wildlife Services office.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
A sheep carcass was found north of Idaho Falls, ID on the 12th and tracks of 2 wolves were near it. The
sheep belonged to the Sheep Experiment Station. The herder also reported seeing two wolves in the area.
WS is trapping to try to radio-collar one of them but traps were pulled after no further wolf sign was
documented. Any control action will be determined by subsequent monitoring.
A depredation occurred east of Burgdorf, ID (approx. 30 miles north of McCall, ID) involving what may be
an unknown group of wolves over the weekend of the 12th-14th. Over 50 sheep were confirmed killed by wolves.
Lethal control was authorized for the removal of 2 adult wolves. On Sept. 16 Wildlife Services' field
agent Justin Mann trapped a pup, but it pulled out of the trap and escaped. On Sept. 17 Justin caught
another pup (B168), which was radio-collared and released. Several adult wolves were heard howling in the
vicinity, leading to the removal of an adult female. The control action will continue until a second wolf
is removed or the depredations stop. This is the area that B45 was known to use, but her radio-collar
expired last year. She was previously seen with another radio-collared wolf, identity unknown, but it was
thought that this pair had never produced pups. Further field work will be conducted to determine the
identities and status of the wolves in this area. The total number of dead sheep is in the 70's and 4-5
bands that are protected by dogs and herders have been hit. This group of wolves is likely the same bunch
that has been killing sheep about 7-8 miles away. WS was authorized to kill this pack of 4-5 wolves.
A ranch between Deerlodge and Avon that had repeated calf depredations before the Castle Rock pack was
removed, reported a possible wolf kill the 11th. There were wolf tracks by the carcass but it looked like
it may have been killed [or taken over] by a black bear [hide inside out], it was classified as unconfirmed.
No further problems have been reported.
Lethal control was authorized to remove 2 wolves, by either the property owner [he was issued a shoot-on-sight
permit on the 9th] or WS. The pack has been involved in cattle depredations for the past several years and
some pack members were involved in depredations this year. Aerial shooting is pending when weather allows.
The Daniels pack of up to 16 wolves near Daniels, WY moved into the foothills and timber and they killed
two more sheep on the 15th. While investigating they found another calf that was probably a wolf kill.
Sheep and cattle are being moved off the allotment and from that area and no further control is planned
at this time.
WS shot a large adult grey male out of the Washakie pack on the 19th. The pack was on a Forest Service
allotment when found and had been involved in several depredations this summer. This ended the control
action since many bow hunters are starting to use the area.
On the 17th, WS investigated a calf carcass in Tom Miner Basin where the Chief Joe pack had killed a calf
last week. The calf was not killed by a predator but was just scavenged. The collared female has remained
in or near Tom Miner Basin.
A cattle rancher just east of Tom Miner Basin and north of Gardiner, MT reported his cattle had been run
through several fences earlier this week, likely by the Sheep Mountain pack. On the 17th, he and another
rancher found the lower part of a calf's leg in a trail heavily used by wolves. They are continuing to
ride the area to search for dead livestock. We have increased the level of aerial monitoring to help
detect if there is an ongoing depredation problem.
The World Wolf Congress: Bridging Science and Community [see agenda at - http://www.graywolf.ca/worldwolfcongress/wwc2003ataglance.html]
is being held in Banff Canada Sept. 25-28. The meeting is held every ten years and is attended by wolf
biologists, managers, and researchers from all over the world. Northern Rocky Mountain wolf recovery staff
will be presenting several papers.
The Univ. of Chicago Press is taking pre-orders for the epic all-encompassing book "Wolves: Behavior,
Ecology, and Conservation" Edited by L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani. 2003. University of Chicago
Press. You can order from the International Wolf Center by calling 1-800-359-9653 ext 21. They should be
available in October 2003.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
The National Wolf Awareness 2003 wolf poster is available from the Timber Wolf Alliance
or firstname.lastname@example.org. It is a stunning painting of an adult wolf in
forest shadows called "The Glance" by Jim Turgeon. On the back is a map of wolves in the U.S.
and current accurate information on gray and red wolves in the U.S. Limited copies [please - for educators
or classrooms only!] can be obtained from any of the northern Rocky Mountain wolf field offices or
cooperators in Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming. Congratulations to the Timber Wolf Alliance! This is an
outstanding educational poster.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prepared a web page that has various links to state wolf management
plans, information about wolf reclassification and delisting. It can be accessed at
On Sept. 17 Jim Holyan gave a presentation to about 35 10 and 11 year-olds at the McCall Outdoor Science
School. The children were from the elementary school in Kamiah, ID.
Niemeyer, Nadeau, and others appeared on ID Public Television on Sept. 18 as panel members on a show
entitled "Focus West." The show was a forum discussing predators and their management in the west.
It will air again on Sept. 21 at 7:00 pm Mountain time in ID. The show can also be accessed at
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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