Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week of 10/8-10/15, 2004
NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2003 annual wolf report is at
It has maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and
depredations, litigation and funding issues, and summaries of scientific
On the 10th, Liz Bradley trapped and collared an adult male wolf in the Washakie
Pack in WY. The following day she caught and released the collared alpha female.
On the 12th, Liz trapped and collared a Washakie pup-of-the-year weighing
approx. 85 lbs. Trapping/collaring efforts are completed, however an active
control effort is still in place to remove a previously collared male wolf which
has been involved in at least 9 confirmed depredations in the Dunior Valley this
Trapping was conducted in the Ninemile Valley near Missoula, MT. Some fresh wolf
sign was seen but no wolves were captured. Unfortunately two different large
dogs were incidentally captured. The Service biologist visited with both of the
owners. The dogs were not injured [thankfully and our use of rubber-jawed traps
has helped] and while upset the owners appreciated a thorough Service follow-up
with their situation. As the level of human activity in wild areas has increased
so has the difficulties associated with trapping. The rifle hunting season in
Montana starts Oct 24th, and has already started in Wyoming and Idaho so all
leg-trapping for routine monitoring in 2004 has been terminated. We thank our
seasonal biologists in Montana Jack Bucklin, Paul Frame, and Diane Boyd, Liz
Bradley and Jon Trapp in Wyoming, and the Nez Perce Tribes field crew in Idaho
for their hard work this summer. Diane is the only seasonal biologist who is
still working, and she will be organizing MT, ID, and WY field data this fall as
well as working on a paper on wolf dispersal in our program.
Former Washakie pack wolf Y239, who was captured and re-collared north of
McCall, ID, had been missed for the past couple of flights, but was found again
on the 14th. He moved approx. 33 miles east from his capture location and was
located in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness about 3 miles east of
Wolf Fang Peak.
An adult horse that was reportedly attacked by wolves near Bondurant, WY a week
or so ago had to be euthanized by its owner. Adult horses are rarely attacked by
wolves and to date the only confirmed horse depredation was on a foal, also in
this general area of WY. There have been at least 3 other horses that may have
been attacked by wolves, including two that died and were fed upon by wolves but
could not be confirmed as wolf depredations. Horses are big strong tough animals
and are among the most difficult ungulates for wolves to kill but occasionally
wolves do manage to severely wound or kill them.
B5, one of the original wolves to come to the Central Idaho Recovery Area from
Canada in 1995, was detected on mortality on 10/14/04. USFWS Law Enforcement and
an IDFG Conservation Officer will be coordinating on the investigation of this
The Nez Perce Tribe (NPT) and Service wolf program has provided biologists for
the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program (John Oakleaf worked for the Service in NW MT
and did his graduate project in Idaho through the NPT, Service and others), the
Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game (Jason Husseman did his graduate project through
the NPT and also was a seasonal biologist for several years), and the newly
up-and-running MTFWP Wolf management Program (Kent Laudon worked seasonally with
the NPT since 1997, Jon Trapp did his graduate project through the NPT and
volunteered for 1.5 years and worked for the Service this summer in WY, and Liz
Bradley worked for the Service in MT and WY and did her graduate project on our
wolf control activities). Our wolf recovery program is thankful to all of these
young people for their hard work over the years, and want to wish them well at
their new jobs.
Jason Husseman (IDFG) verified presence of a new pack of wolves in the North
Fork of the Salmon River, but was unable to capture one during a brief trapping
effort. Steve Nadeau located the Big Hole Pack along the Montana border east of
Powell while moose hunting. He was able to keep them howling long enough to
detect multiple wolves and pups, adding another breeding pair. Southeast Idaho
FG staff continue to attempt to verify reported wolves and a possible new pack.
Jason and Michael Lucid are both reviewing all the wolf observation reports
coming in on the IDFG website, verifying, and plotting the observations. Over
the last year, more than 300 people have reported observations on the website,
many of which have helped us find new wolf packs, get estimates of wolves within
packs, and obtain other useful information. The wolf reporting form on the
website has proven so far to be a useful tool in helping keep track of Idaho
Many wolf observations being reported by hunters include wolves coming to
hunters using elk or moose calls. Sometimes the wolves get within just a few
feet before they detect the hunters. These encounters are numerous and provide
hunters with a little more excitement than they bargained for.
Coyotes researchers in Yellowstone National Park incidentally caught 2 wolves in
#3 soft catch traps set for coyotes. One wolf escaped as it was being approached
and the other was radioed collared and released on site.
A landowner in the Cinnabar Basin in the Paradise Valley reported seeing a
‘sickly’ wolf with what appeared to be a severe case of mange on his private
land this month. He hasn’t seen it in a week or so now and speculates it might
have died. Manage has been detected in wolves at lower elevations in Montana and
Wyoming and is common in coyotes in those same areas. Mange can kill the
infected animals through secondary infections or hyperthermia.
Correction- the weight of the 20 calves that trampled/suffocated last week in
the Madison Valley was unknown. The factors that may have contributed to their
death are still under investigation.
On the 12th, a young wolf was killed by a private landowner under a
‘shoot-on-sight’ permit in the Paradise Valley. The landowner had numerous sheep
killed this year on his private land, the wolf was taken from a group of 4-5 on
the property. The permit will remain active and allow one more wolf to be taken.
On the 13th, WS investigated a wounded yearling heifer near Horse Prairie/Black
Canyon in SW MT [north of Leadore, ID]. The cow was brought off private pasture
to be doctored and was thought to have been attacked by a bear. This is the same
location where an uncollared pack of 5 wolves [3 large, 2 small] was reported
this summer. The cow had several bite wounds to her hindquarters. The location
and spacing of the tooth marks indicated she was likely attacked by a wolf. WS
may trap, radio-collar and release wolves on site, if conditions permit. No
other control is planned at this time.
On the 15th, as authorized by the Service, WS shot 2 wolves [shot from
fixed-winged aircraft] from the Battlefield pack [SW MT] out of 9 seen. One was
the radio-collared alpha male, leaving only one other radio collar in the pack.
WS will continue to trap over the next few days and any wolves captured will be
radio-collared and released on site. Lethal control is done unless other
depredations are confirmed.
On the 12th two uncollared adult wolves (1 male & 1 female) were removed
[shooting from fixed-wing aircraft] by WS from the Upper Green River drainage
after killing at least 5 calves in several depredation events. All depredations
occurred on USFS grazing allotments.
On the 13th three uncollared wolves (1 adult male, 1 adult female, 1 male pup)
were removed [shooting from fixed-winged aircraft] from the Daniel Pack in WY
after killing at least 7 calves. Depredations occurred on both private land and
USFS grazing allotments. There are no radio collars in the Daniel Pack, however
repeated sightings indicate there are still at least 7-8 wolves in the Pack
after this latest control action. The fact that WS was able to quickly and
effectively remove wolves here and in the Upper Green River [see above] without
the use of radio telemetry attests to both WS’s skill at aerial control and the
high vulnerability of wolves to lethal control in open rangeland habitats.
As cattle were moving off USFS grazing allotments north of Pinedale, WY on the
12th, Wildlife Services confirmed 1 calf killed by wolves near Cora, Wyoming.
The situation is being monitored closely but no control is being conducted at
On the 14th, wolves killed 6 more female lambs on private land near Fishtail,
MT. This ranch has had nearly 25 sheep killed by wolves during a half dozen
depredation events this summer. A pack of 2 ad. and 2 pups lives within a few
miles and are the likely culprits as the pup’s radio locations place the pack in
the general vicinity but not at the depredation sites. WS was authorized to
remove the pack by lethal control unless new evidence suggests the Phantom pack
was not responsible- which is unlikely. WS will not have a helicopter available
for at least a week so monitoring will be increased and the landowner’s
shoot-on-site permit was extended for the next 30 days.
Liz Bradley et al. paper "Evaluating wolf translocation as a non-lethal method
to reduce livestock conflicts in the northwestern United States" was accepted
for publication in Conservation Biology. It should appear in print in 2005.
Great job Liz!
IDFG big game research staff, wildlife bureau chief, big game manager, and Steve
Nadeau met this week to discuss direction of ungulate/wolf research in Idaho.
Big game researchers will be looking into what parameters can be used to predict
big game population fluctuations, and how, when, and where wolves fit into the
mix that cause declines.
Information and education and law enforcement
Liz Bradley, a WY seasonal field biologist accepted a job offer from MT FWP to
be their wolf field specialist out of Dillon, MT. Liz just finished her MS from
UM, on wolf livestock conflict and has worked with our program for several
years. Congratulations to both MT FWP and Liz, it is a great match.
The administrative record for the state of Wyoming’s litigation against the
Service over rejection of the state’s wolf plan was filed with the court on the
15th. There are currently 6 wolf-related litigations and the workload associated
with it and Freedom of Information Act requests consumes a tremendous amount of
staff time and energy. These cases will be ongoing for the next several years.
Michael Lucid (IDFG) gave a presentation about hunting safely with bird dogs in
wolf country, to a dog hunting club of approximately 30 in Nampa on Tuesday.
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 fit.
Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or
Trips & Events |
Site Map |
Site owned by ©1998-2004 Wolf Recovery Foundation.