Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week of 10/16-10/29, 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
B5-M, from the Selway pack in Idaho, was on mortality during the Oct. 14
monitoring flight. His carcass was recovered by USFWS LE on the 19th; and an LE
investigation is underway. B5 was one of the original wolves translocated from
Canada in 1995. He may have been 12.5 years old at the time of his death. He was
the last original wolf from the '95' and '96' releases that was still being
monitored, although B7-M and B11-F, the founding alphas of the Big Hole pack,
were seen this year (their radio-collars expired in early 2003). Other wolves
from Canada still be present: A radio-collared white wolf was reported by U of I
researchers this spring in Cold Meadows, which likely would be either B9-M or
B16-F of the Chamberlain Basin pack; B18-M and B35-F, formerly alphas of the
Twin Peaks pack, were relocated to Shearer airstrip in the Selway-Bitterroot
Wilderness in March 2000, but then turned up near Mt. Haggin (Anaconda, MT)
though their radio signals have not been detected since October 2000; B28-M was
last known to be with the Orphan pack, but has not been detected since Jan. 2002
and is probably not with that pack any longer; B33-M of the Landmark pack; and
B36-F, White Cloud alpha female, were relocated to Elk Summit off the Lochsa
River in April 2000, and were later observed with 2 pups near Gibbonsville, ID.
She then moved into the Big Hole valley where her radio signal was last heard in
B139-F, possibly the new alpha of the Gospel Hump pack, was retrieved by USFWS
LE on the 19th. Her death is under investigation. She had not been located on
the past few monitoring flights, and her radio-collar was not functioning when
LE took possession of her carcass.
B179-M, a yearling from the Scott Mountain pack, was retrieved by IDFG personnel
in Whitehawk Basin. His mortality is also under LE investigation.
On the 19th, a MT rancher near the Canadian border about 7 miles N. of Babb
watched a group of 5 wolves [mixed colors] attack a 500 lb. calf on private
property. The wolves were driven off but the calf had to be euthanized and was
butchered. WS was asked to see if they could get a collar in the group but
trapping was futile as there were no cattle remains, the pack was driven off
before feeding, and it snowed several inches. We are monitoring the area and see
if a radio can be put in the group when and if the opportunity arises but no
other control is planned at this time.
On the 21st, a yearling heifer was killed on private property by the Greybull
River Pack in WY. This is the 4th calf killed by the Greybull River Pack this
summer/fall. Big game hunting season is ongoing and many hunters scattered
through out the area, so WS may not be able to attempt any control at this time.
We are monitoring the situation and will see if there are any further problems.
On the 21st, WS investigated a dead calf in the Meeteetse, WY area, but
determined that the calf was not killed by wolves.
On the 22nd, one calf was confirmed killed by wolves in the Absaroka Pack west
of Cody ,WY near Hart Mountain. This depredation occurred on private property.
For the last several years, there has been a dispute about a road accessing the
property. At the present, no one is allowed on the road, so we will wait to see
if the owner would like us to further investigate and perhaps attempt some form
The National Park Service issued its annual accomplishment report for the
"Multi-trophic level ecology of wolves, elk, and vegetation in Yellowstone
National Park" this week. Yellowstone, US Geological Survey, and Univ. of
Minnesota continued a 3-year PhD. graduate student study of elk calf mortality
in Yellowstone’s Northern Range elk herd. During May/June 2004, 44 calves less
than 6 days old were radio-tagged and monitored daily. To date 31 calves died,
[29 to predation, 2 to other causes]. Preliminary causes of death were 18 by
bears [grizzly and black], 3 by wolves, 4 by coyotes, 1 by a golden eagle, 1 by
either bears or wolves, 2 by unknown predators, and 2 by non-depredation causes.
The first year of the study in 2003 had very similar results.
Information and education and law enforcement
Bangs talked to 20 students at a Wildlife Management Issues class at UM in
Missoula on the 19th. On the 28 he gave a talk to 20 law students at Stanford in
On the 25th, Bangs, Niemeyer and the Service’s Regional Directors from both R-6
[Denver] and R-1 [Portland] and Service & legal staff met with Tribal, legal,
and biological representatives from the Nez Perce Tribe in Boise, ID. The Tribe
requested Government to Government negotiations regarding the future of wolf
management in Idaho where the Tribe has ceded land and treaty rights, and to
inquire about the status of the proposed 10j experimental rule. The meeting was
very cordial and informative. The Tribe recently sent a draft of its plan to
manage wolves in its ceded lands in central Idaho to the Service’s Director. The
Tribe has done an outstanding job to help manage wolves in Idaho under its
cooperative agreement with the Service for the past 9 years.
Curt Mack (NPT) and Steve Nadeau (IDFG) participated in the University of
Idaho's School of Law (Environmental Law Society) panel discussion on the future
of wolf management in Idaho on the 20th.
Jim Holyan (NPT) led a field trip for the Mammalogy class of New Meadows High
School on the 20th, where he showed them a wolf den and discussed wolf biology
and ecology with the students.
On the 26th, Bangs, Asher, Sime, Jon Trapp [new MTFWP biologist in Red Lodge],
other MT FWP staff and WS attended a meeting hosted by MT Congressman Denny
Rehberg in Columbus, MT. The panel also included Todd O’Hare natural resource
policy adviser to MT Governor Martz and MT Carbon County Commissioner, John
Prinkki The meeting was attended by about 80 local ranchers, local public, and
elected officials and was very informative and well run.
Since October 2003 until the present time, LE Special Agents in Montana and
Wyoming have investigated the deaths of 13 wolves. Two were killed incidental to
lawful predator management programs and were not ruled as illegal kills. One was
caught in a neck snare set for coyotes and the other pulled an M-44 device set
for coyotes. Two other wolves were hit by vehicles, another was a natural
mortality, and the cause of death for two other’s are still being investigated.
Six deaths were believed to represent unlawful takings and are under active LE
investigation. There is one active prosecution, involving 2 subjects who killed
a wolf in 2002, but the wolf’s carcass not discovered until 2003. Charges have
been filed in the District of Wyoming.
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