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.
Kent Laudon and Carolyn Sime [MT FWP] conducted 2 monitoring flights on
10/28 and 11/1 for packs in NW MT. Hog Heaven, Fish Trap, Wolf Prairie,
Murphy Lake, Candy Mountain, Lazy Creek, Whitefish, Kintla, and Ninemile
packs were located and found within their normal home ranges. Fish Creek,
Kootenai, and Wigwam were not located. Red Shale and Great Bear were not
searched for due to weather.
On Oct 29th, a coyote trapper in the Ninemile Valley in MT,
incidentally caught a 60lb. black male pup in a #3 coyote trap. The
trapper called WS and they collared and released the wolf on site. It was
in good shape. The trapper and his wife assisted WS to collar and release
it safely. We mailed the trapper our latest annual report and a note
personally thanking him. Both the experimental population rules and 4(d)
threatened rules accommodate the take of wolves during otherwise legal
activities- if the take was truly accidental and reasonable precautions
were taken to avoid taking wolves. We have now had over one half dozen
wolves that were successfully radio-collared and released unharmed after
being incidentally captured by coyote trappers, who quickly reported the
captures. Radioing this pup allowed us to re-establish radio contact with
the Ninemile pack. A big thanks to the trapper and WS.
On Monday the 1st, Ross and Asher set traps for Mill creek
to collar and release on sight to improve monitoring. This pack has been
involved in livestock depredations this year but all control have been
completed unless other depredations are confirmed.
On the 4th a monitoring flight out of McCall, ID detected
two more wolf frequencies (B127-M and B211-M) on mortality mode. B127-M is
believed to be a lone animal, whereas B211-M is the alpha male of the
Partridge Ck. pack. These are the 4th and 5th radio-collared wolves to go
into mortality mode since the rifle hunting seasons began in ID; in
addition an uncollared wolf was found dead recently. USFWS, in conjunction
with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game when applicable, is
investigating all of these mortality signals.
With the recent snowfall several visuals were obtained during the
aerial monitoring of Idaho wolf packs. Fifteen gray wolves were seen in
the Florence pack (ground work had indicated 11-14); 6-7 black wolves with
the O'Hara Point pack (6-7 based on ground work), and 10 grays for
Magruder (field investigations had indicated 8-9). These limited
observations suggest that the observations obtained during the
spring/summer field season appear reasonably accurate. Jason Husseman
[IDFG] conducted flights in the Salmon region and observed the following:
Jureano-found just above Salmon, got visual of min. of 6, and more likely
7-8 wolves. Moyer-didn't see wolves, but they were on a kill (looked like
an elk). Morgan Creek-1 gray and 5 black wolves were seen but there might
have been more as they were bedded in a patch of trees) Buffalo Ridge-saw
7 gray wolves bedded on ridgeline, Copper Basin--no visuals.
Wildlife Services, IDFG officers Olsen and Garwood, along with Michael
Lucid visited a couple near Hailey that complained of a wolf repeatedly
visiting their back yard. A wolf track was observed along with what
appeared to be a wolf killed coyote a short distance away, and traps were
set. However no wolf was captured. Due to the cold temperatures, traps
were removed. Snares may be set in the area if the wolf reappears.
Fish and Game officers in the Salmon region located and photographed
wolves from what appears to be a new pack along the Montana border. Wolf
activity and reports are also becoming quite common in the southeast part
of the state, though no new packs have yet been verified.
On the 30th a sheep producer near Dillon, MT reported that a
lone [black?] wolf had been seen harassing a flock of buck sheep near on
his private land. The herder ran it off. We notified the rancher that his
herder did the right thing and to keep harassing it if possible. Under the
current experimental 10j regulations the wolf could only be shot if it was
actually seen biting or wounding his sheep on his private land. We
authorized WS to take a wolf, if they confirmed wolf-caused depredations.
On the evening of the 31st the rancher called again and said WS
had just confirmed that 5 buck sheep had been killed by a wolf. The
rancher, who had sheep killed by wolves earlier this summer, and his
neighbor were issued shoot-on-sight permits for one wolf. WS is attempting
to remove that wolf.
On the 3rd, a ranch manager reported that 2 goats were
killed on private property just SW of Livingston. MT. The ranch owner and
manager did not want anything to be done via wolf control and weren’t too
interested in compensation, but thought it worth reporting. The goats were
within a well-constructed sturdy fence [5' woven wire with hot wire on
top] but the wolves jumped it. The current 10j rules define livestock as
only cattle, horses, mules or horses so no control is warranted because of
this depredation. The two radioed members of the Lone Bear pack- which has
already been involved in multiple depredations and who WS is trying to
remove- were located right above the ranch. Asker, Ross [MTFWP], and Rost
[WS] confirmed the depredation, met with the manager and advised him on
ways he might further improve the fencing to reduce the chances of future
On the 30/31st, members of the Owl Creek [south of Meeteetse] pack
killed 2 adult cows on private land in WY. The pack consists of 2 adults
[1 radioed] and 5 pups. WS was requested to remove 2 wolves but leave the
radio. This pack killed cattle in the same area this summer and an adult
pack member was removed.
On the 2nd, wolves from the 8 member unradioed Daniel pack
killed a calf on private land in WY. The calf was killed in the same area
where the pack had killed cattle earlier this summer and 3 wolves were
removed. WS was authorized to remove two more pack members.
WS flew most of the week to remove the Phantom and Lone Bear packs but
neither group was in an accessible area. Both packs have been involved in
repeated livestock depredations in 2004 and are slated for removal.
Yellowstone National Park is preparing to start its annual 30-day
early-winter "Wolf predation rate" study that runs from Nov 15 to Dec 15.
Information and education and law enforcement
Please be careful out there! A man who shot his hunting guide in
the Paradise Valley, MT this week, having mistaken two men and horses for
wolves that were ‘attacking’ him, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and
agreed to pay all the badly wounded guide's medical expenses. "I looked
through the scope and it looked like a pack of wolves," the deeply
remorseful man said in court, according to the Livingston Enterprise.
Earlier in the hunt, people had been talking about wolves. The man was
scared and fired at what he thought was wolves running toward him in the
dark. His guide suffered a severe injury that likely will mean repeated
surgeries and possibly a new elbow.
On the 3rd, Ross and Asher attended a range rider meeting
with Predator Conservation Alliance [PCA], Madison Valley ranchlands group
and MTFWP to discuss evaluation and summary of this summer’s efforts.
MT FWP welcomes Liz Bradley, Jon Trapp, and Kent Laudon to the state
wolf program. Jon and Kent have already started their new jobs and Liz
starts next week. Their contact information is: Liz Bradley -Dillon area,
work= 683-2287, cell = 865-0017; firstname.lastname@example.org; Kent Laudon -
Kalispell area, work = 751-4586, cell = 250-5047; email@example.com; Jon
Trapp - Red Lodge area, work= 446-0106, cell= 425-1132,
firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be doing wolf monitoring, working directly
w/ landowners affected by wolves, and public outreach as part of the
interim Cooperative Agreements signed by MT FWP and FWS. Contact them or
Carolyn Sime directly with wolf sightings in Montana.
Sime updated the MT FWP Commission on Nov. 4 with state program
accomplishments. Sime also gave two presentations to students in Helena
area high school biology classes on Nov. 5.
Steve Nadeau took a couple radio producers from the NPR series "Off the
Trail" into Bear Valley to do a story on wolves. Steve also gave a
presentation on wolf management to 60 sportsmen and women at the Inland
Northwest Wildlife Council in Spokane on the 2nd.
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