Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week of December 6 - December 12, 2003
NEW WEB ADDRESS - See westerngraywolf.fws.gov/
for maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, litigation and
funding issues, and summaries of scientific studies.
On the 9th, Jimenez and Hawkins & Powers net-gunned, radio-collared and released a young female in the
Sunlight Basin pack. She had a light case of mange. The other collared pack member [an older female] was
seen but appeared to be in very poor condition and unable to keep up with the pack. The Sunlight pack
consists of 7 wolves. Jimenez and crew also captured a 110lb female and 118 lb. male out of the Carter
Mountain threesome, south of Cody, WY. All 3 are now collared and appeared to be in great condition.
Great job Mike!
Idaho trappers reported that two wolves were incidentally captured in leg hold traps set for coyotes and
escaped. Another wolf was accidentally caught by a coyote set but it also escaped. We thank the trapper
who reported these incidental captures as they often give us the opportunity to radio-collar and release
the wolves for monitoring purposes.
A B.C. big game hunter reported shooting a 3-yr-old female wolf [ear tag #257] that was radio-collared in
July 2001 as a member of the Graves Creek pack in NW Montana but that has been missing since March 2002.
The man was hunting 15 miles north of Eureka, MT and the Canadian border on Nov. 18. He reported he saw
more deer and elk in his usual hunting area than ever. The pack of 6-8 wolves howled and several moved
past him. He legally harvested one that was in prime condition and it turned out to be collared. We thank
him for reporting the harvest information and for returning the radio-collar.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
An uncollared group of 5 wolves in the Big Hole Valley of SW Montana [in the ID ex. pop. area] near
Jackson, MT killed a calf on the 4th, another on the 5th [as reported in the 12/5 weekly], 2 more on the
6th, and one calf is severely wounded. WS was authorized to remove the entire pack, which is likely a new
pair and pups. The rancher was issued a shoot on site permit for 3 wolves on his private property on the
9th. Nearly all of the wild prey [except moose] move out of this area in winter. The only the abundant
prey left are livestock, and they are very numerous. None of the previous packs that tried to establish
in this area survived because they too became chronic livestock killers and were removed by agency control
actions. Control is ongoing.
The Lone Bear pack [GYA] near Livingston, MT was suspected to have attacked a band of sheep on private
property on the 10th. The band of 98 sheep were in a 10 acre pasture enclosed by woven wire and 2 strands
of barbed wire. Wolves have been in the area several years but there haven't been any sheep problems
previously. Six ewes were killed and at least 3 others were injured and may die. WS was authorized to
remove 1/3 of the pack. The next night wolves returned killed 10 ewes and wounded another 4-7 that may die,
on the adjacent private property. Asher located Lone Bear wolves in the vicinity late on the night of the
11th [great extra effort Val]. On the 12th aerial tracking early AM found the Lone Bear wolves near the
sheep and WS ground shot a collared male and uncollared female. Both wolves had moderate mange. Thanks to
WS for an effective and timely control effort. A total of 6 wolves, 3 radioed and 3 unradioed, were seen
feeding/near the sheep. Agency control is completed unless there are more depredations. The 4 landowners
were issued shoot on site permits for their private property that allow a total of 2 more wolves to be
killed if they return to this area.
Yellowstone National Park is wrapping up their early winter study [Nov 15 - Dec 15] to determine wolf
predation rates. There is low snow cover and as would be expected wolf predation rates appear typical for
early winter. Field crews saw the Agate and B-302 packs [was a male, female with two pups] clash. A dead
B-302 pup was found on site, and the other is presumed dead.
Jessica Montag, Michael Patterson, and Bethany Sutton [Wildlife Biology Program, School of Forestry, Univ.
of Montana] have published their final project report 2003 "Political and Social Viability of Predator
Compensation Programs in the West". It is available at http://www.forestry.umt.edu/pcrp/.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming completed their analysis of the peer reviewers comments on the state wolf
management plans. WY G&F posted their comments on their web site. This is just one of the many steps
in the Service's process to decide whether a delisting proposal is warranted at this time. The Service
will develop its recommendations based upon the peer review comments, the state responses, and other
relevant information by mid-December. These recommendations will go up through the chain of command in
the Service and DOI. The Director hopes to make a final decision on the adequacy of the state wolf
management plans by early January. The decision to propose delisting is a subsequent and separate decision
that should also be made in early 2004.
The 12/11 Bozeman Chronicle reported that big game hunters in Region 3 [southwest MT adjacent to Yellowstone
National Park] experienced a very good hunting season due to healthy herds and weather. Despite this year's
high harvest MT FW&P is looking at increasing harvest even further, possibly allowing 2 cow elk limits
in some areas, to reduce herd size to within management objectives.
Bangs was interviewed by a Billings TV station on the status of wolf recovery and the delisting efforts.
The states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming forwarded their comments on the peer review of their state wolf
management plans to the Service on the 10th. We appreciate their quick turn-around and thoughtful responses.
Their effort completed the peer review process. The next step is for the Service to develop its independent
recommendations for the FWS Director to consider. He is expected to decide if the three state plans are
adequate to move on to the next step - which is a decision if delisting should be formally proposed at this
time. The Director indicated he hoped to make that decision by early 2004.
Jimenez attended the Predator Board meeting for Park County, WY on the 2nd. About a dozen people attended.
On the 5th, he talked to about 60 people from the Teton Science School in Jackson, WY. He is meeting with
the Ten Sleep, WY Predator Board on the 12th.
2004 North American Interagency Wolf Conference Call for Papers
Papers are now being accepted for the 2004 North American Interagency Wolf Conference, April 6 - 8, 2004
at Chico Hot Springs, in Pray, Montana, northwest of Yellowstone National Park. Please submit a single
spaced abstract, up to 500 words, and include your full contact information, affiliations, and authors,
by email to: Joe Fontaine.
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
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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