Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week December 16 - December 22, 2000
MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR
Packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are moving throughout their home ranges. See the
1999 annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/
for a map of those pack locations and home ranges. The annual "official" count of wolf breeding
pairs and new pack home ranges will be published in the 2000 annual report which should be out by February
The Fang Mtn. pack of 7 wolves in central Idaho was left off the last list of Idaho wolf packs.
The Sheep Mountain trio (now a pack of 7) was observed with 4 other uncollared wolves in the old Sheep
Mountain territory on the 20th. At the Sheep Mtn. Trio release, the Service predicted that the best case
scenario would have been if the 3 Sheep Mountain wolves could join other uncollared wolves in the area to
form a radioed pack and that group would not attack livestock again. The first part appears to have
happened, time will tell about the second part. The Chief Joseph pack of 8 went north to Emmigrant, MT
and was located near a captive colony of wolves. They were lying by a group of horses but neither the
horses nor wolves appeared alarmed. The horse owner was notified as a precaution.
In northwestern Montana, the Murphy Lake female showed back up with the pack. The S. Camas lone female
was seen with another wolf, so that is probably the start of a new pack. The new pair was on the east
side of McDonald Lake while the Whitefish pack that has apparently been following the pair around in
Glacier National Park was on the west side of McDonald Lake. Fontaine established a bait station, from
road-kills he has been collecting, in the Boulder pack area. He hopes to draw in the Boulder pack for
possible darting or snaring this winter. Fontaine also stood by ready to assist with wolf darting, while
WS was doing some aerial coyote gunning in the Gold Creek and Boulder areas on the 20th. Uncollared
groups of wolves are in both those areas and WS offered to help dart and radio-collar wolves if any were
located. No wolves were found but we thank WS for their offer and efforts.
Please report wolf sightings!! Signs have been posted at several trailheads asking hunters to report
wolf observations. We have copies of these signs for any agency folks willing to post them at information
centers, offices, or hunter check stations, etc. Thanks to those who have been forwarding us reports it
has helped located several potential new packs. When we are this close to 30 breeding pair, each wolf
pack becomes very important.
This winter National Park Service, Service, Nez Perce Tribal biologists will cooperatively helicopter
dart wolves in packs throughout the 3 states in an effort to increase radio-collaring and monitoring of
wolves. Capture efforts in December were called off because of bad weather and because most everyone will
be enjoying the holidays with family. Capture operations will begin in the New Year. In addition, use of
draw baits and neck snares with safety locks will be used opportunistically to place radios in several
uncollared new packs.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
A pro-active relocation project for 3-4 wolves that have recently been located in the Big Hole Valley of
Montana was postponed. The most recent radio-telemetry flight did not locate any of the targeted wolves
despite an intensive search. Monitoring will continue. As soon as a decision about any potential capture
and/or relocation attempts are made local resource agencies and the public will be notified as to the
A calf was reported killed by wolves north of Browning on the 20th. A WS investigation confirmed that a
600lb. heifer was attacked by a pair of wolves, it died shortly after the investigation. The pair's
tracks were evident and they headed off to the north when they left the immediate area. WS will attempt
to set non-lethal neck snares to radio-collar and release a wolf on site, if the pair returns to the
carcass and only one wolf is captured. If both wolves are captured, they will be relocated to western
Montana. Thanks to WS for such quick follow-up on this report.
The Service and TESF biologists are working with Defenders of Wildlife and the affected landowner to
complete the fencing project in the Tom Miner Basin. This is especially important now that Chief Joe
has begun its winter pattern of occasionally leaving the Park and swinging through that area to check
out sheep and guard dogs.
Discussions between the Nez Perce Tribe, Service, and Yellowstone National Park with the University of
Idaho are ongoing about the use of wolf radio telemetry location data to support a Masters student
project. That project would use GIS mapping and wolf location data to identify the critical attributes
of areas used by wolves and predict what other areas in MT, ID, and WY are likely to be colonized by
wolves or are most suitable to support wolf packs.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Bangs, Fontaine, MSU professors Scott Creel and Bob Garret, and TESF biologists met in Bozeman on the
18th, to discuss a MTFW&P and MSU graduate student study of elk/wolf relationships in the Gallatin and
lower Madison Valleys. Local landowners are very supportive of the project and have already contributed
significant resources. The feasibility study will look at wolf/elk/hunter interactions in that area.
Hopefully if the study appears feasible MSU will be able to start a graduate student project next year.
The Service will attempt to put both GPS and standard radio-collars on wolves in the Taylor Peak and
Gravelly packs to assist in this year's intensive monitoring effort. Snow tracking indicates the Taylor
Peak pack is composed of the 2 radioed alphas, 4 pups and possibly 2 helpers.
Most of the wolf staff will be taking at least some time off between Christmas and New Year's. Fontaine
- (406)449-5225 x 206 - will be in the Helena area and will probably be the best for emergency messages.
Helicopter capture operations will start January 3rd weather depending so final calls and last minute
organization of that will begin just after New Year's.
The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at
Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 or Internet - ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV
Trips & Events |
Site Map |
Site owned by ©1998-2002 Wolf Recovery Foundation.
Site Design and Graphics by ©1997-2002 Wolff Den Design All Rights Reserved.
No part of this site or any material within this site may be
used without the expressed written permission from the author.