Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report

Week of Jan 1 - Jan 6, 1997


Wolves in the Yellowstone area are pretty much where they have been. The packs in the northern part of the Park are still there. The Thoroughfare pair are still in that drainage and the Soda Butte pack is still by Heart lake. The pair that was last located near Togwotee Pass in early November was located at the junction of Bear Creek and the E. Fork of the Wind River east of Dubios, WY. Female #27 moved south back into the mountains by Nye, so her capture has been postponed until she moves into more open country. Wolf #39 was not located. The penned wolves will be moved in February.

A suspected wild wolf or possibly captive wolf or wolf/dog hybrid east of Dubios,WY has been seen by a local rancher every day (except 4) since November 26. The area is full of wintering deer and elk. The animal is believed to be a young uncollared female. It has killed at least three deer and has not caused any problems with livestock. It is very leery of people, unless the people are in the house or in a vehicle. Basically it acts like a wild wolf, other than having such regular and restricted movements. Photos have been taken and both Bangs and Niemeyer and others agree it looks just like a wolf. It is unknown at this time if it could be a wild dispersing wolf or if it could be of captive origin. It has also been seen from a nearby county road and there is some fear that it may be illegally killed if not moved from the area. No decision has been made whether it should be captured or moved but for the meantime it will be left in the area but with the situation closely monitored. It is very interesting to note that the pair (1 gray, 1 black) that were near Togwotee Pass in early November and could not be located until this past week were located in that area. It is probably not by chance that the radioed pair are in the exact location. Monitoring on them is also being intensified.

Weather finally cleared in Idaho and radio-tracking flights are being conductedat this time. Twenty-seven wolves have active radio-collars. Locations will be reported in the next weekly.

Livestock Depredations & Management (control)

On the night of January 1 or early morning on the 2nd, at least 3 wolves from the Boulder Pack (a pack of non-experimental wolves SW of Helena, MT) killed 7 yearling cattle NE of Deer Lodge, MT. Unfortunately, the 3 wolves that had been radio-collared in 1995 were illegally killed or disappeared and no other pack members were radio-collared. Local ranchers reported they had seen 9-10 wolves during the summer. On the 3rd, the pack had returned and fed on one of the dead yearling cattle. ADC located a pack of 9 gray-colored wolves about 2-3 miles from the cattle. ADC and the Service agreed that if 3 wolves were at the livestock carcasses they all would be shot and if there were more wolves present that no more than half the pack should be shot. ADC tried to shoot the packleaders and biggest wolves hoping to kill the adults that probably attacked the cattle. Necropsy on the 4 that were shot (3 M and 1 F) from fixed-wing aircraft indicated they were not adults. The wolves were killed because 1) The severity of the depredation require an immediate and firm response. 2) The control plan allows for lethal control when more than 5 packs are in a recovery area. 3) This pack depredated in 1995 4) The pack would be difficult to locate quickly without collars 5) No helicopters were available that day 6) There are no agreed upon relocation sites in NW Montana. Attempts will be made to obtain permission from the landowners to radio-collar remaining pack members. If more depredations occur more wolves may be killed or moved.


Nothing new to report.

Information, Education & Law Enforcement

Nothing new to report.

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 -

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