Core packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are generally in their normal home ranges but many packs have members missing, in all likelihood due to dispersal.
The Gros Ventre and the Teton pack have both been staying in the Gros Ventre drainage. Soda Butte appears to be staying south of Yellowstone Lake and hasn't returned to the Elk Refuge yet this year.
The Little Wolf pack in NW MT was in back in the Little Wolf area. The Spotted bear pack is continuing to stay together and in the Spotted Bear/South Fork drainage. The alpha male of the Boulder pack has not been located since November, and a Pleasant Valley male has not been located for about a month, despite several recent flights. We have had reports of wolf activity around the Bynum Reservoir area but could not locate any missing radio collared wolves in the area. Wolf pup #108 was recently struck and killed by a train in Wolf Prairie. This is the third wolf killed in that area by a train.
Helicopter capture and radio-collaring operations began in Yellowstone National Park on the 14th. Eight wolves have been captured. WS Wolf Specialist Niemeyer is assisting with darting operations.
Wolves are dispersing and we anticipate a sharp increase in new wolf pack formation. Please report wolf sightings so that we can focus aircraft searches or our track surveys this winter.
A big thanks to Red Rock Lakes Refuge manager Danny Gomez and his staff for thinking of the wolf project by sending us 2 surplus snowmobiles. The snowmobiles are in excellent shape and will be used to search for newly establishing pairs. We will be looking at areas where we have received a concentration of sightings usually with multiple animals. We have a number of places to search this winter.
Meier and Boyd completed the rough draft of the 1999 annual report and it is being reviewed by agency biologists . It will summarize all depredations, wolf numbers, and contain a map of pack territories in MT, ID, and WY. We hope to have it reviewed and finalized by February 1.