Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report

Weeks of February 8 - February 21, 2003


NEW WEB ADDRESS - See for maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, and summaries of scientific studies.

The Red Shale Pack (14 wolves) has been sighted on the east front of the Rockies west of Choteau. This pack spends most of its time in the North Fork of the Sun River, but apparently travels across the front ranges to the east side. There hasn't a pack of wolves on the east front that wasn't eventually eliminated because of chronic cattle depredations, so we hope these wolves remain in the wilderness.

The Nez Perce Tribe hired Isaac Babcock and Jon Trapp to conduct winter searches for suspected uncollared packs. Four areas are being searched. An unradioed pack of 10-11 wolves was found in the Morgan Creek area north of Challis, ID, An unradioed pack of 3-4 wolves was found in upper Lolo Creek near Kamiah. The Slate Creek area north of Riggins and the upper reaches of the Boise River are still being surveyed.

Isaac Babcock is in the Big Creek area now, helping with the Univ. Idaho wolf/lion/ungulate research program and Jim and Holly Akinson. Radio contact with the Chamberlain Basin pack was lost a year ago and Isaac is attempting to trap and radio a pack member.

On the 7th, the Nez Perce pack couldn't be located anywhere near the Jackson, WY area. Over the weekend graduate students with the MSU elk/wolf study in the middle of Yellowstone National Park and the pack's normal territory reported ""their back..."

Yellowstone National Park biologists caught 8 wolves in 4 packs on Feb. 12th & 13th. Geode (2 caught including alpha female and beta male), a Druid sub-group (2 young males), Cougar Creek (2 males including alpha male), and Nez Perce (2 pups, one male one female). Good job.

Please report any sightings of wolf activity to the nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state Fish and Game Agency, Forest Service, BLM, Tribal, or USDA Wildlife Services office. We thank everyone for their cooperation.

Livestock Depredations & Management (control)

Wildlife Service's investigated a report of a possible wolf-killed calf on the 10th several miles north of Red Lodge, MT. A wolf might have been there but there was not enough evidence to know what happened. On about the 18th a rancher closer to Red Lodge who had depredations last year reported a suspected wolf kill but not enough evidence was left to confirm anything. The rancher reported seeing two gray wolves harassing a mare/foal about the same time frame and fired shots over their heads and scared them away. On the 19th he reported another probable calf kill and preserved the evidence. Wildlife Service confirmed it was a wolf kill on the 20th. Three wolves are believed to be in the Red Lodge pack but up to 5 were seen last summer when a cow and other calves were killed by that pack. Lethal control for up to 5 wolves was authorized.

In Meeteetse, WY a calf was confirmed killed by 2 wolves. The radio from the Grey Bull river pack was located in a distant location. WS was authorized to kill up to two wolves in the immediate area of the depredation.

A rancher in the Paradise Valley legally shot two uncollared wolves [out of 3] [2-yr-old male and female pup] in his cattle/calving pasture on the 12th. He had a shoot-on-sight permit for up to 2 wolves that were on private land and near his livestock. LE investigated and confirmed that all the permit conditions had been met. Control on the Mill Creek pack [now down to 2-4 wolves] has ended unless other depredations are confirmed. Asher met with a neighboring rancher and fencing contractor to investigate building a more secure night pen for his sheep.

The Taylor Peak wolves [2 adult and 2 pups- 2 radioed] harassed a mule in the Madison Valley on the 17th. Asher and WS investigated on the 18th and wolf tracks were abundant. The mule had a deep cut on its leg, a wire cut, that it probably received while dogging the wolves. The rancher was provided cracker shells and a receiver in case the wolves came back. The pack then went further down the valley and got into a fight with several dogs through a kennel fence but none of the dogs were injured.

The rancher who has lost several llamas to wolves in the Ninemile Valley reported that a pair of wolves have been seen hanging around the area on several occasions recently. The llamas reacted to the presence of the wolves, and she is concerned there will be trouble. Attempts may be made to haze the wolves, or to trap and collar them. They appear to be a splinter group off the Ninemile Pack. The collared Ninemile wolves seem to be staying higher up in the valley. Volunteers from the Univ. Montana will receive rubber bullet training and might respond if the problem persists.

WS confirmed that a calf was killed by 2 wolves on private property north of Mackay, ID on the 15th. Another calf carcasses found 3 days previously was classified as probable and one from 10 days ago was mainly consumed but a possible wolf kill. No radioed wolves were found and snares were set in an attempt to collar a wolf. On the morning of the 18th a 2-3 yr-old male gray wolf was seen in that vicinity and it was shot by WS that afternoon. It had calf hair in its stomach. A second wolf had been reported but aerial searches on the 18th and 19th did not locate it. Control is terminated unless other depredations are confirmed.


Tom Meier et al. are finishing work on for the 2002 annual interagency wolf report. The 60 page draft was completed, and sent to more than 30 reviewers. The report will be finalized by March 3. Approximately 1000 hard copies are distributed, and it will also be available online in March.

Jimenez completed the 2002 Progress Report on wolf/elk interactions on state managed feed grounds in Wyoming. The 11 page report covering the past three years of field can be obtained at .

Information, Education & Law Enforcement

Fontaine was on a detail to help with the Partners for Wildlife Program in Washington D.C. Feb 10-22.

Meier checked out a report of a possible road-killed wolf near Olney MT but it turned out to be a large dog.

On February 12, Niemeyer met with representatives of Defenders of Wildlife, the ranching community, the medical profession, the insurance profession, a state senator and others in Tuscon, Arizona, to discuss and develop an insurance model that could resolve rancher/wolf conflicts and possibly provide potential solutions to rural West ranching community and environmental problems. An abstract of the concept will be presented at the April Interagency Wolf Conference at Chico. The first meeting was very productive and all participants identified problems to be resolved that will help in the modeling process.

On February 19, Niemeyer and Mack met with 40 ranchers, BLM and Forest Service representatives in Grangeville, Idaho. During the 4-hour presentation, the group was informed about the wolf recovery program, the Final Rule, reclassification and delisting. Niemeyer presented two slide series on recognizing wolf depredations, protecting kill sites and applying non-lethal tools to ranchers. Mack gave an update on wolf biology, pack activities and wolf population dynamics in Idaho Three Wildlife Services personnel were in attendance and ranchers were encouraged to communicate wolf sightings and depredations to the management agencies. Attendees were cordial, appreciative and felt that the program was very informative. BLM set up this outreach opportunity.

Smith talked to about 25 students form the British Columbia Institute of Technology on the 18th. On the 22nd he will talk with a tour group from the International Wolf Center in Mammoth.

On the 11th Bangs, talked to about 30 students at an UM natural resource policy class. That afternoon he discussed analyzing public comment on a wolf delisting proposal with the Content Analysis Team with the U.S.D.A. Forest Service in Missoula, MT.

The CENTRAL ROCKIES WOLF PROJECT is pleased to announce that registration has begun for the WORLD WOLF CONGRESS 2003 - BRIDGING SCIENCE AND COMMUNITY, to be held at the Banff Centre (Banff, Canada) from September 25-28, 2003. Please visit for complete information.

Call for papers: Papers are now being accepted for the 2003 North American Interagency Wolf Conference, April 8 - 10, 2003 at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, MT. The theme this year is wolf/ungulate relationships. Please submit a one page single spaced abstract which includes your full contact information, affiliations, and authors, by email to Joseph Fontaine at . Please submit a digital picture related to your research or topic to include in the agenda and on the website. We can also scan images sent by mail. Registration for the conference will begin November 1, 2002 and you may contact Suzanne Laverty at for details. The registration secure website is

The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at 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 -

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