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Idaho Wolf Update. May to June

June 2, 2002

Here is the latest Idaho wolf update as written by the Nez Perce tribal wolf recovery team

Ralph Maughan


As the wolf population continues to expand, an increased number of wolves will be uncollared compounding the difficult task of documenting formation of new packs. The Wolf Recovery Program relies on wolf sighting reports from the public to identify potential areas to survey for new wolf pack activity. Past reports of wolf activity that we have received have led to the documentation of the Wildhorse and Gold Fork packs. We are currently working with residents in areas around Riggins, Fairfield, and Salmon, Idaho, and Alta, Montana to document the status of reported wolf activity. We are also planning to initiate similar efforts in the Horseshoe Bend area. We would like to thank all those who have taken the time to report observed wolf activity and are hopeful that continued help from the public will result in confirmation of additional wolf packs. The Recovery Program encourages the public to report all sightings of wolves or their sign. Sightings can be reported to the Recovery Program by mail at Gray Wolf Recovery Program, Nez Perce Tribe, P.O. Box 1922, McCall, ID 83638, or by phone at (208) 634-1061, or by email at ; or Carter Niemeyer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Rm 368, Boise, ID 83709, (208) 378-5347.

Tribal crews are now in the field documenting the reproductive status of wolf packs across Idaho. Determining the denning status of wolves from aerial surveys has been more difficult than in past years. Numerous packs continue to travel widely, increasing the difficulty in identifying denning areas. Currently, of 21 documented wolf groups, 4 packs are denning, 5 packs are suspected to be denning, the status of 10 groups is unknown, and 2 groups are suspected not denning. The four packs that are denning include Jureano Mountain, Landmark, Selway, and B93/95 which has been named the Buffalo Ridge pack. Packs suspected of denning include Big Hole, Gold Fork, Kelly Creek, and Marble Mountain. and B10. Gospel Hump, Moyer Basin, Orphan, Scott Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Twin Peaks, Wolf Fang, B67, and B100. The Wildhorse pack and B45F are believed not to be denning.

Wolf surveys documented additional wolf sign in the Fairfield area. Tribal and Wildlife Services trappers will attempt to capture and radio collar wolves in this area next week.

Wildlife Services Rick Williamson and Tribal biologist Adam Gall captured and radio collared a subadult wolf north of the Hill City Area, in response to depredation on sheep (See Management and Control). There are no known wolf packs in this area. This newly collared wolf will be monitored to help document the status of wolf activity in this area.

Outreach, Information, Education, & Coordination

Outreach priorities during this time of year focus on informing rural communities, agencies, and potentially affected landowners of known wolf activity in new areas across the state; soliciting the public's assistance to document new un-collared packs across the state; and providing information to the public about wolves and the Wolf Recovery Program through updates and progress reports. All of these efforts are prioritized according to availability of time, staff, and funding.

Management & Control

Recovery Program personnel continue to work with area livestock producers to minimize wolf depredations on livestock.

Wildlife Services confirmed wolf predation on 2 ewes and 2 lambs from two different sheep bands north of the Hill City Area. No known wolf packs use this area. A control action was implemented to capture, collar, and release wolves on site to help the project document the status of wolf activity in this area. Rick Williamson of Wildlife Services and Adam Gall of the Nez Perce Tribe captured and released one subadult male wolf. The control action was terminated after no additional wolves were captured and no fresh wolf sign was observed in and around the sheep bands. No further control actions are planned unless further livestock depredations are confirmed. The newly collared wolf will be monitored closely to determine the status of wolf activity in the area. This information will be helpful in efforts to document additional wolf packs and to assist in future management actions should wolf depredations on livestock continue.

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  Copyright 2002 Ralph Maughan

Not to be reprinted, archived, redistributed, etc., without permission.  
Ralph Maughan PO Box 8264, Pocatello, ID 83209