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Jureano Mountain pack down to just two or three?
Wildhorse Pack disperses?

Dec. 10, 2002


In early December USFWS personnel discovered the body of wolf B134F on Salmon River Mountain near the abandoned Bear Trap Mine near Salmon National Forest road 242, She had been illegally shot, probably in the previous 2 weeks.

After the "control" of the pack this summer subsequent to their sporadic depredation on cow calves at the base of Salmon River Mountain, the pack had been reduced to the alpha male, a 2-3 year old female (134F) and two pups. The male (B106M) and the pup have radio collars as did 134. This may be the second time the pack has almost been wiped out by legal (control) killing followed by illegal killed. The pack was essentially destroyed in the summer of 1999, but was regenerated when an adult female (B46F) that had left the pack in 1997 returned to the to the pack's empty den in early 2000 with a mate and whelped at least 6 pups.

Despite the now official size of the pack now at 2 or 3 wolves, a usually reliable rancher in the area has recently reported the tracks of 7 wolves in the area. Carter Niemeyer, Idaho wolf coordinator for the USFWS told me that this area will always have wolves except for short periods because there are many wolves nearby and Salmon River Mountain is good habitat for wolves. As if to underscore the point, a lone wolf has been reported to be frequenting the Salmon River Road at the base of Salmon River Mountain between North Fork and Shoup, Idaho


Earlier stories: 9-18-2002. Jureano Mountain wolf pack breeches the fladry, but the fladry is seen as a partial success.

10-10-2002. Idaho wolf numbers: end of the increase? The first part of this article deals with the control of the Jureano Mountain pack.


In other news, the Wildhorse Pack, a favorite because of its visibility in the Copper Basin area of the Pioneer Mountains between Mackay and Ketchum, Idaho, might have disintegrated. Last winter the alpha female died of natural causes. As a result the 2-year old pack had no pups this spring, and the pack began to range widely from Copper Basin on the east, to Craters of the Moon National Monument on the south, to the Smoky Mountains, and the Big Wood River Valley on the west and north.

In recent flight, no signals from the pack, mortality signals or otherwise,  have been recorded, with one exception, wolf B2M. He was located in the East Fork of the Salmon, a favorite area for past wolf packs. B2M is an amazing wolf. He was an old wolf when released from Alberta on the Salmon River in 1995. It took him a long time to find a mate a form a pack. He is now 10-11 years old.

Other, scattered members of the pack were last recorded near the headquarters of the Sawtooth National Recreation area 20 miles north of Ketchum late last summer. Almost all of the members of the pack were radio collared.

The Wildhorse Pack was not just a visible pack, it was also a good pack regarding livestock. Its territory was in one of the most densely stocked areas of cattle and sheep in the Idaho mountains, yet it killed just one cow calf and perhaps some sheep, although the cause of the sheep deaths was never confirmed.


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  Copyright 2002 Ralph Maughan

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Ralph Maughan PO Box 8264, Pocatello, ID 83209