Recent official Idaho and Montana wolf news

Below are the most recent reports put out by Idaho Fish and Game and Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks.



To:                   Idaho Fish and Game Staff and Cooperators

From:               IDFG Wolf Program Coordinator, Steve Nadeau

Subject:           Status of Gray Wolf Management, Week of May 31 – June 14, 2008

Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) were delisted on March 28, 2008.  The USFWS successfully recovered and delisted the population with the help of state, federal, tribal and non government partners.  Management of these wolves now resides with the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.  The 2002 legislatively approved Wolf Conservation and Management Plan along with the March 2008 Idaho Fish and Game Wolf Population Management Plan, as well as the laws and policies of the state now govern wolf management in Idaho.  Wolves are now listed as a big game animal in Idaho and protected under the laws and policies of the State of Idaho.

Once wolves were delisted, the USFWS decided to discontinue the publication of the NRM wolf weekly.  Instead, for the time being, Idaho will continue publishing the Idaho specific wolf weekly.  IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO PUBLISH A WEEKLY EVERY FRIDAY THEREFORE AT TIMES WE WILL BE PUBLISHING A BIWEEKLY THAT WILL BE POSTED ON THE WEBSITE.  Along with the USFWS, contributors to the weekly historically have included the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the states of Idaho and Montana.  Wyoming was reported on by the USFWS.  You may review past wolf weekly publications on our wolf webpage and links along with all pertinent and updated wolf information and publications at:


Isaac Babcock (NPT) verified a min. of 6 gray pups with the B315 group, making them a newly documented pack (Snake River pack).  He also has recorded 3 pups (2 black, 1 gray) with the B290 group (newly documented Hornet Ck. pack).  Finally, Blue Bunch pack has a min. of 4 gray pups.

Jim Holyan (NPT) observed B327 (GPS radiocollared wolf occupying the “former” Orphan pack home range) alone on 6/5; every sighting of this individual he has been alone, despite one aerial this past winter.  Holyan also saw female B249 (Stolle Meadows pack) and was barked/howled at for ~10 mins., but no evidence of other wolves was detected in the area.

Jason Husseman was able to get two new collars in the Hoodoo pack this week, a yearling black male and an adult (2-3?) black male.  He also confirmed reproduction based on howling (2-plus) and observation of a lactating female.

Carter Niemeyer caught a subadult male, gray wolf along the Grandjean road yesterday.

It was traveling with at least 2 other wolves and, from looking at Argos data from the area, appears it’s a different pack than Warm Springs. Carter named it Wapiti.

On June 8, Michael Lucid verified multiple pups in the Steel Mt. pack.

On June 9, Michael attempted to verify reproduction in the Thorn Creek pack.

On June 12, Michael verified 2 gray pups in the Applejack pack.

IDFG elk researchers trapped a 2-year-old female wolf May 31 and fitted her with a vhf radio collar.  She was captured near 4th of July Creek on the North Fork of the Clearwater.  They are not sure which pack she belongs to but will determine such based on future locations.

An employee of the USFS photographed and verified 6 pups in the Kilgore area of eastern Idaho.  These are likely members of the Bishop Mt. pack but further work will be needed to verify their affiliation.

Also, one quick amusing story from Jason: “I was woken up Tuesday about midnight to a noise right outside my tent, which I immediately dismissed as a rodent, and tried to go back to sleep.  However, about a minute later I heard the sound of plastic crunching as something was picking up one of the 2.5 gallon water jugs just outside my tent door.  I immediately thought “bear”, and clapped my hands and yelled to run it off.  I waited a bit to see what would happen, and shortly after I heard the plastic jug crunching about 20 yards above my tent.  I reluctantly decided to brave the cold rain coming down and run this critter off, so I put my headlamp on and got out to go to my truck for a bigger flashlight.  One quick glance up hill in my headlamp on the way to the truck revealed two green-yellow glowing eyes attached to a prone black form.  I got the flashlight and walked towards the glowing eyes, and as I got to 20 yards or so could make out the shape of a youngish looking black wolf.  He laid there until I started yelling, then finally got up and walked slowly up the hill.  I eventually got him chased off, and then went to retrieve my water jug, which turns out was the nearly full one.  Also, in addition to taking my water, I found my catch pole laying there, which apparently was the source of the first noise that initially woke me up and another item this wolf apparently was interested in.  The jug was pretty well chewed up in the short time my visitor was there, and I now have a nice memento with perfect canine bite impressions to remember him by.”  Editor’s Note: Wolves can usually be easily scared away from camps day or night by yelling, banging pots, using noise makers, pepper spray etc.., but similar to all carnivores they may be attracted to camps by the smell of foods, meat hanging, scents around camp, dogs, etc..  They may also be using the area you are visiting as a rendezvous site.  To avoid conflicts with wolves, bears, and other wildlife, please keep a clean camp and store food in a hard sided vehicle or hang between 2 trees 10 feet off the ground, or use bear resistant containers.  Please report any incident to your nearest Fish and Game office or online at:


On 6/2, WS confirmed that wolves killed 18 sheep, all lambs, and injured a number of others, on private land north of Carey.  This property neighbors the ranch where WS confirmed 2 buck sheep and counted 13 more “probable” depredations the week before.

On 6/3, WS confirmed that wolves from the Pass Creek pack killed a calf on Salmon-Challis National Forest land along the East Fork of the Salmon River.  WS found another carcass that was consumed to the point where only a “probable” wolf depredation could be determined.  The producer is missing 8 more calves.  To date, WS has confirmed that the Pass Creek wolves have killed 5 calves and probably killed 1 calf this spring.

On 6/3, WS investigated a report that wolves had killed a calf on private land near Howe.  WS determined that the calf died of causes other than predation.

On 6/3, WS investigated a report that wolves had injured a calf on private land near Orifino.  WS determined that the calf had probably been attacked by coyotes.

On 6/4, WS confirmed that a wolf killed a sheep on private land on Hunter Creek.  WS captured and killed a sub-adult, gray, female wolf about a half mile from the depredation site.

On 6/5, a WS f/w aircrew was able to shoot and kill 2 wolves (1 sub-adult gray female and 1 adult gray male) on the same private ranch where we confirmed 2 bucks and had 13 more that were probable wolf kills a week earlier.

On 6/6, WS confirmed that wolves killed a 700 lb. calf on the same private ranch where we had multiple confirmed wolf depredations last year.  On 6/11, WS confirmed that a wolf killed another calf on the same ranch.  The only wolf in the area appears to be B-327.

On 6/6, WS captured and killed an adult, gray male wolf near the depredation site where WS confirmed 33 sheep killed a week earlier near Alexander Flats in the Boise National Forest.

On 6/7, WS investigated a report that wolves had killed a calf on private land along the Weiser River near Midvale.  WS could not determine a cause of death.

On 6/8, WS investigated a report that wolves killed several sheep on private land near Carey.  WS determined that a bear was responsible for the depredation.

On 6/10, WS confirmed that wolves killed 2 calves on private land north of Carey.  While it is not the same property, it is the same general area where WS has confirmed 2 different depredations on sheep and has removed 2 wolves earlier this spring.

On 6/12, WS confirmed that a wolf killed a ewe on State Land in 4th of July Creek just north of Obsidian.  This is in the Galena Pack’s territory.  Traps are being set today.

On 6/13, WS confirmed that a wolf killed a lamb on BLM land at the upper end of the Pahsimeroi River.  A WS aircrew found five animals from the Double Springs pack approximately two miles from the depredation site that morning.  


No word as of yet regarding the injunction court hearing on wolf delisting held May 28 in Missoula.

Information and Education

June 6 Michael Lucid gave a presentation on wolf ecology and local packs to 50 people at a Community Update meeting sponsered by the USFS Lowman Ranger District in Lowman, ID.

June 10 Michael gave a presentation on wolf ecology to 20 members of a Current Issues in Agriculture class at the Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, OR.

We also would like to remind people that when wolves are in the area, please be aware that they may attack or injure dogs.  It often helps to keep dogs in kennels or inside buildings at night and to not let them roam freely when humans are not around.  When fresh wolf sign is found, place dogs on restraints and keep supervised.  The state law allows individuals to harass or kill a wolf attacking or molesting their domestic animals including pets.  If you are having concerns or problems with wolves close to your residence, please inform the Fish and Game Office nearest you.

Please help us manage wolves by reporting wolf sightings on our Fish and Game observation form found at:




To: Interested Parties

From: MFWP Wolf Program Coordinator, Carolyn Sime

Subject: Wolf Program Activities and Related Information, June 6

Contributors to the Montana Wolf Weekly are Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), Universities, USDA Wildlife Services (WS), the National Park Service (NPS; Glacier NP; Yellowstone National Park will be reported in the Wyoming Wolf Weekly), US Forest Service, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and the Blackfeet Nation.

Highlighted activities relate to: monitoring, wolf – livestock interactions, outreach and education, research, law enforcement, and other miscellaneous topics of public interest. The Weekly Report will be available on each Monday, covering the previous week. It and other wolf program information (including the 2007 annual report) can be found at:

Wolf Monitoring Activities

Summer field work and trapping efforts are back underway after weather delays. Bradley and
Smucker are working at the south end of the Bitterroot. Asher has been working in the Paradise
Valley. Laudon has been working in the Swan Valley, and Ross has been working in Gravelly’s.

Wolf – Livestock Activities

On the 9th, WS confirmed that wolves had killed a herding dog on private land north of Helena. FWP and WS suspect this is a new pair with pups based on reports from the herder and two
mounds of dirt. WS was asked to collar and release an adult wolf to gather more information. Traps had been set, though pulled 1-2 days later due to cold temperatures and forecasted rain/snow. Efforts are now back underway.

On the 10th, WS confirmed 12 domestic sheep were killed by wolves on private land in the East Fork of the Blacktail south of Dillon. This is the same property where wolves had killed 15 sheep, probably killed two, and injured 14 on May 26th. Previously, 6 sheep were confirmed killed by the Freezeout pack on May 9th. Due to continued depredations in May, lethal control had been authorized and WS killed 3 adult wolves in very close the sheep on May 29th. These 2 additional losses in June led FWP to decide to remove the remaining members of the Freezeout pack.

WS investigated a report of a dead llama north of Whitefish and determined it was not killed by a predator.

Efforts to remove wolves from the Willow Creek concluded on June 7. After losses on private lands, the large pack was reduced by 5 earlier this spring and no further livestock losses have been confirmed since then.

Outreach and Education Activities

On the 10th, Sime gave a presentation about the MT wolf program at a course sponsored by the
USFS called “People, Economics, and Forest Carnivore Management.” About 30 people in mid and
senior leadership positions from a variety of state and federal agencies took the course.

On the 13th, Sime gave an update at the Montana Stockgrowers mid-summer meeting. She covered the status of litigation, development of a wolf hunting season, and upcoming opportunities for public comment. About 75 people attended. WS State Director Steuber also gave an update and George Edwards (Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Program) and other staff from WS also attended.

The Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Program has begun receiving claims and making payments to Montana livestock owners who have had confirmed or probable losses due to wolf predation. A total of five claims have been paid to date and a few others are in the process. Claims have been received for cattle, sheep, and an adult horse. If you’d like more information, contact George Edwards at 444-5609.

Research Activities

Nothing to report.

Law Enforcement and Related Activities

FWP retrieved a dead wolf on June 13, on the northeast end of Paradise valley. Wolf SW 028M
had been missing for a year from the Mission creek pack. Cause of death seems to be natural as
the animal had sign of severe mange.


Wolf Litigation: On May 29th, Judge Malloy heard oral arguments in regards to a request for a preliminary injunction (would place the species back under federal regulations) while the main
Northern Rockies delisting litigation proceeds. As of Friday June 13, no ruling had been issued.

On June 12, the FWP Commission considered a proposal to establish a quota for a wolf season in
the fall of 2008, pending a federal court ruling on a request for an preliminary injunction. The 3 Commission approved a tentative wolf hunting quota of 75 wolves statewide and is requesting
public comment. Last February, Commission had previously approved the structure of a wolf
hunting season, including creation of three wolf management units. The proposed statewide
quota would be as follows: 38 in Northern Montana’s wolf management unit 1, with a subquota
of two wolves in the North Fork Flathead Subunit; 22 wolves in Western Montana’s wolf management unit 2; and 15 in Southwestern Montana’s wolf management unit 3. .

To comment, go to the FWP web site at on the Hunting page and click on the red links.

Comments may be mailed to: FWP-Wildlife Division, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box 200701, Helena,
MT. 59620-0701. FWP is accepting public comment through July 18th.

To learn more about Montana’s recovered wolf population, the Montana program and to help
FWP monitor wolves by reporting wolf sign, visit FWP at:

To request an investigation of injured or dead livestock, call USDA Wildlife Services directly in western Montana / Helena area at 458-0106 or in eastern Montana / Columbus area at: 322-4303. Or call your nearest FWP representative to have your call referred to Wildlife Services.

To anonymously report a dead or injured wolf or suspected illegal activity, call: 1-800-TIPMONT.



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  1. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    “On 6/12, WS confirmed that a wolf killed a ewe on State Land in 4th of July Creek just north of Obsidian. This is in the Galena Pack’s territory. Traps are being set today.”

    While this incident is located on State land, this is still the region of the SNRA and is it not subject to the court ruling of several years ago that reaffirms wildlife precedence? I suppose it depends on where the traps are set. Does anyone know more about this? Lynne?

    This is definitely the Galena Pack. The sheep were put out on the state land section. This is the 640 acres the state put a big gravel operation on in contradiction to SNRA management. This state section has always been a sore point in many ways as I’m sure you know, Matt. I don’t think the state believes it is subject to any SNRA priorities.

    I’m calling today about it. Ralph Maughan

  2. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    75 have to go during fall. Surely an impressive sight, those winter pelts decorated in a rustic living room. Hope the colours do not mismatch (Sorry for sometimes being cynical).

  3. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    I’m well aware that bit of land has caused some trouble! I wasn’t sure if this was the same lot where the gravel pit is. I may try to give IDF&G a call as well, if that might help…

  4. Devin Avatar

    Is there anywhere I can find a map of where the different pack territories are in Idaho? I’d love to go hiking and possibly see a pack or two this summer and photograph some before the hunt decreases their numbers this fall….Also, as to this story, I have a huge problem with the ranchers that complain about an animal of theirs falling victim to a wolf attack. Why are the wolves shot/trapped because of this? Public land is not the ranchers land and the wolf should have more presidence than some ewe. I’m pretty sure that the ranchers knew the risks before they put their herds out. Last time I checked this array of livestock was non-existent before Pre-Columbian times!!!

  5. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    If you scroll up to and click the IDFG link above and then look on the right hand side of their wolf page you will find a printable wolf activity map for 2007.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan