Nov 30

ID: ‘Super pack’ not in Idaho, officials say

Wolf pack photo taken in Canadian national park

by KATHERINE WUTZ


In this photo being circulated on the Internet, a group of 25 wolves walks through an area identified as Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada. Photo by Chadden Hunter, courtesy of Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Another widely circulated wolf photo that seems just wild enough to be true has proven false, say state wildlife officials.

The photo shows 25 wolves traveling in a line, with a label identifying it as having been taken in Soda Springs, Idaho, outside of Pocatello. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said the photo has been circulating on the Internet for three weeks, claiming to have been taken in other areas of the state such as Weippe.

John Gaither, president of the Idaho County Sportsmen Club in Grangeville, Idaho, forwarded the photo to the Idaho Mountain Express last week, with a note calling the exceptionally large group of wolves a “super pack.”

Gaither said in an interview Monday that his club has received several calls from hunters who have seen wolves in the Soda Springs area. However, he added, it doesn’t much matter where the photo was taken—it’s still a cause for concern.

“I don’t know where [the photo] is from,” he said. “It could be from Mars. But that’s still a big pack of wolves.”

Department Big Game Manager John Rachael said in an email that the location of the photo was eventually traced to Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada. Chadden Hunter, a BBC photographer, said in an e-mail that he took the shot while filming the company’s “Frozen Planet” series in Feb 2010.

Even if the original source had not been found, there are a few holes in the validity of the photo and the “super pack” label, said Neils Nokkentved, spokesman for Fish and Game. What caught officials’ attention is that the photo’s stated location, Soda Springs, is in a part of Idaho where wolves are uncommon.

“I don’t think anyone has ever seen a wolf over there,” Nokkentved said.

A 2010 report on wolf activity conducted by the Nez Perce tribe, which monitored and managed gray wolves through much of the year when the state pulled out of wolf management, states that there are no documented packs in the Southern Idaho Region, which includes Soda Springs.

“There aren’t any wolves in Soda Springs that I’m aware of,” John Rachael, big game manager of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said in an email. “This is getting beyond laughable. Soda Springs? You’re making that up, right?”

Rachael said the first email he saw containing the photo claimed the pack was located in Weippe, Idaho—more than 560 miles from Soda Springs, in the Dworshak-Elk City region.

In 2010, there were about 32 wolves in 11 packs in that region, leaving an average of roughly three wolves per pack. Even if there were one pack that large, that 25-wolf pack would leave seven wolves in the entire region to be dispersed over the remaining documented 10 packs in the region—and lone wolves are not counted as packs.

The average wolf pack in Idaho contains eight to 10 wolves, said Garrick Dutcher, spokesman for wolf advocacy group Living with Wolves. As for the term “super pack,” Dutcher said the term is in fact not used by “real wolf experts” as Gaither claimed in an email to the Idaho Mountain Express. Dutcher added that it is unlikely the group was made of several packs traveling together.

Dutcher said there have been packs, such as the Druid Peak Pack in Yellowstone National Park, that have reached up to 35 wolves.

“Usually packs this large are the result of multiple litters being born within the same pack in one year and a very large, accessible prey base,” Rachael said.

However, he added, it’s very rare for a pack this size to have wolves that are all the same color, further casting doubt on the photo being located in the United States.

Gaither said that no matter where the photo was taken, it calls attention to the danger of having wolves in Idaho, which is why he forwarded the photo.

“What a lot of people don’t understand about wolves is that even though no one has been killed in this state is because there just weren’t that many,” he said. “Everywhere there are wolves, people get killed by wolves. The reason for the big-bad-wolf stories is because wolves kill people.”

However, Dutcher said a pack this large, even if it was in Idaho, is not cause for alarm. In fact, Dutcher said large packs are more effective at pulling down larger prey, reducing the number of livestock depredations.

“There’s nothing to fear about a large pack,” he said. “They can live together in large social units. That’s not something that should strike fear in people, rather amazement.”

Source

Nov 30

ID: Elusive wolf shot by hunter near Carey

Alpha female had survived 3 kill orders

by KATHERINE WUTZ

A wolf whose pack was determined to have killed a calf on the Flat Top Ranch near Carey this summer was shot Sunday by a hunter in the Little Wood River drainage.

The black female, known as B4-12 was the alpha of the Bell Mountain Pack near Carey.

Jerome Hansen, Idaho Department of Fish and Game regional supervisor, said the female was the 15th wolf killed so far in the Southern Mountains Zone, which encompasses the Big and Little Wood drainages.

“I don’t know the exact location,” he said, but added that the wolf was killed somewhere near Baugh Creek by a hunter, rather than as a control action by the Idaho Department of Wildlife Services.

Hansen said the area is a mosaic of private and Forest Service-managed and BLM-managed federal land. The nearby Flat Top Ranch provides access to the area, but owner John Peavey said he hadn’t heard about the incident.

Hansen said the hunter had a tag and reported the animal to officials. He said the wolf was an 83-pound full-grown adult with a radio collar.

Ordinarily, one of 15 wolves killed this season would be business as usual to wolf advocates. But local activist Lynne Stone said this wolf had a compelling story.

“I was so hoping she could stay hidden and stay high,” Stone said, adding that she prayed this wolf would survive the season.

According to Stone and local wolf observer Natalie Ertz, this female wolf had survived three separate kill orders in different locations before being shot by the hunter this weekend.

The first kill order was issued by the Department of Fish and Game on the Soldier Mountain Pack near Fairfield, where the wolf was first tracked and collared. The wolf was identifiable through missing toes on one foot, where she had been caught in a coyote trap in 2008 and attempted to chew her way out, Stone said.

Ertz said in September that the wolf had actually been caught in coyote traps on three occasions and suffered an injury to another front leg, which caused her to limp.

“She’s had a really tough life,” Ertz said. “This is a wolf that has clearly survived a lot.”

Stone said the wolf left her pack in the Soldier Mountains in 2009 after two of her six pups and a fellow adult pack member were killed. In the fall of 2009, the wolf disappeared from state radar despite her radio collar, not to appear again until January 2011.

“A lot of people thought she was dead,” Stone said. “[Then] on New Year’s Day 2011, I saw her walking up a big mountain.”

The wolf remained without incident until August, when John Peavey said the Bell Mountain pack attacked and killed a calf on his Flat Top Ranch. Though four additional sheep deaths were determined to be by coyotes, Idaho Wildlife Services determined the calf was killed by a wolf in the area.

“This was pretty obvious, especially as the collared wolf was standing right there,” said Todd Grimm, district manager for the federal Wildlife Services agency, in September.

B4-12 survived that kill order, which took a total of three wolves, including a yearling black wolf that Stone said had come with the wolf from her former pack in Fairfield.

Grimm said the order left the collared alpha, one other adult and an estimated three to four pups unharmed.

Defenders of Wildlife spokeswoman Suzanne Stone said the alpha female had at least two pups still in a den when she was killed this weekend.

“It’s a hard time to lose their mother,” she said. “They would only be about 6 months of age right now, and wolves don’t start hunting on their own until 10 months.”

Though the proximity of hunters often prompts wolves to leave an area, Lynne Stone said she wasn’t convinced this pack would leave. When the control order in August took three of the pack, Stone said she and friends heard the remainder of the pack howling in the same area a few nights later.

“They stay and they howl and they grieve and they look for their mother or their sibling,” she said. “If a wolf could be crying, they were crying that night.”

Source

Nov 29

OR: Jenson airs wolf bill concept

By MITCH LIES
Capital Press

SALEM — A bill giving ranchers a state tax credit or tax deduction to compensate for livestock losses to wolves and cougars could be introduced in the February legislative session.

Rep. Bob Jenson, R-Pendleton, introduced the concept last month in a House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meeting. Jenson is co-chair of the committee.

Under Jenson’s bill, livestock owners would be eligible for the tax credit or deduction for losses from any predator afforded protections under state law.

Cougars are included because of restrictions on using dogs to hunt the animals. Wolves are protected under the state Endangered Species Act.

Jenson said he is looking for ways to compensate livestock owners outside of the wolf compensation fund.

“There is not much money in that compensation fund, and getting any money for the fund this next session will be nigh on impossible,” Jenson said.

“So I’m looking for some way to provide some compensation for people who are having to eat the loss that comes with having an increased number of predators out there,” Jenson said. “It seems only fair.”

The wolf compensation fund, authorized by the 2011 Legislature, contains $100,000. It will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning next year. To be eligible, ranchers must obtain a determination from state wildlife agents that wolves caused livestock losses.

Under Jenson’s bill, a determination from USDA wildlife agents that wolves or cougars caused livestock losses is sufficient.

Jenson said he has grown more aware of concerns with wolf depredation since buying a home in Lostine Canyon. Residents of that Wallowa County area are concerned over the presence of wolves and their impact on ranchers’ ability to raise livestock, he said.

“I’ve been thinking about what we could reasonably do, trying to find some way to work within the system, rather than continually butting our heads against the wall,” he said.

Jenson said he still is working out particulars of the bill, but hopes to have it ready to go in February. If not, he said, he will introduce it in the 2013 session.

He already has one supporter.

“I think it is a very good bill,” Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, said after hearing of it. He is Jenson’s fellow agriculture committee co-chair.

Source

Nov 29

OR: Imnaha wolves strike again

By Brian Addison
Wallowa County Chieftain

Two Zumwalt area ranchers lost cows to the Imnaha wolf pack in separate attacks sometime around the Thanksgiving holiday, state wildlife managers confirmed yesterday.

In a brief email response to the Wallowa County Chieftain on Nov. 28, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said wolves were determined responsible in both incidents.

A tracking collar indicated that the alpha male of the Imnaha pack, referred to as OR-4, was in the area at the suspected time of the attacks, according to area ranchers, who say ODFW notified them of the wolf’s proximity. The cows were preyed upon while grazing in privately owned pastureland on the Zumwalt Prairie about 25 miles east of Eggleson Corner.

Zumwalt area rancher Charity Ketscher said she went to let her dog outside Thanksgiving night and noticed that he seemed spooked by something. Wolves crossed her mind.

The next morning Ketscher and her husband, Phillip Ketscher, received a text message from ODFW notifying them that wolves were near their ranching operations. The report came as no surprise to the Ketschers because they could hear the wolves howling that morning as Charity prepared breakfast.

Not long after that message from ODFW, Ketscher’s father, Randy Warner, returning from an elk hunt on an ATV, followed wolf tracks to the carcass of one of the Ketschers’ cows.

Ketscher estimated that the wolves ate less than five pounds of meat off the cow before leaving the carcass. The site of the wolf attack was a pasture less than one-third of a mile from the Ketschers’ house.

Warner also came across the wolves during his elk hunt and said the pack came to within 100 yards of him.

On Saturday, Nov. 26, Charity grabbed her camera and took a photo of five wolves crossing property near the Ketschers’.

“It is very frustrating to me to be afraid for my kids and dogs to be safe to go out by themselves on our own property,” Charity said.

The second cow confirmed killed by wolves was a bred heifer, found about three miles east of the Ketschers, belonging to Gaylon Dawson on property owned by Bob Lathrop.

The wolves thought responsible for the latest attacks on livestock have already been identified by ODFW as reaching the level of chronic depredation on livestock and a kill order was earlier issued to remove OR-4 and two other adults from the Imnaha pack.

The Oregon Court of Appeals halted the killing of the wolves on Oct. 5 after three wildlife advocacy groups filed for and were granted a stay on the kill order. The court extended the stay order Nov. 15.

These latest cases of cattle depredation by the Imnaha pack come as the court is deciding whether to go ahead with the kill order or to halt the killing of the wolves by extending the stay indefinitely.

In its Nov. 15 extension, the court required the wildlife advocacy groups requesting the stay to post $5,000 security – money to compensate ranchers for any losses of livestock to wolves while the case is pending.

The Ketschers say that after their cow was confirmed as a wolf kill, a USDA Wildlife Services employee told them they would probably qualify for a compensation payment out of the $5,000.

Source

Nov 29

MT: Wolf shot in private property after attacking sheep in southwestern Montana

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MILES CITY, Mont. — State wildlife officials say a collared black male wolf was shot on private property after attacking sheep in southwestern Montana.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 7 spokesman Dwayne Andrews says the 2-year-old wolf was shot Sunday near Hammond.

Montana laws allow people to kill a wolf in the act of threatening, attacking or killing livestock. The USDA Wildlife Services investigated and confirmed the wolf had killed one lamb and fatally injured another that had to be put down.

The wolf was originally collared near Jackson, Wyo., in 2010, about 300 miles from where it died.

On average in the northern Rockies, wolves disperse about 60 miles, but dispersal distances of over 500 miles have been recorded.

Source

Nov 29

MT: Wolf killed in southeastern Montana had traveled far

BRETT FRENCH Of The Gazette Staff

In what is the first documented wolf incident in far southeastern Montana since reintroduction, a male black wolf was shot by a Hammond-area rancher on Sunday after it attacked his sheep.

The 1 1/2-year old wolf was far from home — 300 miles by air — which isn’t unusual, said Mike Jimenez, wolf recovery project leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Wyoming.

“It’s a prime age for dispersal,” Jimenez said, as a male seeks a breeding partner.

Although the average distance wolves will go when seeking a mate is closer to 50 to 65 miles, one wolf in 2008 traveled roughly 3,000 miles in a journey from near Bozeman to Vail, Colo. Others have been documented traveling from Idaho to Oregon and from Montana to British Columbia.

“They’re impressive when they get a mind to move,” Jimenez said.

The 98-pound wolf killed near Hammond had been collared last winter north of Jackson, Wyo., a member of the Gros Ventre wolf pack. He was listed as wolf No. 751.

A similar-looking wolf was photographed south of Miles City in late August. Reports of sightings had filtered into Fish, Wildlife and Parks offices as early as May. FWP, which is in charge of wolf management in Montana, searched the large area by airplane in October, scanning through about 125 radio-collar frequencies and finding nothing. So the wolf may have roamed the rugged cattle and sheep ranching country for months without running into trouble.

On Sunday, rancher Duane Talcott saw the wolf attacking his sheep in what he described as an unbelievable, almost dreamlike experience.

“It was the last thing I expected to see that morning,” he said.

After shooting the animal, Talcott contacted FWP and USDA’s Wildlife Services, which investigated on Monday and confirmed the kill was justified. The wolf had killed one ewe lamb and severely injured another that had to be euthanized.

Under state law, residents can kill wolves that threaten their livestock, pets or families.

“That’s way out there,” said John Steuber, state director for Wildlife Services. “That’s a new one for us.”

Wolf-dog hybrids and captive wolves were implicated in livestock killings in Garfield County in 2006 and 2007. The farthest east the Montana Department of Livestock has confirmed a livestock kill by a wolf is in Stillwater County, just northeast of the Beartooth Mountains and Yellowstone National Park.

“Otherwise, we have not documented anything even within 150 miles of that area,” Steuber said. “That’s not to say that damage hasn’t occurred, we just couldn’t confirm it.”

Reports of wolf sightings in southeastern Montana have circulated for years, and FWP has investigated several reports, but nothing was confirmed until No. 751 was shot.

“We don’t ever doubt that there could be some accuracy to those reports, but without confirmation we can never be sure,” said Dwayne Andrews, FWP information officer in Miles City.

Jimenez said it’s not surprising that the wolf could wander sparsely populated southeastern Montana without getting into trouble with livestock owners.

“They’re very good predators and very good scavengers,” he said.

Source

Nov 29

ID: Wolf Project Promotes Nonlethal Control In Wood River Valley

By Kimberlee Kruesi

HAILEY • For the past four years, Wood River Valley sheep haven’t been afraid of the big, bad wolf.

While the sheep will always face predators, falling victim to a wolf hasn’t been a looming concern thanks to a developing project in Blaine County.

Four years ago, Defenders of Wildlife began monitoring how many sheep were lost to wolves within the Wood River Valley. The Phantom Hill pack was moving through the county, taking sheep at higher rates than normal.

“The train wreck hit in 2007,” said Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for the wildlife group. “We were getting asked by sheep farmers what we could suggest to help keep the kills down.”

As a result, Defenders of Wildlife began encouraging the use of nonlethal ways to prevent wolf depredation incidents. The efforts focused on training ranchers about what they can do to prevent large predator kills.

And while wolf hunting is the state’s preferred method of managing wolves – and has helped drive some predators away from civilization – the nonlethal program is showing signs of success.

Stone said that wolves have killed only 20 of the 40,000 sheep that lived in the Wood River Valley over the past four years. However, the group will need more money to be effective as it plans to expand to cover all of Blaine County next year.

The program’s current $30,000 budget funds a handful of field technicians and resources for 500,000 acres in Blaine County.

Project leaders promote using multiple guard dogs, firecracker shells, shining spotlights on predators, increasing the number of range riders and tracking predator movements. Field technicians are hired to monitor wolf activity and provide supplies.

“The biggest challenge next year will be removing (sheep) carcasses throughout the entire county,” she said. “Wolves are scavengers as well as predators, so if we can get those removed quickly we lower the chances of wolf conflicts.”

The push for nonlethal options comes as Idaho’s wolf hunting season is in full swing. While Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials didn’t set a quota for this year’s hunt, hunters have killed 138 wolves thus far. In 2009, during Idaho’s inaugural wolf hunt after the species was removed from the endangered species list, hunters killed 188 wolves in all.

According to Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen, the point of the project isn’t to prove that killing wolves is wrong. It’s another part of incorporating holistic approaches to wolf management.

County commissioners have contributed $1,800 every year the project has been in place, with plans to continue the financial contribution next year.

“Livestock loss shouldn’t be an excuse to shoot wolves,” Schoen said. “In my opinion, what we can do is avoid these conflicts in the first place.”

Source

Nov 29

MT: Stevensville man advocates for wolves

By PERRY BACKUS Ravalli Republic

STEVENSVILLE – It didn’t take long for Marc Cooke to learn that being a vocal advocate for wolves would come at a price.

Not long after he stood up for the first time at a meeting in Helena about two years ago and told a group of ranchers and sportsmen that he liked wolves and wouldn’t mind if there were more in the state, the hate mail started arriving.

It was enough to shake him and his wife to the core.

“There was this guy from Lincoln who wrote that he knew where I lived,” Cooke said. “He said he knew where I worked. He said, ‘We’re going to get you.’ ”

There was a time when Cooke had his name at the end of his driveway and on his mailbox.

They aren’t there any more.

Cooke grew up on the East Coast, the son of a police officer.

“I come from a family of cops,” Cooke said. “My father always took me for long walks in the woods. I used to hunt ducks and deer, but I was never really any good at it.”

At some point along the way, Cooke said he realized he didn’t like to see things suffer and so he put his gun away.

He joined the U.S. Army and became a cook and a driver. In Germany, he met his wife Lorenza, and studied Italian cooking in Switzerland after completing his stint with the military.

After spending some time in his youthful haunts around Cape Cod, the couple moved west, first to Lolo and later to the Stevensville area.

“I always wanted to see a grizzly bear,” Cooke said.

He’s been employed with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department for the past 11 years.

“They call me wolf man,” he said. “There’s no animosity there. They all realize this is my passion. That this is what I want to do.”

The idea of doing something for wolves had been bouncing around the walls at the couple’s home for years.

“I was tired of hearing his bitching,” Lorenza said. “I told him if you feel that strongly about it, you need to get involved and do something about it.”

Two years ago, Cooke helped found the National Wolfwatcher Coalition. Today, it has five official members scattered across the country and a growing number of people who follow its moves on Facebook. The group is waiting for its official nonprofit status to be approved.

Despite its small membership, the group has made itself known. Cooke has been a fixture at Ravalli County commission meetings when wolves are on the agenda. He has traveled to Helena to make the group’s views known there, too.

Often as not, he is the only wolf advocate in the room.

“It was very intimidating at first,” he said. “I’ve spent my life living in a box filled with my colleagues and friends. This has really forced me to step outside of that box.”

“I was really nervous about speaking out at first,” Cooke said. “I’ve been in the Bob Marshall literally 30 or 40 feet away from a grizzly bear, but I was less afraid then than the first time I had to speak to a government official.”

***

Cooke believes the key to any contentious debate is to remain respectful, even when others are not.

“Getting into someone’s face never resolves anything,” he said.

Cooke said the people he represents are worried about the erosion of environmental protections created by the economic downturn in the United States. The congressional challenge to the Endangered Species Act to delist wolves is an example of that.

“I think people are really struggling in this country and corporations are saying they will create jobs, but some of the environmental laws are going to have to change,” he said.

Cooke believes federal biologists made a mistake by allowing people to think wolves would be recovered when there were 30 packs in the three-state area of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. He wishes too that wolves would not have been reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park.

“It would have been better to have let them disperse naturally,” Cooke said.

And Cooke thinks the only people that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks listens to about wolves are sportsmen and livestock producers.

“They pay me lip service,” Cooke said.

Cooke readily admits that he’s not a Montana native, but said he doesn’t remember the military asking him for those credentials when he joined.

“I served my country,” he said. “I will live any place I want. As long as I pay my taxes and follow the laws, it shouldn’t matter where I was born and raised.”

In this country, Cooke said people are allowed to voice their opinions. They should be able to do that in a civil way.

Wolves are something Cooke said he has cared about since he was a young boy and he decided he can’t stand on the sidelines any longer.

“Hope is paralysis,” Cooke said. “You can have a toothache and hope that it will go away, but nothing is going to happen until you take action and go the dentist.

“You can go to the plate and take three strikes, but if you want something to happen, you have to swing the bat.”

Source

Nov 29

WA: Commission may adopt wolf plan this week

by Bob Hoff

Washington Ag Today — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is meeting December 2nd and 3rd in Olympia and on the third will consider adoption of a plan to guide state conservation and management of gray wolves.

Key aspects of the wolf plan recommended by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife would establish recovery objectives for gray wolves in Washington, along with strategies for addressing their interaction with livestock and wildlife such as deer and elk.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife held 19 public meetings on the proposed plan and the Commission held four public workshops so there will be not additional public comments December 3rd.

Source

Nov 29

MT: 99 wolves killed so far in Montana less than half of quota

By NICK GEVOCK Montana Standard

BUTTE – Hunters across Montana had killed less than half the quota of wolves set by state biologists as of Sunday, the end of rifle season for deer and elk.

The state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks had recorded that hunters had shot 99 wolves by Sunday across 14 management units. The quota was reached in only one wolf district, the large unit that stretches from just east of Butte to the North Dakota state line.

But the total wolf kill lags well behind the 220 statewide quota state biologists set this year. The target wolf kill is the number needed to reduce predation on game animals and cut down on attacks on livestock, state biologists said.

With many hunters packing away their rifles for the season, state biologists are waiting to see how many keep going into the field, said Quentin Kujala, FWP wildlife section chief.

“The next question in my mind is whether the deer and elk season is going to be the only season for wolf?” he said.

Biologists have proposed to extend the wolf season through January beyond its scheduled closing Dec. 31 in an effort to reach the quota. The proposal will come before the FWP Commission next month.

Kujala said FWP is still in the learning phase for wolf hunting, far from the century of experience the agency has managing deer and elk. But from past seasons, including the extended hunts for elk in recent years, hunter participation drops off substantially after Thanksgiving.

And Kujala said FWP expected the bulk of the wolf harvest to come from deer and elk hunters who came across wolves by chance.

“Most hunters say ‘I’m just not going to put aside my deer and elk season for wolves,’ ” he said. “So it will be interesting to see if anybody shows up and if they’ll be effective at harvesting wolves in a season that doesn’t include other harvest opportunities.”

Howard Burt, Bozeman FWP regional wildlife manager, said the low wolf harvest reflected the season for deer and elk. He added that wolf hunting is difficult and only made more so without snow and cold temperatures.

Mike Thompson, Missoula FWP regional wildlife manager, noted that some of the wolf quotas in western Montana are far from being filled and FWP needs hunters help.

“We worked as a state pretty long and hard to try to win the management authority on wolves just like we have for other game species,” Thompson said. “Now there isn’t anybody else stopping us from achieving our objectives, except for the success of hunters themselves.”

That’s especially the case in the West Fork of the Bitterroot River, a small district with a quota of 18 wolves. As of Sunday only three wolves had been taken there.

The area’s elk herd has struggled in recent years and has shown low numbers of calves, Thompson said. Biologists are conducting a study on the herd, but have already found that predation by wolves and mountain lions are a factor.

The quota for mountain lions was raised and could be bumped up even more next year, Thompson said. He said biologists also want to kill some wolves, but this year the area was open only to 100 hunters with special permits for deer or elk.

Now Thompson said they want hunters to stay persistent and actively pursue wolves.

“We need to accomplish this harvest,” he said. “It is indeed a prescription that we want to fill and we need to measure the effect.”

For updates on the hunt, go to www.fwp.mt.gov and click on “wolf hunt.”

Source