Mar 26

Idaho increases bag limits for 2012 wolf hunt

BY TODD DVORAK
The Associated Press

BOISE — Idaho wildlife officials have agreed to boost bag limits, expand trapping and extend hunting seasons in some areas to help further reduce wolf populations in all corners of the state.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved the adjustments Thursday to the 2012 wolf hunting rules. The changes will go into effect when hunters set out for the backcountry later this year.

Idaho’s wolf managers estimate there are 500 to 600 wolves roaming the state, down from the more than 1,000 when the 2011 hunting season opened in August.

Hunters and trappers have killed 364 wolves since the season opened, while dozens more have died of natural causes, been killed for preying on livestock or targeted as part of strategy to lessen impacts on specific elk herds in the state.

“Our harvest focus is to be more aggressive in areas where we anticipate more conflicts … and providing relief on big game animals,” Jon Rachael, Idaho’s wolf manager, told the commission.

Idaho is one of two states with authority from the federal government to manage wolf numbers using public hunts. Federal officials require Idaho to maintain a population of at least 150 wolves and 10 breeding pairs.

After protections were lifted last year, game managers in both states drafted rules for hunting and trapping.

In Idaho’s first season with trapping sanctioned by the state, trappers have made a significant impact on the 2011 harvest, accounting for nearly one-third of all wolves killed during the 10-month season.

“Trapping has been a very effective tool,” Rachael said.

In Montana, ranchers and some sportsmen are growing more irritated with hunting rules that have not led to population control results shown so far in Idaho. The state’s hunt that ended earlier this month netted just 75 percent of the quota of 220 animals set by game managers.

Some local leaders in Montana say that’s insufficient to control wolf growth and have pushed to raise the state quota or even offer bounties that pay $100 for an adult wolf carcass or $20 on a pup.

Tweaks to Idaho’s wolf hunting rules approved Thursday are aimed at boosting harvest numbers next year. The changes include:

Increasing bag limits to five wolf tags for hunters and five for trappers in five northern hunting zones.

Extending season length on private land in a northern Idaho hunting zone and on public land in two zones in eastern Idaho.

Expanding bag limits in two hunting zones and adding trapping to two hunting units in central Idaho.

Source

Mar 26

MN: Trappers look foward to wolf season

By: by Tom Roberston, MPR News 91.3 FM, Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI –In some ways, 61-year-old Tim Ewert was born a few hundred years too late.

Fascinated by stories of French voyageurs and trappers who first came to Minnesota in the late 1600s, Ewert is a professional trapper who also sells mink oil, hand-crafted baskets and wooden bows. He even makes voyageur-style canoes and participates in historic reenactments.

Ewert, of rural Bemidji, has trapped most of his life and pursues all sorts of animals. He’s among those who are eager for the chance to hunt wolves and thinks experienced trappers would have the best chance of success.

“You have to know the every day, day-to-day, hour-to-hour habits of that animal to catch them,” Ewert said.

The state Department of Natural Resources has proposed letting hunters and trappers kill 400 wolves this fall. State lawmakers must approve the plan, which is vigorously opposed by some Ojibwe Indians.

Some traditional Ojibwe in Minnesota want to see the state’s wolves remain protected. Among them is Andy Favorite of White Earth, who said wolves are sacred.

“In our creation stories and a lot of other legends, the wolf is very prominent,” Favorite said. “So it’s a very spiritual thing.”

Hunters and trappers in northern Minnesota have a different perspective.

Ewert said if a wolf season opens this fall – and he’s lucky enough to get drawn in a lottery for a license – he’d use a wire cable snare to catch a wolf.

“When he’s caught in there, this will start to close,” Ewert said as he showed how the snare trap works. “So if he pulls harder this gets tighter.”

Ewert knows that many people won’t agree with him. But for him, killing a wolf would be the thrill of a lifetime. He figures a good quality wolf pelt could fetch between $500 and $800. But Ewert said if he got one he would keep it and perhaps mount it on the wall.

“I might actually make a hat and maybe a pair of boots out of them,” he said. “And I think I’m actually honoring that wolf by doing that.”

Ewert remembers his uncle and grandfather trapping wolves in the early 1960s, when state officials paid a bounty for the animals – $35 for adults and $25 for pups.

Then wolf numbers dramatically declined to just a few hundred. They were put on the federal endangered species list in 1974. Since then, the animals have rebounded. They were removed from federal protection last year, and in Minnesota there are now about 3,000 wolves.

The DNR proposes a wolf season this fall that would allow 6,000 people to win a hunting or trapping license through a lottery. The plan would cap the number of wolves that could be killed at 400.

Ewert doubts the state will reach that goal very easily because wolves are smart and can’t be hunted the same way people hunt deer.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “You very seldom see them and you know they’re here.”

It’s unclear how much interest there will be in hunting and trapping wolves. DNR officials say they see this first year as a pilot season. They say the 400-wolf limit is conservative.

Dan Stark, a large carnivore specialist for the DNR, points to studies that show wolves can sustain up to about a 30 percent mortality rate from hunting and trapping. He said the DNR’s initial wolf limit is less than half of that.

“They’re pretty resilient,” said Stark. “They have high reproductive rates.”

DNR Fish and Wildlife Deputy Director Kathy DonCarlos said the agency has heard from many hunters and trappers asking for a higher wolf limit this season.

But DonCarlos said returning to a wolf hunting season requires careful planning. That includes figuring out the most effective way of notifying hunters and trappers – either through email, media or other methods – when the season is shut down because limits have been reached.

“We’re acknowledging that we need to learn as we go,” DonCarlos said. “We want the initial season to be one where we start evaluating interest and success rates. The first year may not look the same as future years.”

For trapper Dennis Parish, there’s good reason to thin out the numbers of wolves in the state. Parish lives near farm country west of Bemidji, and his neighbors complain that wolves are preying on their livestock. Statewide last year, the state verified more than 100 cases of wolf depredation on livestock, poultry and domestic dogs.

Parish also believes there are areas of northern Minnesota where wolves have scared away the deer population.

“If you don’t take the responsibility now of controlling the different packs and the amount that they have, we won’t any longer have deer,” he said. “We’ll have way too many timber wolves and they’ll either move on to other states, or they’ll die of starvation.”

Parish is excited about the possibility of trapping a wolf. He figures he could go anywhere within a 30-mile radius of his home and successfully trap one. He says a wolf season will help maintain a balance of animal species.

“Early on in my life I realized that there’s a cycle that you have in life, and animals are there for that cycle,” Parish said. “I respect the timber wolf very much. It’s an icon for this area. They’re very beautiful… But we also know they were put there for our use, too.”

There are several bills moving through the House and Senate to allow a hunting season for wolves. DNR officials will work out many of the details this summer.

Source

Mar 26

WA: Five wolf packs currently in Washington

  • More suspected

By Dennis L. Clay,
Special to the Herald

This is the second of three columns about wolves in Washington State.

Washington currently has five wolf packs. A successful breeding wolf pack is documented by locating a breeding pair of adults with two or more pups that survive until Dec. 31, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The first wolf pack was found in Washington in July 2008. This pack is located in Okanogan County north of Lake Chelan and was named the Lookout Pack.

It consisted of seven animals, two adults, a 2-year-old and four pups born in 2009. The status of this pack is unclear as of Sept. 2010, as the female has not been seen and there have been no new pups.

A second pack was documented in July of 2009 in Pend Oreille County, east of Colville, and named the Diamond Pack.

The breeding pair produced six pups in 2009 and six the following year. Four of the pups born in 2009 lived until the end of the year. This pack moves between Idaho and Washington.

A wolf pup was caught and tagged in September 2010 and this animal indicated a third pack was in the state, later confirmed as a pack and named the Salmo Pack. This group is located in the northeast corner of Washington, almost to the spot where Canada, Idaho and Washington connect.

A fourth pack was documented in June 2011 and was named the Teanaway Pack in Kittitas County, west of Ellensburg. A DNA study of the adult female suggested she may have come from the Lookout Pack. In July 2011 the state’s fifth wolf pack was confirmed in Northeast Stevens County, north and east of Kettle Falls, and named the Smackout Pack.

Wolf packs are forming at a fast pace in this state; one each in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Now the pace seems to be increasing with two wolf packs confirmed in 2011.

In addition to the five confirmed wolf packs, there are also five suspected packs. The suspected Wedge Pack is due north of Kettle Falls and straddles the Canadian border. The Boulder Creek Pack is a few miles west of Kettle Falls and the Ruby Creek group is a little northeast of Chewelah. If these three are confirmed, it would put six wolf packs in the most northeast part of the state, all north of Chewelah.

There are two other suspected wolf packs; one is the Hozomeen Pack on the Canadian border near the Cascade Crest Trail and the Touchet Pack is on the Oregon/Washington border halfway between Walla Walla and the Idaho border.

Wolves will be taken from the Washington’s endangered species list once 15 successful breeding pairs are documented for three consecutive years in the three wolf-recovery regions. There needs to be four pairs in Eastern Washington, four in the North Cascades, four pairs in the South Cascades/Northwest Coast and three pairs in any recovery region.

A colonel from Fairchild Air Force Base was traveling to Moses Lake last December. When he arrived, he said he had seen a wolf along I-90. Recently I relayed this sighting to Steve Pozzanghera, Fish and Wildlife Regional Director for Region 1.

“Interesting,” Pozzanghera said, conveying having wolves beginning to travel from north to south of I-90 will be a major factor in the recovery.

Last December’s end of year survey by Fish and Wildlife found three successful breeding pairs totaling at least 27 wolves and offered the following specifics about the five confirmed packs:

“Diamond Pack, in Pend Oreille County and Idaho, numbers 10 wolves, including a breeding pair with at least two pups. A 2-year-old, radio-collared, female wolf was legally trapped and killed in Idaho in December before the count was made. Another radio-collared female from the pack was last located in November in Idaho and is currently missing; a third radio-collared female remains with the pack.

“Smackout Pack, in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, numbers five wolves, including a successful breeding pair with three pups. None have radio collars.

“Salmo Pack, in Pend Oreille County and British Columbia, includes three wolves. One wolf with a VHF radio collar is still being monitored.

“Teanaway Pack, in Kittitas County, numbers seven wolves, including a successful breeding pair with at least two pups. The breeding female is equipped with a GPS radio collar and still is being monitored.

“Lookout Pack, in Okanogan County includes two wolves with no pups; neither has a functioning radio collar.”

There will be individual animals roaming the state as more packs are formed. Plus there will most likely be more packs on the landscape than successful breeding pairs.

Next week: The life of a wolf.

Source

Mar 26

Idaho officials hike bag limits for 2012 wolf hunt

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho wildlife officials have agreed to boost bag limits, expand trapping and extend hunting seasons in some areas to help further reduce wolf populations in all corners of the state.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved the adjustments Thursday to the 2012 wolf hunting rules. The changes will go into effect when hunters set out for the backcountry later this year.

Idaho’s wolf managers estimate there are now 500 to 600 wolves roaming the state, down from the more than 1,000 when the 2011 hunting season opened in August.

Hunters and trappers have killed 364 wolves since the season opened, while dozens more have died of natural causes, been killed for preying on livestock or targeted as part of strategy to lessen impacts on specific elk herds in the state.

“Our harvest focus is to be more aggressive in areas where we anticipate more conflicts … and providing relief on big game animals,” Jon Rachael, Idaho’s wolf manager, told the commission.

Idaho is one of two states with authority from the federal government to manage wolf numbers using public hunts. Federal officials require Idaho to maintain a population of at least 150 wolves and 10 breeding pairs.

After protections were lifted last year, game managers in both states drafted rules for hunting and trapping. In Idaho’s first season with trapping sanctioned by the state, trappers have made a significant impact on the 2011 harvest, accounting for nearly one-third of all wolves killed during the 10-month season.

“Trapping has been a very effective tool,” Rachael said.

In Montana, ranchers and some sportsmen are growing more irritated with hunting rules that have not led to population control results shown so far in Idaho. The state’s hunt that ended earlier this month netted just 75 percent of the quota of 220 animals set by game managers.

Some local leaders in Montana say that’s insufficient to control wolf growth and have pushed to raise the state quota or even offer bounties that pay $100 for an adult wolf carcass or $20 on a pup.

Tweaks to Idaho’s wolf hunting rules approved Thursday are aimed at boosting harvest numbers next year. The changes include:

— Increasing bag limits to five wolf tags for hunters and five for trappers in five northern hunting zones.

— Extending season length on private land in a northern Idaho hunting zone and on public land in two zones in eastern Idaho.

— Expanding bag limits in two hunting zones and adding trapping to two hunting units in central Idaho.

Rachael said it’s too soon to measure the impact of Idaho’s hunting and other management tools on the goal of stabilizing wolf numbers and bringing the species’ population in line with other wildlife. A more accurate picture will emerge next year after biologists can analyze the impact of two years of hunting and reproduction cycles.

Source

Mar 26

ID: Wildlife officials hope to bring wolf population down

By Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Idaho wildlife managers are increasing bag limits, expanding trapping opportunities and extending the public hunting season in an attempt to bring down wolf populations across the state.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved the modifications Thursday to the state’s 2012 wolf hunting rules. The changes will go into effect when the season opens later this year.

Biologists estimate there are between 500 and 600 wolves roaming the state, down from more than 1,000 when the 2011 season opened last fall.

But wildlife managers say wolves are still negatively impacting big game prized by hunters, specifically elk herds in the northern backcountry.

So far, hunters and trappers have killed 364 wolves since the season opened last fall. Dozens of other wolves have died naturally or killed for attacking livestock.

Source

Mar 26

OR: Counties line up for wolf compensation

Oregon counties are asking the state for $145,436 to compensate ranchers for losses to wolves.

Top county requests include $30,000 from Union and Umatilla counties.

Wallowa County, site of nearly two-dozen wolf depredations in recent years — including several since the Aug. 2 implementation of the fund — requested $27,230.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has fielded several reports of wolf activity in Union and Umatilla counties, but has yet to confirm a livestock loss to wolves in those counties.

Wolf depredation losses must be confirmed by ODFW to be eligible for compensation.

The fund also compensates ranchers for missing animals and for the cost of implementing nonlethal control measures.

Oregon lawmakers established the wolf compensation fund in 2011, putting $100,000 into it for the 2011-13 biennium. Under rules governing the fund, counties submit grant requests to the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Other county grant requests include $24,286 from Jefferson, $20,000 from Grant, $7,500 from Baker, $3,900 from Malheur, $2,520 from Crook.

The ODA expects to announce grant awards in the next few days.

– Mitch Lies

Source

Mar 26

Coyotes top list of Upper Peninsula deer predators

For the third straight year, coyotes killed more fawns and adult deer than bears, bobcats and wolves combined in an Upper Michigan predator study that uses radio collars on whitetails to track their movement, habitat choices and causes of mortality. GPS collars are also used on predators in the study area.

In Wisconsin, the first year of research in a multi-year study found significant predation in the northern region by black bears and bobcats. Coyotes were the top predator in the east-central farmland region.

• It’s National Wildlife Week, and the National Wildlife Federation is encouraging families to connect with nature outdoors to inspire a life-long appreciation of wildlife and the environment. Get tips on raising healthier kids and teaching the importance of biodiversity at www.nwf.org.

— Kevin Naze

Source

Mar 26

CA: Larger than normal coyote creates quite a stir

DNA investigation to take place

By KAREN WELLS & BARB SWEET

LEWISPORTE – “A coyote on steroids.”

That’s how Ewen Whiteway described the 82.5 pound coyote he acquired from Joe Fleming. Mr. Whiteway owns Blue Ridge Outdoor Supply Store in Lewisporte where the massive animal will go on display later this fall once the skin is tanned and mounted.

As was reported on The Pilot website last week, Mr. Fleming shot the coyote between Bonavista and Port Rexton earlier this month.

“I haven’t seen anything like it before,” Mr. Fleming told Transcontinental Media. “I haven’t seen a track like it before.

“I’ve been hunting for a long time and this is the biggest one I’ve seen, the biggest one I’ve weighed.”

Mr. Whiteway, who is sponsoring the first annual Blue Ridge Coyote Contest, said most of the coyotes that have been weighed for the contest have come in at around 30 pounds. That being said, there was a 52-pound animal that was brought in the weekend prior to Mr. Fleming shooting this particularly large coyote. But the 82-pound coyote brought in by Mr. Fleming will be hard to beat when it comes to total weight.

Mr. Whiteway introduced the contest not only as a marketing tool for his business, but to also encourage the coyote hunt which lasts for 10 months from September through to July.

“These animals are killing off our caribou and moose,” he said. “They are a predatory animal with no natural predators of their own.”

An avid hunter himself, Mr. Whiteway said he has seen about 20 coyotes in the wild in his lifetime. He is hearing more and more from his customers that there are more coyotes in virtually every nook and cranny of the province. He has also seen an increase in the number of people who have taken to hunting them as he supplies them with many of the tools coyote hunters use such as electronic coyote callers, ammunition and scent.

Coyote, wolf or hybrid?

The breed of coyote in Newfoundland is known as the eastern coyote, which is believed to have been interbred with wolves during their trek from the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, through the Maritimes and into Newfoundland.

The size of the animal Mr. Fleming shot is something that is causing a lot of discussion in the province.

While the wildlife officials he brought it to in Clarenville believe it is a coyote, photographs of the animal lead people to think it is more wolflike than coyote.

There will be further investigation of the animal carcass including a look into its DNA makeup. The province offers a coyote carcass registration reward of $25 as an incentive to gain access to carcasses to assist with biological investigation of the species. This includes carcass evaluation to assess their diets.

Environment and Conservation Minister Terry French was wondering last week if the creature could be a wolf that crossed on the ice from Labrador, or perhaps a hybrid or the result of a coyote-dog crossbreeding.

“It really is an anomaly,” Minister French said, noting most coyotes are 30-35 pounds. “It’s so out of character it really is too early to tell.”

Second thoughts

Mr. Fleming didn’t just happen to come across this animal. It was two months ago that he spotted the tracks on the Bonavista Peninsula. After tracking the animal for some time, he finally spotted it on March 12.
He had been using an electronic device for calling coyotes, one that mimics a male coyote moving into its territory. The animal had assumed a fight posture.

“I could see his teeth and his back arched even though he was a long ways off. I could see it through the scope on my rifle and I knew he thought he was coming to fight with another coyote. I guess he was angry,” said Mr. Fleming.

“When he got about 180 yards from me, I knew he got my wind. He could smell me in the tree line. He turned to run. And when he turned to run I made a bark at him. That’s what you are supposed to do to stop him.”

The coyote was 200 yards away when Mr. Fleming shot him. When he got up to the dead animal, he called his brother and friend to help take it out of the woods.

“I could not believe my eyes,” he said. “I knew it was big, but when I got close to it and realized the sheer size of it, I was amazed.”

The area where Mr. Fleming shot the coyote was on a pole line adjacent to a series of marshes. It was close to an area where he often hunts partridge with his English setter and he’s thinking twice about that now.

“I am sure if my dog came across that, it would kill my dog,” he said. “It was just massive. Its teeth were huge and its feet were huge.

“It would have no problem taking down a small moose … Probably this one could take a family member.”

Source

Mar 22

CA: Dog eaten by wolf in Baker Lake, Nunavut

Normal to see wolves this time of year, says Wildlife Office

CBC News

Wolves have been sighted in and around Baker Lake, Nunavut, in the last few weeks, and one killed a dog in the community.

Concerned residents call the local Wildlife Office when a wolf is sighted in and around the community.

Wildlife Officers say one wolf was shot in the community.

“We had a call out and report and concern from a local person that there was a wolf chewing on some caribou meat, and … another wolf was just shot yesterday that had come into a home, and …killed and eaten a dog,” said Robert Harmer, the community’s Wildlife Officer.

Russell Toolooktook, who lives in the community, said it seemed the wolf is healthy but hungry.

Wildlife Officers say it is normal to see wolves this time of winter.

Source

Mar 22

OR: Wolf meanders near Ashland

By Mark Freeman / (Medford) Mail Tribune

Wandering wolf OR-7 has been meandering in the Greensprings area east of Ashland this week, marking the farthest west he’s been since he left northeastern Oregon in September to seek a mate.

The famous wolf with the GPS collar was tracked Thursday morning in the mountains southwest of Hyatt Lake after he was tracked northeast of the lake Wednesday, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“This would be his westernmost travel to date,” said Michelle Dennehy, the ODFW’s wolf program spokeswoman. “He’s been in this area for about a week now.”

The nearly 3-year-old male wolf began his latest stint in Jackson County after spending more than two months wandering throughout Northern California in what biologists call classic “dispersal” activity as he seeks new territory and a mate.

He has traveled more than 2,000 miles under the glare of the media since he ventured away from the Imnaha Pack northeast of Enterprise.

When he first crossed the Cascades in November, he became one of the first wolves tracked in Central Oregon in about 70 years. When his GPS collar pinged in Siskiyou County on Dec. 28, he became the first known wolf in the Golden State since 1924.

While in Oregon, the wolf is protected as an endangered species under state and federal versions of the Endangered Species Act.

Source