Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Updated 11-26-13 at 9 a.m. with correction from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
WILDLIFE — Just in time for Thanksgiving! Montana's online permitting system to legally take possession of road-killed big game goes operational today.
A new state law allows people to salvage deer, elk, antelope and moose killed on roadsides.
According to reporter Rob Chaney of the Missoulian, anyone wanting to claim one of those game animals they find dead can fill out the online permit within 24 hours. State law enforcement officers will also have permits available if called to the site of an animal-vehicle collision. The permits are free.
The move could offer a lot of extra protein to Montana dinner tables albeit at the expense of beetles, ravens, eagles, coyotes and other critters in nature's clean-up crew. The Missoulian reports:
- In 2012, Montana motorists hit 4,754 whitetail deer, 1,977 mule deer, 220 elk, 72 antelope and 28 moose, according to state Department of Transportation records.
- They also hit 39 black bears, five grizzly bears, six mountain lions, 15 bighorn sheep, an uncertain number of wolves, and uncounted birds of prey and furbearing mammals. Those predators, birds and sheep are not allowed for roadkill possession.
- At least 17 other U.S. states allow some level of roadkill possession and consumption.
But Washington is not one of them. It's illegal to pick up roadkill without a permit in Washington.
Read on for more details about the Montana law and salvage permit system:
WILDLIFE WATCHING — A rare dark-colored mule deer was documented recently in photo on the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area as the doe fed with three normal-colored deer, including a buck in the rut.
Wildlife biologists say the deer appears to have an unusually high occurrence of melanin, a black pigmentation of the skin and hair.
The photo was made by Justin Haug, the assistant wildlife area manager who has a gift for capturing great photos from the state-managed land in Okanogan County near Loomis.
HUNTING — While hunting pheasants on Sunday, this is how my English setter, Scout, defined the idiom, “Got 'em dead to rights.”
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Some smart asses had a lot of fun this week spreading rumors that wolves had attacked three horses near La Crosse, Wash.
A Whitman County Gazette reporter tried to track down the word-of-mouth reports and so did several Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police and biologists.
“We tracked down the source and can verify there's no substance whatsoever to the rumors,” Steve Pozzanghera, WDFW regional manager in Spokane, said this morning.
He said the rumors were not even a case of mistaken identity, such as stray dogs attacking livestock or anything like that. “It's just purely a rumor,” he said.
While we're putting that issue to bed, let's also dismiss the rumor going around that WDFW staff has been releasing wolves in Whitman County. For God's sake, get a clue out there.
“Somebody is saying they actually saw the department releasing four wolves and that's pure rumor,” Pozzanghera said. “The department is not relocating wolves, and we have not had a capture or any hands-on activity with wolves in recent months.”
- In Idaho, for the record, a wolf attack on a horse was confirmed on Aug. 20 at West Pass Creek, about 20 miles south of Clayton, according to Idaho Fish and Game Department wildlife manager Jon Rachael in Boise.
Turnbull elk rumor
One more rumor that needs to be squashed is the persistent rant that WDFW uses a helicopter to herd elk away from hunters and onto Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge each fall. Indeed, the hunting seasons enacted on the refuge a few years ago were designed specifically to help move elk OFF the refuge to reduce damage on Turnbull and increase hunter harvests outside the refuge boundaries.
A two-day helicopter survey is run at the end of September each year to monitor Turnbull-area elk, but the elk are not herded.
Farmers who've had depredation problems with elk can verify that nobody could chase a herd of elk to a patch of ground on one weekend and expect them to stay there throughout the fall hunting seasons. Nobody with a hint of knowledge about elk would believe that, and nobody with a brain would repeat the rumor.
Research belies wolf management by the numbers
Through 43 years of studying wolves primarily in Alaska, wildlife biologist Gordon Haber says his research found that wolves are the most “social of all nonhuman vertebrates.” Trying to manage them by the numbers simply won't work, he says in this column by Marybeth Holleman, a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Sergio Pierluissi will discuss the federal agency's activities in the Idaho Panhandle, as well as its recent priorities in the Pacific Northwest region during the monthly program organized by the Kootenai Environmental Alliance on Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Iron Horse Restaurant, 407 E Sherman Ave. in Coeur d'Alene.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the only federal agency whose primary mission is managing the country's wildlife. From the thousands of species protected under the Endangered Species Act, to the millions of acres managed as Wildlife Refuge, the USFWS employs a diverse array of tools to work with others to protect and manage wildlife.
In North Idaho, the agency has been involved in issues ranging from tundra swans dying in the toxic sloughs of the Coeur d'Alene River drainage during their spring migrations to critical habitat for woodland caribou in the Selkirk Mountains.
PREDATORS — Am I shocked that a wolf hunter has shot someone's pet near a popular Montana-Idaho winter recreation area? Yes.
Am I surprised? No.
And the Missoula County sheriff’s office is just throwing up its hands, saying there's nothing it can do as it ends its investigation into the fatal shooting of a malamute on Lolo Pass by a hunter who apparently mistook it for a wolf.
According to the story moved by the Associated Press, Layne Spence of Missoula said he was skiing with his three dogs on a quiet logging road near Lee Creek Campground Sunday afternoon when he heard a shot and saw his dog, Little Dave, fall down with a leg injury.
About 15 to 20 yards away, Spence said he saw a man wearing camouflage and carrying a gun.
“I started screaming ‘Stop, stop,’ and the man kept shooting,” Spence, 48, said. The dog was struck in the neck and died.
“My dog is lying there, dead and I shouted ‘What are you doing?’ and the guy said, ‘I thought it was a wolf.’ ”
- Photo above shows a pair of malamutes for comparison.
Spence said the hunter asked if there was anything he could do, but Spence said he was so distraught he told the man to leave.
When Spence returned to town he filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office.
The Missoulian reports the agency passed the case over to the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Forest Service.
“There is no criminal activity here, and this is out of our jurisdiction,” Sheriff’s spokeswoman Paige Pavalone said on Monday. “We don’t have any witnesses and we’re not investigating the situation any further.”
Spokespersons for both FWP and the Forest Service had said Monday morning that they believed the case would be a criminal matter.
“This doesn’t have to happen,” Spence said. “Not every big dog is a wolf. These are pets, they all had their collars and lights on, they were all with me the entire time.”
He wondered what would have happened if he had a child on a sled or if a bullet ricocheted.
“There are other people who use the woods besides hunters this time of year,” Spence said.
The U.S. Forest Service maintains the Lee Creek campground for non-motorized winter use. Lolo National Forest recreation manager Al Hilshey said the area is popular with cross-country skiers who like to bring their dogs.
LESSONS FROM THE TRAGEDY
- Hunters must be extra alert when hunting in areas such as Lolo Pass, where other people routinely recreate, and they should be accountable for their actions.
- Dog owners must be aware that hunters can legally target wolves in Montana and Idaho. Dogs — especially malamutes and other dogs that resemble wolves in any color ranging from white to black — should be wearing large fluorescent orange collars and even vests when recreating in areas where hunters could be out.
Wolf management a factor in updating Idaho's elk plan
Among the 1,203 people who reviewed Idaho's proposal to update its 1999 elk management plan, 442 people commented and 150 of those people urged more aggressive wolf management to help protect elk populations.
Craig White, the plan coordinator, said while aggressive wolf management would be part of the plan in some areas of the state, in others where elk numbers are so high that crop damage is a problem, management of the predators would be limited to keeping them away from cows and sheep.
—Twin Falls Times-News
PREDATORS — Idaho's wolf trapping season opens Friday, Nov. 15, in the wolf management zones in northern and eastern parts of the state.
The trapping seasons runs through March 31 in the Panhandle zone, except in parts of units 2 and 3, and in the Lolo, Selway, Middle Fork zone; Salmon and Island Park zones.
Here's a warning from Idaho Fish and Game officials:
While trapping has been part of the landscape in Idaho, Fish and Game reminds hound hunters, hunters with bird dogs, and people with pets that trappers have an increased interest to be in the woods because of the wolf trapping season. People with pets should know how to release a pet that is caught in a foothold trap or neck snare.
Trapping regulations prohibit traps from the center and within 5 feet of center line of all maintained designated public trails and from the surface and right of way of all maintained designated public roads. Ground traps are prohibited within 300 feet of any designated public campground, picnic area and trailhead.
Wolf trapping season also runs through March 31 in the Palouse-Hells Canyon Zone units 13 and 18 on private lands only – closed in units 8, 8A, 11 and 11A; and in the Dworshak-Elk City zone, except Unit 10A, which opens February 1.
In the McCall-Weiser Zone, trapping runs through March 15 in units 19A and 25 and on private land only in unit 22. Units 23, 24, 31, 32 and 32A are closed.
All other zones are closed to trapping.
Trappers must complete a required wolf trapping class before they can buy wolf trapping tags.
Licensed trappers may buy up to five wolf trapping tags per trapping season for use in those zones with an open wolf trapping season. In addition, up to five wolf hunting tags may be purchased per calendar year for hunting. Unused wolf hunting tags may be used to tag trapped wolves in wolf zones with an open trapping and hunting season. Trappers should note that bag limits are not the same for all the wolf zones.
Only three wolf trapping tags may be used in the McCall-Weiser, Salmon and Island Park zones.
Wolf tags cost $11.50 for resident hunters, and $31.75 for nonresidents. Trapping tags are valid for the trapping season, but wolf hunting tags are valid only for the calendar year.
Click here fore additional details on wolf hunting and trapping seasons and rules.
Idaho Fish, Game Commission hears complaints about wolves
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission began its quarterly meeting in Jerome Wednesday, and at a public forum that evening, about half of the dozen residents that spoke up said they blamed wolves for the lack of elk.
The meeting continues today with both the westslope cutthroat trout management plan and an update of the 1999 elk management plan on the agenda.
—Twin Falls Times-News
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Serious wildlife photographers are not amused by this latest viral video of a man who exposed himself to serious danger with a yearling “spike” elk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
One lunge and the man could have lost an eye or been killed. This is stupid, and the people who sat and watched are equally stupid.
The man made the initial error by getting too far from a vehicle and leaving himself exposed to the elk's advance.
The videographer who posted the video on YouTube apparently doesn't like the criticism going out on the internet and he/she deleted it from this post.
- See the ABC news story with footage from the video plus an interview with the photographer, James York.
We already posted the news of the spike elk that Western Montana wildlife officials dispatched this fall after it became too aggressive around people who tried to treat it like a pet.
Comments from professional wildlife photographers include:
This is the kind of idiot that prompts excessive and overbearing rules for photographers in national parks, wildlife refuges, etc.The guy could have easily stood up, waved his hat and yelled at the bull, but no, he had to play with it. I'm sure he thought that such behavior was cute. What would not have been cute is when the bull lowered one of those antlers (or both) and impaled him through the chest…
- The guy is not a nature photographer; he is an idiot…
- Sadly if the guy had gotten killed or even seriously injured, the bull would have been killed…
- I seriously hope that the park where this took place look long and hard at prosecuting the guy in any way they can…
—Tim Christie, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
PREDATORS — While Idaho is already hunting wolves, and the state's wolf trapping season will reopen on Friday, the state of Michigan is on the verge of reaching its own milestone in dealing with wolves.
About 1,200 people have bought hunting licenses to participate in Michigan’s first wolf hunt since the animal was placed on the endangered species list nearly 40 years ago. The season is set to open Friday and run through December or until a quota of 43 wolves is reached.
Michigan is the sixth state to authorize wolf hunting following the removal of federal protections in recent years, a testament to the strong comeback of a species that was close to eradication in the lower 48 states.
- Actually, wolf hunting is allowed in at least seven states if you include the season the tribal council has opened to tribal members on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington. Elsewhere in the state, the gray wolf is still protected.
Although fairly opening received in states such as Montana and Idaho, the hunt is bitterly contested in Michgan.
Supporters say Michigan’s wolf population — which the Department of Natural Resources estimates at 658, all in the Upper Peninsula — is healthy and secure. They contend a hunt is needed to rein in a predator that has killed or injured hundreds of cattle, sheep and dogs since the mid-1990s.
Opponents say the damage and danger are exaggerated. Relatively few farms have experienced problems, they in an Associated Press story moving on the wire today, and the landowners have legal authority to shoot wolves caught attacking livestock.
“There is no sound scientific basis to be killing these animals,” said Nancy Warren, an Upper Peninsula resident and regional director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition. State wildlife officials “are bowing down to special interest groups,” she said.
DNR biologist Brian Roell acknowledged that a disproportionate number of livestock attacks have happened on a single farm whose owner has drawn criticism for practices such as leaving animal carcasses unburied and failing to use state-provided fencing.
But 26 attacks were reported on 10 other farms in the same hunting zone between 2010 and 2012, despite use of non-lethal controls such as flashing lights and guard donkeys, the department says.
The hunt is a last-resort means “to reduce conflicts in areas where our current tools just haven’t cut it,” DNR fur-bearing animal specialist Adam Bump said.
Read on for more of the story from the Associated Press:
WILDLIFE WATCHING — A reader called today wondering if the animals he saw west of Spokane recently were wolves or coyotes.
He didn't have a photo to help with the identification and he didn't measure tracks, so there's no way to tell for sure.
The chart above gives some distinguishing features to note when you see canines in the field.
Here's some elaboration from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists:
One of the greatest differences between the two species is size, which can be difficult to estimate determine at a distance. A gray wolf is much larger than a coyote. Wolves weigh 80 to 120 pounds, while coyotes weigh 20 to 50 pounds. Track size measures about four by five inches for wolves, compared to two by two and a half inches for coyotes.
Ear shape is also much different; wolves have somewhat rounded ears while coyotes have taller, pointed ears. Wolves have a broader, shorter snout, while coyotes have a narrow more pointed nose. A wolf’s howl is long and drawn out, while a coyote produces a shorter, yapping sound. Fur coloration can be quite similar between wolves and coyotes and therefore is not a good characteristic for separating the two species. For more visual comparisons, visit: Wolf Identification: Physical Appearance of Wolves.
Large dogs and wolf-dog hybrids can also be mistaken for wolves, although they usually act more familiar with people. Wolf-dog hybrids can be unpredictable and aggressive. Some hybrids have been released into the wild, living like feral dogs. Distinctions between these hybrids and wild wolves can sometimes be made only by DNA testing.
PREDATORS — In some cases, the Internet is incredibly predictable.
The Facebook caption says: “A little Wyoming justice by some folks that are fed up with wolves and the affect they are having on wildlife populations, livestock, and our way of life as hunters and Wyoming residents. The bunny huggers are having a conniption fit over this so let's show our support these guys.”
Hunters can buy a hunting license and wolf tag and legally harvest a wolf under Wyoming law.
So while this photo is distasteful to some people, it doesn't imply anything illegal, just an attitude that's still pervasive.
WILDLIFE — The signs along highways warning motorists that wildlife frequently crosses the road in certain stretches aren't random acts of government spending.
State's keep track of roadkill — what they pick up and where motor vehicles are reported to have collided with critters. fall and winter are the most hazardous times.
Statewide, more than 1,100 wildlife/vehicle collisions are reported to the Washington State Patrol every year. Many more go unreported but leave animals dead. Washington Department of Transportation crews remove an average of 3,500 deer and elk carcasses from highways every year.
Those “wildlife crossing” signs are placed in the hot spots for these statistics.
Eastern Washington areas with the highest wildlife/vehicle collision rates include:
- Spokane County's and the state highways heading north, especially in the Chewelah-Colville area as well as Newport, where highways intersect with white-tailed deer wintering grounds.
- The Methow River Valley, home of the state’s most prolific mule deer herd, consistently has high numbers of animals killed in collisions each year.
- The Wenatchee vicinity has high deer collision rates on the busy highways that run through prime mule deer ares north and west of the city. On U.S. 97.
- Goldendale and to the north between Omak and Tonasket have high wildlife collision rates.
- Interstate 90 near the Easton/Cle Elum vicinity has the highest number of elk/vehicle collisions in Eastern Washington.
Several factors combine to make late fall the peak of the “bumper crop.”
- Colder temperatures and snow force more deer and elk from the mountains to milder conditions and better food sources in the lowlands.
- Hunting seasons are underway, increasing deer movements.
- Deer mating season, which also increases deer movements and makes normally wary bucks stupid, builds from late October, peaking in mid-November and tapering off into December.
A 2008 analysis of deer-elk collisions along Washington state highways — the lead author was Woody Myers, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife big-game researcher based in Spokane — gives state agencies more guidance in planning highway routes and when to use measures such as fencing or wildlife overpasses or underpasses.
- The DOT has posted a short video of images from cameras that illustrate how a range of wildlife use properly sited underpasses.
- See commonly asked questions and answers about reducing the risks of wildlife vehicle collisions can be found in this DOT Question and Answer page.
WSDOT is working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and other stakeholders on a statewide Habitat Connectivity assessment that will identify areas where wildlife require movement across the highway.
The Hyak to Easton project under construction on I-90 has a number of wildlife crossing structures and wildlife fencing.
WILDLIFE — A rutting bull moose and the cow moose he was pursuing near Woodridge Elementary School was tranquilized and removed from the Indian Trail neighborhood Monday, but not before his 900-pounds made kindling out of a section of the wood fence around the Dave and Marcia Hardy's home.
Marcia, who watched the events through the window of her house said she was amazed at the size of the animal.
She also praised the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers for their safety and efficiency in handling the situation, even when crowds of neighbors showed up to take photos and after a neighbor drove by and spooked the moose into a more difficult place to handle.
Incidentally: The bull already had a red tag in its ear after being rescued in 2010 when it had become entangled in an electrified fence on Green Bluff, WDFW officers said.
Hunters with a moose permit should avoid these moose because the tranquilizing drug remains in their system for a month, WDFW says. Both animals were transported and released near Lake of the Woods in north Spokane County near the Pend Oreille County Line and the Idaho border.
The cow has a yellow ear tag and the bull has a red ear tag — and it's antlers have been sawed off for safety during transport.
Romance lost? Both moose were released together. After the ordeal, it may be the bull who tells the cow, “Not tonight, I have a headache.”
HUNTING — Wolf-watchers say they’re concerned that hunters participating in Wyoming’s second annual wolf hunt may have killed five members of the Lamar Canyon Pack, a well-known wolf pack whose territory includes part of Yellowstone National Park.
- The story from the Jackson Hole News & Guide is moving today by the Associated Press.
Officials with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department say it’s impossible to determine if the two male and three female wolves were members of the Lamar Canyon Pack. The five were killed in a hunt area northeast of Cody over three days in mid-October.
Recent counts put the number of wolves in the pack at 11, meaning almost half the pack might have been killed.
State law prohibits Game and Fish employees from disclosing details about wolves killed in Wyoming’s annual wolf hunt. That includes the specific locations where wolves are killed and the wolves’ age, coloration and breeding status, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reports.
Regardless, Game and Fish officials can’t determine the identity of the wolves killed for certain because the wolves weren’t among those in the region that are wearing radio collars, department spokesman Alan Dubberley said.
“There’s no way to know. We just don’t have that information,” Dubberley said.
Wolves of the Rockies President Marc Cooke said he sought the identity of the wolves killed from Game and Fish officials but didn’t get any answers.
“They might as well face the reality that there’s a good possibility that wolves killed were from Yellowstone,” Cooke said.
The hunt area had a limit of four wolves. The five killed exceeded that by one. Last year, hunters were allowed to kill up to eight wolves in the hunt area.
This year’s statewide wolf hunt limit is 26, down from 52 last year. The wolf hunting season began Oct. 1 and ends Dec. 31 with the exception of a hunt area south of Jackson where hunting began Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 31.
HUNTING — Washington wildlife officials are looking for ways to reduce the number of mule deer that congregate in the city limits of Republic, Wash. But in this one case, local officials felt the poor doe deserved a second chance.
Fish and Wildlife biologists Wednesday removed an arrow stuck in a mule deer doe that wanders the Ferry County town with her two fawns.
The wounding comes just a week after state officials requested local residents help them figure out ways to cull the deer.
Republic Police Chief Jan Lewis requested WDFW help for the deer, which apparently wasn’t critically wounded by the arrow lodged through the skin of its neck.
Republic has long had many deer living in town – both enjoyed and considered a nuisance by residents — and local authorities have worked with WDFW to lethally remove many of them.
But with two fawns still in tow, and the insult of the arrow through its neck, Lewis asked for help in catching, treating and releasing this deer.
WDFW biologists easily found the trio in a Republic backyard and shot a tranquilizer dart into the doe to handle her safely. While her fawns watched not far away, the doe was blindfolded to keep her calm, the arrow was removed and the wound treated with antibiotics. The deer also received a bright orange ear tag marked with the number “7” so she could be monitored easily.
After a reversal drug took effect, the doe rejoined her fawns. A day later Lewis reported that “lucky number seven” was doing well.
WDFW estimated cost of the operation, including staff time, fuel, drugs and equipment, was about $1,000.
Information about how the deer was shot with the arrow can be reported by calling 1-877-933-9847, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or completing an on-line report form at http://wdfw.wa.gov/enforcement/violation/.
Depending on the circumstances, the incident could be considered unlawful hunting of big game second degree, or harming/harassing wildlife, both gross misdemeanors which could carry penalties of up to $1,000.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Here's another take on that spectacular wildlife watching opportunity posed in mid-September by the death of a bison 400 yards from a road in Yellowstone Park.
- Five grizzlies and five gray wolves challenged each other for three days as they jockeyed for a place at the dinner table.
In the YouTube video above, Deby Dixon — who took a videography course at Spokane Falls Community College from S-R photographer Colin Mulvany — captured an instructive wildlife moment as a wolf nips a yearling grizzly cub in the butt.
Wildlife biologists say this is not uncommon. An Alaska biologist described the same practice to me as he was explaining wolf behavior.
Wolves learn and survive by observing, testing the waters and pushing the limits. Even among grizzlies, wolves are quick enough to get away with murder.
HUNTING — Do squirrels find other victims to torment and fray their nerves when hunters are not in the woods trying to sneak up on white-tailed deer?
WILDLIFE WATCHING — A dead bison 400 yards from a main road in Yellowstone National Park in September provided the rare opportunity for visitors to see five grizzly bears — rare in itself — and five gray wolves vying for meals off the same carcass at the same time.
I was there, underarmed in dim light with a slow 300mm lens on my camera, but thoroughly enjoying the spectacle through spotting scopes with another 100 or so specators parked along the road between Gardiner and Cooke City.
Other photographers, including Pete Bengeyfield of Dillon, Mont., scored memorable shots, such as these two, using 600mm telephoto lenses and 1.4x extenders.
When I watched the proceedings, all of the grizzlies — the boar as well as the sow and her three yearling cubs — were on the carcass at the same time. It appeared to me that the boar and sow had made rare peace because the five of them had a better chance of keeping the wolves at bay.
Read Bengeyfield's perspective and see more photos in this story from the Billings Gazette.
Click continue reading (below) to see another photo here.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — A man who killed a gray wolf while big-game hunting in the Pasayten Wilderness told Washington Fish and Wildlife police he felt threatened by the predator and acted in self defense, according to a report in the Methow Valley News.
Wolves are federally protected under the endangered species in the western two-thirds of Washington, so federal authorities were called in and few details have been released as the investigation continues.
The hunter called state officers on Sept. 20 to report shooting the adult female wolf, which is protected under federal law as an endangered species. Wolves east of that region through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are de-listed from federal protection and managed by the states.
In the eastern third of Washington, they are protected by state endangered species rules.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Federal officials offered a staunch defense today of a proposal to drop legal protections for the gray wolf in most of the country, as opponents rallied in the nation’s capital before the first in a series of public hearings on the plan.
Read the latest in this story from the Associated Press.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Federal wildlife agents are investigating the death of an endangered gray wolf in Okanogan County.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Doug Zimmer says the adult female wolf was shot and killed on Sept. 20 during a big game hunt in the area. He says hunters were in the field hunting elk or deer in the Pasayten Wilderness out of Harts Pass, and reported to state wildlife officials that they had shot and killed a wolf.
Zimmer says federal wildlife officers are working to determine whether the shooting was a legitimate accident, or killed under other circumstances.
It’s not legal to hunt wolves in Washington state. Gray wolves are federally listed as endangered in the western two-thirds of Washington.
He says the gray wolf is an un-collared female but it’s unclear which pack she belonged to
Summer Adventures package:
- Climbing in Italy's Dolomites
- Pioneering BC's Skeena River rapids by jet boat
- Climbing three Cascades volcanoes in three days
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Enjoy an intimate family moment with grizzly bears attracted to a scratching pole by some sort of powerful lure, a bruin's equivalent of ecstasy.
The video starts slow and builds to a frenzy of rubbing. Fun.
Compiled into a video called “What goes on when you are not there!” this camera wound up snapping a bonanza of photos.
Naylor says he doesn’t want the photos to give people the wrong impression about bears in general. Although the footage is cute and humorous, he says, “bears are not cuddly and friendly, they are wild animals that should be treated with caution and respect.”
See Naylor's YouTube channel.
WILDLIFE — The only moose herd in Oregon appears to have doubled in size in recent years, despite deaths in recent years from a parasite.
The Oregonian says the herd numbers about 60 animals today, compared to 30 in 2006.
The carotid worm problem was discovered in about 2010 when biologists captured a moose in Wallowa County to fit it with a radio collar.
The moose died as it was being captured. The worms were found during a necropsy.
The moose are the smallest subspecies in North America, with females weighing up to 800 pounds and males weighing up to 1,000 pounds.
Alaska and Yukon moose are the largest subspecies in North America, weighing about 1500 pounds.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — It's time for this whitetail buck to peel off the velvet and get ready for action.
Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson documented this late-summer stage of antler development last weekend with this photo.
PREDATORS — Idaho Fish and Game has accepted a $50,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to assist with its wolf management plan.
The funds will increase IDFG's knowledge of interactions between wolves and elk, and expand the radio collar program to help managers gain a better understanding of pack and territory size, home range, and other biological traits and actions of the wolf in order to better implement effective management technique, according to an RMEF media release.
“To properly and effectively carry out science-based management practices, it is critical that state agencies recognize and understand predator-prey relationships and wolf populations,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.
“This grant will help IDFG gain a more thorough knowledge of wolves and wolf behavior so it can better implement its approved predator management plan.” “This grant is another example of the outstanding support we've received from RMEF and elk hunters for nearly 30 years”, said Brad Compton, IDFG assistant chief of wildlife. “This grant is particularly important because it comes at a time when federal funding is being incrementally eliminated, thus allowing us to continue to maintain our active wolf monitoring and management program. Idaho's program is designed to reduce conflict, including addressing unacceptable levels of predation on elk populations.”
In keeping with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, RMEF supports state-regulated hunting and trapping as the preferred tools of wolf management. RMEF staunchly supports management to balance and control wolf populations.
“We maintain our longstanding commitment to and support of the goal of state management which is to sustain all wildlife species in balance with the available habitat and the local communities where so many of us live,” Allen said.
Since 1989, RMEF officials say they have invested nearly $664,000 in research grants to advance scientific understanding of wolves, wolf interactions with other species, and overall wolf management. The total includes more than $200,000 in science grants in just the past five years. Most of the contributions paid for independent research by leading universities, state and federal wildlife conservation agencies and tribes.
“A key part of RMEF's mission is to ensure the future of elk and other wildlife,” said Allen. “This grant helps Idaho managers do that by helping them determine how many wolves are out there, where they travel and what effect they have on elk, deer and other ungulates.”
RMEF previously awarded 2013 grants to Montana and Wyoming to assist with wolf management in those states.
RMEF will allocate nearly $2.9 million for elk and wildlife-related conservation projects in 27 states with wild, free-ranging elk populations in 2013. Additionally $570,000 will also be allocated to hunting heritage programs in 49 states.
PREDATORS — More wolf-livestock issues are being reported on the same Idaho sheep ranching operation that recently lost 176 sheep in a single attack.