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Wolf collared in Washington trapped, killed in Idaho

WILDLIFE — Many of the wolves in northeastern Washington moved in naturally from Idaho.  But the Gem State is a dangerous place for the wolves to return.

A radio-collared wolf from the Diamond Pack in east-central Pend Oreille County was killed Dec. 20 by a trapper in North Idaho a few hundred yards east of the stateline.

Trappers have reported taking at least six wolves in the Idaho Panhandle during the state's first trapping season, which started Nov. 15 and runs through March 15.  Hunters have reported taking 28 wolves so far this season in the Panhandle, counting the one checked in at Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday.

Statewide, hunters have tagged at least 173 wolves in Idaho so far this season and trappers have reported taking 24.

The wolf trapped Dec. 20 was one of four Washington wolves wearing radio collars to track the movements of the Diamond Pack, which wanders along the stateline, as well as the Salmo Pack that roams the boundary with Canada.

“We will get the radio collar back,” said Madonna Luers, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Spokeswoman in Spokane in an interview with Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman Magazine.

Meantime, here's the latest Idaho Panhandle wolf report posted Tuesday evening by Jim Hayden, Fish and Game regional wildlife manager.

Wolf Harvest

Checked another wolf today, so we’re at 28 wolves taken in the Panhandle via hunting, and 6 via trapping.  By this date two years ago, we had taken just 13 wolves.  (In fact, the 14thwolf didn’t come until Feb. 2.)  We ended up with 24 legal wolf kills two years ago (there were also 4 illegal kills added for a total of 28). 

So, we’re taking more wolves than we did two years ago, even if just hunting is considered.  Will we have more wolves at the end of the season than we did two years ago or less?  There might be plenty of folks willing to say they know.  I’m not one of them.  There are just too many unknowns – did we take more wolves simply because there are more around?  Are hunters more effective than they were two years ago?  Both?  Neither?

Feds want to turn over wolf management to states

WILDLIFE — The Obama administration today declared more than 4,000 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have recovered from widespread extermination and will be removed from the endangered species list.

After devoting four decades and tens of millions of dollars to saving the gray wolf, the federal government wants to get out of the wolf-protection business, leaving it to individual states — and the wolves themselves — to determine the future of the legendary predator.

Read the details from the Associated Press.

Montana sportsman’s group offers $100 reward for wolf kills

PREDATORS — Idaho is using trappers and helicopter gunners to try to get wolf numbers down.

In Montana, with wolf-harvest goals looking as though they could go unmet,  a hunting group is offering a legal version of a bounty as an incentive to get hunters out to fill more wolf tags.

The Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is offering $100 and an annual membership for photographs of wolves killed in any open wolf hunting district between Dec. 19 and the Feb. 15 end of the season, or until a quota is filled.

Read the story from the Ravali Republic.

Trib: Jeers To Hart For Wolf Claim

In his TGIF Cheers & Jeers column this week (full version here), Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune jeers state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. “Not only is he a tax scofflaw and a timber bandit, he's now a certified blowhard. It will be a cold day in Athol before Hart's political grandstanding makes a difference in Boise, much less Washington, D.C. But that hasn't stopped him from trying. Hart claims Congress knuckled under and pulled wolves in Idaho and Montana from the federal Endangered Species Act protection because of his bill declaring a state emergency and authorizing the killing of wolves.

  • Rule No. 1 - Idaho can pass all the bills it wants. It can't trump a federal law.
  • Rule No. 2 - Get your facts straight, Phil. Two months earlier U.S. Rep Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, engineered a rider - and an alliance with Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana - to end federal wolf protection. ”

Question: Who would be a good candidate to challenge Rep. Phil Hart in the 2012 GOP primary?

Aerial wolf hunting criticizm is merely shooting the breeze

PREDATORS — Last week, Idaho Fish and Game officials announced they will be using aerial gunning from helicopters to help reduce the number of wolves along the Idaho -Montana border in an effort to give a hurting elk herd some breathing room to recover.

The Los Angeles Times seized upon this story, not so much on the effort to keep the prey base healthy, but on the professionalism of the federal agents assigned to control wildlife.

The paper leads with concern raised by a 2006 photo of government gunners in a plane with more than 50 decals of wolf paw prints fixed to the fuselage much as WW II aces signified the number of enemy aircraft they downed.

But really: These guys have a job to do, and a very dangerous one at that. The goal is to reduce the number of wolves. Each wolf kill is logged and detailed in required reports.

It's no different than the goal to reduce the number of lake trout in Lake Pend Oreille to help bring back the kokanee.

Does it really make any difference that some of the wolves will be dispatched from an aircraft or that some of the shooters marked their efforts with decals on a plane  years ago?

No.

Read on for a report on the IFG announcement as published in the Lewiston Morning Tribune.

Idaho calling copters, trappers to cull Lolo wolves

PREDATORS — Idaho Fish and Game Department plans to use helicopter gunners and government trappers to kill wolves roaming the Lolo Zone, a remote, rugged area in the north-central part of the state once populated by some of Idaho's biggest elk herds.

Trapping efforts will begin later this month, coinciding with the current hunting and trapping season for wolves, said Dave Cadwallader, the agency's regional supervisor in Lewiston. Helicopter gunning will begin later this winter.

See more details from the AP report.

Also:

Montana wildlife commission extends wolf hunt season to Feb. 15
At its meeting on Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission voted to extend the state's wolf hunt season from Dec. 31 to Feb. 15, since only 106 of the state's quota of 220 wolves have been killed thus far.

Montana FWP OKs plan to let ranchers use hunters to remove wolves
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission approved a policy that will allow ranchers to use hunters, as well as federal wildlife agents, to remove problem wolves.

— Helena Independent Record

Updated: More reaction to adoption of WA wolf plan

ENDANGERED SPECIES — After four years of development, public review and controversy, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission Saturday unanimously adopted a plan that will guide state conservation and management of gray wolves in the state.

The citizen commission approved the Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan at a public meeting in Olympia, according to a media release from Fish and Wildlife Department officials.

Read two detailed accounts of the commission's discussion and vote.

Read reaction to the plan adoption from a wide range of groups.

The plan establishes recovery objectives for gray wolves in three regions in Washington, along with procedures for addressing predation on livestock and impacts on ungulates such as deer, elk and caribou.

Before the final vote, the commission approved several changes to the draft plan, including one that modified the distribution of breeding wolf pairs needed to remove wolves from the state’s endangered species list.

During the past four years, the plan developed by WDFW in conjunction with a 17-member citizen Wolf Working Group has been the focus of 23 public meetings, 65,000 written comments and a blind scientific peer review.

The working group split over the key element of how many breeding packs would be allowed before wolf numbers would be controlled.  The dissenting group wanted the number set at eight breeding pairs.  But the commission adopted the higher number recommended by a majority of the panel.

Key elements of the plan approved by the commission include:

  • Recovery goals:  The plan establishes a recovery objective of 15 breeding pairs of wolves that are present in the state for at least three years. Before gray wolves can be removed from the state’s endangered species list, at least four of those breeding pairs must be verified in Eastern Washington, four in the northern Cascades, four in the southern Cascades/Northwest coastal area and three others anywhere in the state. The commission also allows WDFW to initiate action to delist gray wolves if 18 breeding pairs are documented during a single year.
  • Livestock protection:  The plan provides a variety of management measures – from technical assistance for landowners to lethal removal – to control wolves that prey on livestock. The plan also establishes conditions for compensating ranchers who lose livestock to wolf predation.
  • Wildlife protection:The plan allows WDFW to use lethal and non-lethal measures to manage wolf predation on at-risk deer, elk and caribou populations if wolf numbers reach or exceed the recovery objective within a region where predation occurs. The commission modified the definition of “at-risk” populations to give WDFW more flexibility in responding to the effect of wolf predation on those animals.

WDFW is not allowed to import wolves from other states or seek to increase the wolf population to historic levels under the parameters set for the new wolf management plan by an associated environmental impact statement.

Read on for more details.

Idaho Targets Lolo Zone Wolves

An Idaho Department of Fish and Game official said Thursday the state will use aerial gunning and professional and government trappers to kill wolves in the Lolo Zone, even as public hunting and trapping seasons continue. Dave Cadwallader, supervisor of the department's Clearwater Region, said he wants a multipronged approach to wolf control in the difficult-to-access area where elk herds are hurting. … Idaho's wolf hunting season opened in late August, but only six wolves have been harvested in the Lolo Zone … That is far fewer than the 50 to 60 wildlife managers want to remove from the area, where elk numbers have fallen from a high of about 16,000 in the late 1980s to about 2,000 today/Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Is the state of Idaho acting properly in targetting Lolo Zone wolves for trapping and aerial kill?

Who will pay tab for managing wolves?

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has budgeted more than $800,000 to manage wolves in the state during the next two years.

That's less than half of what Idaho and Montana are spending with federal support that's likely to evaporate in the next couple of years.

The $808,099 he recommended to the Legislature includes $608,099 for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to manage wolves in the state’s trophy game area in the northwest corner of the state, according to the Jackson  Hole News & Guide. Another $200,000 would go to the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to kill wolves involved in livestock depredations in about 85 percent of the state where they are classified as predators.

The wolf management money would come from the Wyoming's general fund. Typically, money for Wyoming Game and Fish comes from hunter revenues.

Here in Washington, it's not clear where the money for managing wolves under the recently approved Wolf Conservation and Management Plan will be generated.

And there's only about $25,000 set aside for compensating ranchers for livestock losses at this time.

Hart Takes Credit For Wolf De-Listing

It may be revisionist history or simply effective campaign rhetoric, but at least Rep. Phil Hart isn’t waiting long to correct the record – as he sees it. Hart, R-Athol, said yesterday that it was the Idaho Legislature’s passage of House Bill 343 that spurred Congress to remove Idaho and Montana wolves from the U.S. Endangered Species List in April and allow this year’s wolf hunt. Forget that U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and other members of Congress and Gov. Butch Otter have worked the issue since before wolves were reintroduced in Idaho in 1995. “I was one of the main authors of the wolf emergency bill last session, which caused Congress to delist the wolves about three days after the (Idaho) Senate approved that bill,” Hart told me/Dan Popkey, Statesman. More here.

Question: Which critter above scares you most?

Gregoire fills two vacancies on Fish and Wildlife Commission

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — Larry Carpenter, a Mount Vernon boat dealer and long-time sportfishing enthusiast, and Jay Kehne, an Omak conservationist, sheep farmer and hunter, have been appointed to vacant positions on the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The commission is a nine-member panel that makes policy for the state Fish and Wildlife Department and sets rules such those for hunting and fishing seasons.

The announcedment was made today by Gov. Chris Gregoire's office.

Carpenter is likely to be a strong voice for salmon and steelhead sportfishing. 

Kehne likely falls in the category of wolf advocate, considering he’s the Okanogan outreach coordinator for Conservation Northwest, but he has a well-rounded resume of credentials.

Here's some insight from a “Living with Wolves” program report by Scott Sandsberry of the Yakima Herald-Republic.

During his 31-year career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Kehne’s worked to provide conservation assistance to farmers and ranchers.  He’s worked with conservation easements involving counties as well as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

He’s a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Mule Deer Foundation.

Kehne is the replacement for Spokane’s George Orr, who retired from the commission at the end of his term a year ago.

Hunters, trappers making dent in Panhandle wolf population

PREDATORS — Hunters and trappers are making a little progress in reducing the number of wolves in Idaho, with North Idaho hunters doing better than they did during the last wolf season in 2009-2010.

Here's this week's update from Jim Hayden, Idaho Fish and  Game Department regional wildlife manager in Coeur d'Alene.:

Wolf harvest in the Panhandle is at 25 to date, slightly higher than we had in all of the 2009/10 season. During 2009, we had 24 hunter kills by the end of March. (There were also 4 illegal kills in 2009, giving us the final tally of 28.)

The wolf trapping season has been open for 3 weeks. Only 1 wolf has been reported taken by trapping in the state so far (in the Clearwater), although many trappers may have still been deer hunting (season closed last Thursday).

Group using non-lethal means to keep wolves from livestock

PREDATORS — While the sheep will always face predators, falling victim to a wolf hasn't been a looming concern for livestock growers in Blaine County, Idaho, where a Defenders of Wildlife project is showing encouraging results.

Four years ago, Defenders 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.

See what's transpired in this story from the Magic Valley News.

Wolf killed in Montana had traveled 300+ miles

WILDLIFE — A male black wolf shot by a southeastern Montana rancher Sunday had traveled hundreds of miles from its former home range in Wyoming, officials say.

The 2-1/2-year old wolf was far from home — 300 in a direct line and many more on ground. That’s not an unusual distance for a young wolf to travel, Mike Jimenez, wolf recovery project leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Wyoming, told the Billings Gazette.

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

Although the average distance that 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., write's Gazette Outdoor reporter Brett French. 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 as it worked the rancher's sheep had been collared last winter north of Jackson, Wyo., as a member of the Gros Ventre wolf pack. He was listed as wolf No. 751.

Will Montana hunters step up to the plate to control wolves?

PREDATORS — A quote to consider regarding the status of wolf control in Montana:

“Most hunters say 'I'm just not going to put aside my deer and elk season for wolves.' 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.”
 
Quentin Kujala, state Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife section chief, about hunters' interest in hunting just wolves now that big-game season has ended in Montana.
- Missoulian (Montana Standard)





  

Washington wolf plan up for commission vote; fishing proposals to be heard

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — After four years of development, extensive public review — and lingering controversy —  the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting a plan for managing wolves as they re-establish breeding packs on the east side of the state.

The commission, currently with seven citizen members, is scheduled to take action on the Fish and Wildlife Department’s recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan on Saturday (Dec. 3), the second day of a public meeting set for Dec. 2-3 in Olympia.

The agenda is posted at on the WDFW website

Key aspects of the proposed wolf plan establish recovery objectives for gray wolves in Washington, along with strategies for addressing their interactions with livestock and wildlife species such as elk and deer.

The plan does not necessarily come with permanent funding to pay for livestock losses or support the wildlife monitoring suggested by the plan.

WDFW began developing the plan in 2007 anticipating that gray wolves would naturally migrate to the state from Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and British Columbia. Since then, five wolf packs have been documented in the state – three in northeastern Washington and two in the north Cascades.  Other packs are working along the Idaho-Washington border and at least one also is working along the Oregon-Washington border.

The gray wolf is currently listed as endangered throughout Washington under state law and as endangered in the western two-thirds of the state under federal law.

Since 2009, WDFW’s proposed plan has been the focus of 19 public meetings, written comments from nearly 65,000 people, a scientific peer review, and recommendations from the 17-member citizen Wolf Working Group, formed in 2007 to advise the department in developing the plan.

The wolf plan calls for allowing 15 breeding wolf packs before taking management measures to limit further growth of the packs. A discenting faction within the wolf working group recommends about  eightwolf packs be tolerated before controling wolves.

  • On Dec. 2, the first day of the meeting, the commission will consider proposals by WDFW to acquire land in four counteis, including Grant and Asotin counties to preserve critical habitat for fish and wildlife.
  • In addition, WDFW will brief the commission on proposed new sportfishing rules for 2012-13. The proposals will be refined before the panel votes on them in February.

WA wolf management plan likely to be approved

ENDANGERED SPECIES — Despite considerable controversy over the proposed Washington Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, it's likely to be approved this weekend by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Read my previous blog post for links and details.

The major point of contention is the number of breeding packs that will be allowed before the state would be allowed to control the number of wolves through hunting or some other means.  Hunters and livestock groups, looking at the experience of Montana and Idaho, would like to keep the number of breeding packs low — around eight —  considering the amount of game and habitat available.

However, scientists commenting on the plan have sided with advocates of a higher number of breeding packs — around 15 — for genetic diversity and sustainability of the wolves.

I'll guarantee this much:  Having too many wolves won't be good for anyone, ESPECIALLY the wolves themselves. 

Lawsuits are likely down the road no matter which way the Fish and Wildlife Commission votes on Saturday. So, the panel's best course in order to make their best case in court is to side with the scientists.

Meantime, sportsmen are going to have to find a way to fund wildlife science to document the changes in big-game herds as wolves expand in order to take advantage of the plan's caveats for preventing declines in deer and elk numbers.  Without that science, grumbling will be moot.

Need another perspective:  Here's a Seattle Times op-ed column, Washington's Wolf Management Plan only a starting point.

Rifle prize offered to lure Bitterroot wolf hunters

PREDATORS —  A southwestern Montana sportsman’s group is hoping to encourage wolf hunting in the Bitterroot Valley by holding a drawing for a rifle from among the names of those who successfully bag a wolf in December. 
  

Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association President Tony Jones tells the Ravalli Republic the drawing is an effort to get enough hunting pressure to fill quotas set for wolves in two areas where elk populations have been declining. 
  

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials virtually eliminated elk hunting opportunities in the southern Bitterroot Valley after several years of poor elk calf survival. 
  

Quotas totaling 54 wolves have been established in the East and West forks of the Bitterroot River. A total of 17 wolves had been shot by Friday.
  

Oregon court halts killing of cattle-eating wolves; case pending

 ENDANGERED SPECIES — The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that conservation groups have a good chance of overturning a state order to kill wolves blamed for attacking livestock, and issued a stay that will remain in force until the lawsuit is settled, according to the Associated Press.


The ruling filed in Salem set one condition: that conservation groups post $5,000 security against any livestock losses while the case is pending.


The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife issued an order in late September to kill two members of the Imnaha pack in Wallowa County, including the alpha male, after confirming by radio tracking collar data that the pack was responsible for another cattle kill in Wallowa County.


Conservation groups sued to challenge it, arguing the Oregon Wolf Management Plan, which allows wolves to be killed to reduce livestock attacks, does not comply with the state Endangered Species Act.
  

Montana hunters not killing enough wolves, counties say

PREDATORS Idaho's wolf trapping season starts today to boost the take of wolves in areas where hunting hasn't been able to fulfill the quotas set by the state.

Meanwhile in Montana, where the general rifle season hunting past the half-way mark, the public and some officials are starting to doubt that hunters will fill the quota set for wolves in the West Fork of the Bitterroot, according to a story in the Ravalli Republic.

Fish and game commissioners suggest the wolf season likely will be extended. Once hunters are done with their deer and elk hunting, maybe some will focus more on wolves.

On the other hand, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department just announced it will be closing a central Montana region to wolf hunting because the quota of 18 wolves has been reached.  Read on for the announcement.

The hunting of all wolves in Montana Wolf Management Unit 390, which include portions of Silver Bow, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Cascade, Meagher, Gallatin, Park, Judith Basin, Wheatland, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Carbon, Golden Valley, Fergus, Petroleum, Musselshell, Yellowstone, Big Horn, Treasure, Rosebud, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Custer, Powder River, Carter, Fallon, Wibaux, Dawson and Richland Counties will closeWednesday, November 16, at one half-hour after sunset.

The order halting the hunt came after Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials received word that the pre-established harvest quota for wolves in the WMU had been met.

Woman deer hunter details unnerving encounter with wolves near Chelan

WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — A woman scouting for deer during Washington's early deer hunt details her tense encounter with two wolves that apparently were defending their deer kill near Lake Chelan in this blog post by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.

No shots fired. I admire her poise.

Hunting groups support Ore. order to shoot wolves

WILDLIFE – Three hunting groups are supporting the state of Oregon in a lawsuit trying to overturn state authority to shoot wolves that attack livestock, the Associated Press reports.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Oregon Hunters Association, and the Oregon chapter of the North American Wild Sheep Foundation have all asked the Oregon Court of Appeals to allow them to file friend of the court briefs supporting the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Conservation groups are trying to overturn a department order to kill two wolves from the Imnaha pack that have been blamed for livestock attacks in northeastern Oregon.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation says in a statement that elk herds are struggling to survive in places wolves have been reintroduced.

Conservation groups counter climate change and habitat are more likely causes than wolves.

Lawyers spar over Idaho, Montana wolves in California courtroom

Attorneys for wolf advocates and government officials sparred in a Pasadena, Calif. courtroom today over ongoing wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana; a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard the arguments. The conservation groups want an injunction to halt the hunts while the case proceeds, though two previous such requests have been denied; there was no immediate decision. Click below for a full report from the Associated Press.

Idaho wolf trapping season opens Nov. 15

PREDATORS — Hunters and their guns have not been particularly effective in controlling wolf numbers in Idaho in the two seasons that have been held over the past three years.

This month, wildlife managers will turn to trappers to do the job.

The first wolf trapping season in decades opens Nov. 15-March 31 in the Lolo zone; Selway zone; Middle Fork zone; Dworshak-Elk City zone, except Unit 10A; and the Panhandle zone, except for units 2 and 3. All other zones are closed to trapping, subject to an Idaho Fish and Game Commission review in January.

Trappers must complete a required wolf trapping class before they can buy wolf trapping tags, valid only in zones with an open wolf trapping season. Licensed trappers may buy three tags per trapping season. Wolf tags cost $11.50 for resident hunters, and $31.75 for nonresidents. Trappers also may buy an additional two hunting tags per calendar year.

See details of wolf hunting and trapping seasons and rules here.

Read on for more information for trappers — as well as for the public who might encounter wolf traps on their own or with their pets. 

Also, read this disturbing story from the Great Falls Tribune about a bird hunter whose dog had a near-death experience with a snare trap, which is legal under the Idaho rules.

Wolf arguments set for tomorrow in 9th Circuit

A panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will hear arguments tomorrow in California on an appeal seeking to stop the ongoing wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana; as of today, Idaho Fish & Game reports that 107 wolves have been taken in Idaho since Aug. 30 in this year's hunting season. Prior requests in federal court for an emergency injunction against the hunts were rejected; the Alliance for the Wild Rockies has appealed to the 9th Circuit. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Matthew Brown in Billings.

First wolf in 65 years ventures into western Oregon

ENDANGERED SPECIES — The first wolf confirmed in western Oregon in 65 years has been roaming Douglas County for a week as wildlife official track its exploration in the high Cascades by satellite.

The 2-year-old collared male, dubbed OR-7, has been staying mostly in the Umpqua National Forest's Oregon Cascades Recreation Area, which is sparsely crisscrossed with old logging roads, according to stories by Mark Freeman of the Medford Mail-Tribune.
 
Born in Oregon in 2009 and collared last February, this wolf was part of the Imnaha pack in Wallowa County and split from that pack Sept. 10 in what biologists called dispersing, the wolf's version of leaving the nest, Freeman writes.
 
So far, it has traveled more than 250 miles on its journey and there was no way to guess when or where this wolf will end up, biologists have said.
 
The last confirmed wolf in Western Oregon was one shot and killed for a bounty in 1946 in Douglas County.
The wolf roaming the county this week is protected as an endangered species.
 
Biologists have said there was a “high likelihood” other noncollared wolves have reached the Cascades, said Russ Morgan, the ODFW's wolf program coordinator.
 
Oregon has a minimum population of 23 confirmed wolves since the first wandered in from Idaho in 1999. There was no statewide population estimate for the wolves.

Updated: Wildlife Commission tackling Washington wolf plan today in Spokane

ENDANGERED SPECIES – Washington’s proposed Wolf Conservation and Management Plan will be presented and discussed during the state Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting today, starting at 9 a.m. at the Ramada Spokane Airport, 8909 W. Airport Dr.

Public comment will be taken during the afternoon session.

This is the last of four public meetings the commission has scheduled on the controversial management plan that's been two years in the making.

The wolf plan is coming to a head as Washington has documented five breeding packs in the state and as the state Legislature is presparing to convene for yet another round of budget cuts to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department. See today's story regarding the uncertainly building for financing wolf management and covering the costs of wolf depredations to livestock.

See the agenda for the commission meeting, which continues through Friday for considering other state wildlife issues.

See details of the proposed wolf plan and a timetable for its authorization.

Here's an AP story running in papers today dealing with issues such as why the commission's wolf plan meeting was rescheduled from Olympia to Spokane.

The Spokesman-Review will cover the meeting for a report in Friday's paper.

Read on for more details about the meeting, which was rescheduled from Olympia to Spokane just last week.

Oregon’s new wolf pack adopts Hells Canyon

ENDANGERED SPECIES — Oregon's newest confirmed wolf pack is roaming the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and Wilderness along the Snake River bordering Idaho.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife used hunter reports and remote cameras to help them document at leat five wolves in the pack last week, including at least one pup.

The Snake River wolf pack is the fourth to be confirmed in Oregon since the mid-2000s, when wolves began filtering into the state from Idaho.

Earlier this month, ODFW radio-collared its first wolf (female pup) from the Walla Walla pack in Umatilla County, a pack first documented in January 2011. It roams along the Oregon-Washington border.

The current minimum known number of wolves ODFW can account for in Oregon is 23: the Imnaha pack (four), Walla Walla pack (six), Snake River pack (five), Wenaha pack (four), northern Umatilla County wolves (two) plus two dispersers from the Imnaha pack that remain in Oregon. 

Officials say it's likely that more than 23 wolves exist in Oregon, where they are still protected by the state Endangered Species Act along with the federal ESA in areas west of Highways 395-78-95.

Hunters take few wolves on Panhandle, so far

HUNTING — Hunters are taking a few more wolves this season than in the first season of wolf hunting in the Idaho Panhandle. Wildlife managers say that trend along with this year's new tool in wolf management — trapping — should help get the wolf numbers under control.

Hunters reported killing seven wolves in the Panhandle during the Oct. 1-24 period in 2009.

During the same period this year, hunters have taken nine wolves, reports Jim Hayden, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional wildlife manager in Coeur d'Alene.

“We also had an earlier opener this year (Aug. 30) with 6 wolves taken prior to Oct. 1.  If we follow the same pattern of harvest as 2009, we would have a final hunter harvest of about 40 wolves.  In general terms, this would take care of most, if not all of the expected reproductive increase.  Trapping should result in a decrease in the Panhandle’s wolf population.”