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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.”

Washington panel to consider moving wolf meeting to Spokane

ENDANGERED SPECIES — The first agenda item for Friday morning's  Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission telephone conference call is to consider new locations for the last of four public meetings on the state's proposed wolf management plan.

The commission held the first meeting on the controversial plan in Ellensburg, followed by two meetings in Olympia.

The fourth meeting scheduled for Nov. 3 also is set to be held in Olympia.

But apparently the commission is at least considering the fact that one of the meetings ought to be in the region where most of the state's gray wolves roam.

Check the commission’s website for the answer.

Deja vu: Wolf hunts challenged in court

PREDATORS — A group of wolf advocates has requested an emergency halt to wolf hunting in the Rocky Mountains.  Although the wolf hunting season has been open for weeks, the prime time for hunters being in the field begins Saturday, with the opening of Montana's big-game hunting season.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians want to return the gray wolf to federal Endangered Species Act protection.

In doing so, they're going against the grain of wildlife management professionals, sportsmen and general public opinion that wolves need to be managed.

After Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, delisted the wolf with a congressional rider last spring, the groups challenged the action in U.S. District Court.

Read the full story from the Missoulian.

Woman bowhunter glad to have .44 mag when wolf came

HUNTING — A 55-year-old woman from Headquarters, Idaho, told a newspaper she was glad to be packing a .44 magnum to boost her confidence when a very large wolf responded to her elk cow call by trotting in to within 10 feet.

That was a fatal mistake — for the wolf.

Rene Anderson told the Clearwater Tribune of Orofino (read the story here) that she put down her bow and drew her Smith & Wesson handgun as the wolf jumped up on a pile of logs very close to her on Sept. 25. She dispatched the wolf, which reportedly weighed more than 100 pounds, with four close-range shots.

The wolf paid the ultimate price for being so bold. Top wolf scientists say hunters are doing a favor for society and the wolves themselves by eliminating bold wolves from the population before they hurt someone.

KXLY TV followed up with an extended report and video.

Incidentally, Anderson was alone on a ridge when the incident happened.  She called her husband to come an get her on his ATV, and then waited anxiously, on the alert in case other wolves were in the area.

No elk showed up.

Yellowstone officials kill wolf seeking handouts

PREDATORS — It looks as though someone has killed another wolf with food.

A ranger at Yellowstone National Park has killed a gray wolf that repeatedly had come close to people in recent months.

The first case of this sort occurred in 2009, when park officials carried out their new management plan to eliminate any wolf that showed aggressive behavior or even too much friendliness toward people.

Park spokesman Dan Hottle says the 110-pound male wolf had come within a few feet of visitors and park staff on several occasions since this summer. Efforts to haze the wolf away from populated areas had proved unsuccessful.

Hottle says a ranger killed the wolf with a rifle on Saturday. The wolf was estimated to be between two and four years old and Hottle says park staff were concerned it might demonstrate more aggressive behavior.

Hottle says the park staff never saw anyone feed the wolf but believed it was conditioned to human food because it was following people. Feeding animals is a violation of park regulations.

Passions run high at latest Washington wolf plan meeting

ENDANGERED SPECIES —  Passions continued to run high in Washington about the growing wolf population as the state Fish and Wildlife Commission held a special meeting on a proposed wolf management plan Thursday in Olympia.

The commission and state Fish and Wildlife Department officials held the  22nd public meeting about wolf management before a capacity crowd in the large meeting hall from morning until evening, according to a report by Tom Banse of the NW News Network.

The Commission is scheduled to adop a wolf plan in December, although groups called for delays in that decision during Thursday's meeting.

Wildlife biologists have confirmed five wolf packs and that total about 30 wolves in Washington. They are scattered from the North Cascades east to the Selkirk Mountains, with newpacks emerging in the Blue Moutains.

Groups urge wolf delisting in Washington

ENDANGERED SPECIES — Two groups put the pressure on the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department this week by filing a petition urging the state to strip endangered species protections from gray wolves in the eastern one-third of the state.

The petition was filed with the state Fish and Wildlife Department just before today's special commission meeting in Olympia to discuss Washington's proposed wolf management plan.

Read on to see why state livestock growers and one hunting group is not pleased with the way the wolf plan is going.

Click here to see the proposed wolf plan, including recovery objectives that would allow the state to eventually remove wolves from protection lists.  

Wolf plan heads wildlife panel’s Oct. 6 agenda

ENDANGERED– Washington’s pending Wolf Conservation and Management Plan will be the focus of another special state Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting Oct. 6 in Olympia.

The discussion will center on the interaction of wolves with livestock and ungulates.  Public comment will be accepted.

The special session will be followed by an Oct. 7-8 meeting, when the commission will receive briefings on issues including the status of north coast steelhead stocks and population goals for deer, elk and other ungulates.

The special meeting is the second of three scheduled on the recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. The first was held in Ellensburg. The third special meeting is set for Nov. 3 in Olympia.

The commission is expected to take action on the plan in December.

Click here to see agendas for the commission meetings.

Click here to see the proposed wolf plan, including recovery objectives that would allow the state to eventually remove wolves from protection lists.  

Calf found dead: More Imnaha wolves targeted

ENDANGERED SPECIES – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will kill two wolves from the Imnaha wolf pack, including the collared alpha male,  after they were blamed for a livestock kill in Eastern Oregon.

The department tracked an adult male wolf with a GPS collar to the location of a calf that was killed last week, according to the Associated Press.

Killing the adult male and a second, uncollared wolf will leave two wolves in the pack. Other wolves from the pack have dispersed to new areas.

The wildlife-advocate group Oregon Wild has protested the proposed kills, saying they are a “major blow” to Oregon’s wolf recovery program.

The Imnaha pack has been blamed for 14 livestock kills since mid-2010.

Wolves in the area were delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act in May, when the department killed two other wolves.

The overall number of wolves in the state has fallen from 21 to 12. The number is expected to climb.

Wolves Spotted In St. Maries

A St. Maries woman is convinced she’s spotted wolves within city limits. Two others are sure they’ve heard them. While deer-watching one evening Brittany Odekirk caught a glimpse of more alarming wildlife. “We have a calico deer that is white from the mid-side back and I’ve been sitting and watching for it to take some pictures and I saw the wolves instead,” she said. “I’ve been watching them now for three weeks.” The wolves run through the field on the hill across from her home at Second Street and Dakota Avenue. “I’ve seen them twice on two different days and heard them twice on two other days,” she said. “We believe it is a mom and her pups, because several of the howls are more like yips”/Mary Orr, St. Maries Gazette-Record. More here. (St. Maries Gazette photo: Brittany Odekirk and her daughter Madison stand on their back porch.)

Question: How concerned would you be about wolves if they were this close to your home?

Idaho hunter bagged 2 wolves in 2 minutes

HUNTING — Hunters have a seven-month season to kill two wolves in Idaho, but Boise's Stan Burt did it in about two minutes, according to Roger Phillips of the Idaho Statesman

Near McCall of the second day of Idaho's wolf hunt, Burt said he howled to see if any wolves were in the area.

“A whole chorus erupted,” Burt told Phillips

Not only had Burt located a pack within a quarter mile, but the wolves had located him, and they headed in his direction.

He positioned himself in a clearing with a good view of the terrain.

Within minutes, Burt told Phillips he had at least eight wolves were milling around and looking for the source of the howling.

“They were basically all around me,” he said.

He got his sights on a wolf about 75 yards away and shot it with his Ruger bolt-action rifle chambered in .223.

He expected the wolves to scatter, but they continued stirring in front of him.

“The gunshot did not bother them,” he said. “It really unnerved me that they were not afraid of me after firing a rifle shot.”

Fish and Game taking names for Panhandle wolf trapping class

PREDATORS — Idaho wolf trapping rules require trappers complete a wolf trapper class before they can buy a wolf trapping tag.

Idaho Fish and Game Department regional officies are making a list of people interested in taking the courses, which will be scheduled, probably in October. The wolf trapping season — Idaho's first — will start in November.

To register for the Idaho Panhandle class, contact the Fish and Game office in Coeur d'Alene, (409) 769-1414.

Classes are first-come, first-served and limited to 25 individuals. The $8 fee covers the cost of materials. All class times, unless noted, are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break; lunch will not be provided.

For details please consult the Wolf Trapping page on the Fish and Game website: .

Wolf People Wolf On The Lam

When Mark Earls saw a shaggy, white wolf crossing a road in North Idaho’s Hoodoo Valley, he pulled out his cellphone to snap a picture of it. “What boggled him was that the wolf didn’t run away,” said his wife, Chelsea. “It didn’t appear to be afraid of him.” The wolf escaped from Wolf People, which operates a retail store on U.S. Highway 95 near Cocolalla, Idaho, and keeps captive wolves for viewing and filming, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The wolf apparently got out by digging underneath the fence, said Chip Corsi, Fish and Game’s regional manager. By some neighbors’ accounts, it has been seen in the area since June, acting like a stray dog. A captive wolf on the lam is a concern because it’s used to being around people/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.

Question: What do you make of the story Wolf People workers originally told that the wolf had died?

British Columbia declares open season on Chilcotin wolves

PREDATORSThe British Columbia government has declared open season on wolves in the Cariboo region to benefit cattle ranchers, a move that critics contend is unjustifiable and based on politics, not science.

Under new wildlife regulations, there is no closed season and no bag limit on hunting wolves in 10 management units in the Cariboo region, according to the Montreal Gazette.

An annual hunting bag limit of three wolves is typical in B.C.

The changes also allow for unlimited trapping of wolves on private land with leghold traps in nine management units from April 1 to Oct. 14.

Here we go again: court asked to reverse Congress on Rockies wolves

PREDATORS — As hunters have begun shooting gray wolves in the first weeks of the wolf hunting seasons in Idaho and Montana, wildlife advocates are once again urging a federal appeals panel to restore endangered species protections for wolves.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, WildEarth Guardians and other groups argue the judicial branch needs to “zealously guard” against a move by Congress that lifted protections in defiance of earlier court rulings, according to the Associated Press.

They sued the government after Congress in April approved a budget rider taking wolves off the endangered list in five states.

The filing of their briefs in the case comes as wildlife agencies on Friday reported hunters have killed 11 of the predators since wolf seasons opened in Idaho and Montana last week.

Initial attempts to stop the hunts were denied last month by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A November hearing in the case is expected.

Three wolves taken so far in opening days of Idaho’s wolf hunt

The Associated Press reports that three wolves have been taken since Idaho's second-ever wolf hunting season opened on Tuesday. Hunters have 72 hours to report a wolf kill to the agency's regional offices. So far, Fish & Game reports that one hunter bagged a black male wolf near Island Park in eastern Idaho on Tuesday; and a hunter roaming the backcountry near Warm Lake in central Idaho shot and killed two — one female pup and an adult female. Fish & Game spokesman Niels Nokkentved said all three were taken legally.

Idaho sportsman’s group sponsors wolf hunting contest

PREDATORS — Now that Idaho's wolf hunting season has begun, The Idaho County Sportsmen Club based in Grangeville is kicking off a wolf hunting contest.

Prizes are planned for the largest male wolf recorded, the largest female, best pelt, biggest paw and longest tooth, according to a club release.

The club is having a public meeting to annouce the event at 7 p.m. Sept. 6  at the Grangeville Senior Citizens Center.

Info: John Gaither, (208) 983-1685 or George Casteel, (208) 983-1538. 

Washington wolf plan hearing attracts testimony from 75 citizens

ENDANGERED SPECIES — About 75 members of the public turned out for the special Fish and Wildlife Commission hearing on the proposed Washington wolf recovery plan in Ellensburg on Monday.

Click here to read the Associated Press report.  It has a few strange errors, such as referring the commission vice chair Gary Douvia as Gary Donna.  But the story presents a glimpse of the discussions the state is encountering.

Idaho wolf hunting season opens tomorrow

Idaho's second-ever wolf hunting season opens tomorrow, running from Aug. 31 through Dec. 31 in the Island Park and Beaverhead wolf management zones, Aug. 30-June 30 in the Lolo and Selway zones, and Aug. 30-March 31 in the remaining nine zones. Click below for Idaho Fish & Game's full news release.

Idaho wolf hunting season opens Tuesday; nonresident tags marked down

HUNTING — Idaho's second wolf season in history opens Tuesday, and it's a bargain for nonresidents.

Last month, the state Fish and Game Commission reduced the price of non-resident wolf tags to $31.75 to encourage more hunters to buy them.

Sales of resident and nonresident tags are down significantly from the first season, which was held two years ago.

There’s no quota on wolves this time around in most units controlled trapping will be allowed.

Idaho Fish and Game has all the details at its website here.


Court rejects appeal to put Idaho, Montana wolf hunts on hold

ENDANGERED SPECIES — A federal appeals court on Thursday denied a request by environmental groups to halt wolf hunts that are scheduled to begin next week in Idaho and Montana, the Associated Press reports.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and other groups. The groups were seeking to cancel the hunts while the court considers a challenge to congressional action in April that stripped wolves of federal protections in Montana and Idaho, and in parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula reluctantly upheld a budget rider that was inserted by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. It marked the first time since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 that Congress forcibly removed protections from a plant or animal.

Read on for more details.

Bid to block Idaho, Montana wolf hunts rejected

The Associated Press reports that a federal appeals court in Helena, Mont. today rejected a request by environmental groups to halt wolf hunts that are scheduled to begin next week in Idaho and Montana. Click below for the full AP report.

Washington wolf plan hearing Aug. 29 in Ellensburg

ENDANGERED SPECIES — Planning that started in 2007 for dealing with the movement of gray wolves into Washington is inching closer to a conclusion.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has scheduled a special meeting to will hold a special meeting to continue its review of the the state's Final Environmental Impact Statement/Recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, and the public is invited to comment.

According to the agenda released yesterday, the wolf briefing by Fish and Wildlife Department staffers will begin at 9 a.m., Aug. 29, at the Quality Inn & Conference Center, 1700 Canyon Rd. in  Ellensburg on Monday, August 29, followed by a public input opportunity.

The public comment opportunity will come at the end of the afternoon portion of the meeting, which begins at 1 p.m.

The Commission plans to hold additional special meetings on Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 in Olympia to continue discussing the FEIS/Plan and hear public comment.

Commission meeting agendas, background materials and additional information will be available for viewing on the Commission’s web page.

Click here to see the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website dedicated to the plan for dealing with wolves in Washington.

Little controversy over wolf control in Idaho?

Quote of the week:

“There's a lot of people who support wolf recovery and wolves in Idaho, but I really believe that the pro-wolf part of Idaho has kind of shut up.”
Carter Niemeyer, who spent decades working as a wolf management specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, discussing Idahoans' attitude toward wolves.
- Missoula Independent


Next East Side wolf meeting Aug. 29 in Ellensburg

ENDANGERED SPECIES — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has scheduled three more special meetings to discuss the state's recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and take public comment.

A meeting in Ellensburg is set for Aug. 29 while the others are set for Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 in Olympia.

The plan is intended to guide state wolf management while wolves naturally disperse and re-establish a sustainable breeding population in the state.

The plan contains controversial recovery objectives that would allow the state to eventually remove wolves from protection lists, along with management strategies to address wolf/livestock and wolf/ungulate conflicts.

The recommended plan was developed after a scientific peer review and public review of the 2009 draft plan. The public comment process, which concluded last year, included 19 public meetings and drew nearly 65,000 responses.

In addition, a 17-member citizen Wolf Working Group, which advised WDFW on the plan, met with WDFW staff 10 times from 2007-2011.

Photo shows Imnaha wolf pack has at least one pup

ENDANGERED SPECIES — While lots of eyes and camera lenses are out there trying to get a handle on the growth of northwest wolf packs, a remote camera in Oregon came up with at least one solid find: The Imnaha wolf pack in northeast Oregon was parading past the camera with at least one of this year's pups in tow.

A black-colored pups was photographed July 16 by an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife camera.  It's traveling with the Imnaha pack’s alpha female (its mother). So far, photographs and visual observations have turned up only one pup for the Imnaha pack this year, but more pups may be found.

Oregon Fish and Wildlife has made other photos of the pack available here.

At least three members of the Imnaha pack dispersed from the pack in the past few months, biologists say, including one collared female that moved into Washington last winter when she was 1.5 years old.

“Wolf packs are dynamic and rarely stay the same size over time,” noted Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. “A pack can be healthy despite these natural fluctuations in numbers, as long as a breeding pair of wolves, the alpha male and female, is maintained.” 

Montana wolf tags on sale Monday

HUNTING — Montana's wolf-hunting licenses will go on sale Monday, Aug. 8.

Licenses will be valid within 14 specifically defined wolf management units. Hunters must obtain permission to hunt on private lands, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say.

Idaho's tags already are on sale, but interest is far lower than the first season two years ago.

Read on for Montana details.

Federal judge in Montana upholds congressional wolf-delisting rider

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has reluctantly ruled to uphold a congressional budget provision that removed federal protections for the Northern Rockies gray wolf outside of Wyoming. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy says that binding precedent by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals requires him to rule against a constitutional challenge of the rider passed by Congress earlier this year. Molloy wrote in his order Wednesday that without that precedent, he would have ruled unconstitutional the provision that strips wolves of their endangered status in Montana, Idaho and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. Molloy says he believes the way Congress passed the provision undermines and disrespects the fundamental idea of the rule of law. Before Congress' action in April, Molloy had twice blocked attempts to lift protections for the predators.

Wyoming reaches wolf delisting deal with feds

Wyoming and the U.S. Department of Interior have announced a deal for delisting wolves in that state, which previously had been excluded from delisting because of its shoot-on-sight policy declaring wolves predators; that still would be allowed in most of the state under the tentative agreement, the Associated Press reports today. Click below for a full report from reporter Ben Neary of the AP in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Washington Wildlife Commission to hear wolf plan briefing

ENDANGERED SPECIES –Washington’s gray wolf conservation and management plan will take another step toward adoption Thursday when the nearly completed document – years in the making – is presented to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.

State wildlife officials will start their presentation to the commission at 10 a.m. in the Natural Resources Building in Olympia.

The presentation will include a summary of comments received from public and scientific peer reviews and the 17-member Wolf Working Group.

Public comment will be allowed after the briefing, which is expected to carry on to late afternoon.

Here's the agenda is for this special meeting.

Public meetings across the state are possible, but have not been announced.

The commission may consider approval of a final plan later this year.

Following are links to documents from the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department's Wolf Management Website:


Wolf Working Group Review Draft: Wolf Conservation and Management Plan for Washington- This draft was discusssed by the Wolf Working Group at its June 8-9, 2011, meeting.

Other recent updates

For more information, see: Wolf Plan Development Process and Archive