MTPR

Wolves

Livestock carcass composting site outside Wisdom, MT.
Courtesy of the Big Hole Watershed Committee

Livestock death is part of ranching. At some point, ranchers have to deal with dead animals, from things like difficult births, disease, and weather extremes. And in southwest Montana, those dead animals can also attract unwelcome visitors — wolves and black bears looking for an easy meal.

Montana Wildlife Officials Plan To Change The Way They Count Wolves

Jun 7, 2017
The new counting model uses hunter sightings to help map areas occupied by wolves
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (CC-BY-2)

Montana wildlife officials say the way they count wolves is too expensive and falls far short of an actual population estimate, so they plan to switch to a model that uses information gathered from hunters. Conservationists say they want to learn more about the new plan.

One of the Yellowstone National Park's best-known wolves had to be put down after being found injured.
Neal Herbert/NPS

Yellowstone National Park has increased the reward for information about the shooting of one of the park’s most well-known wolves. This more than a month after offering an initial reward.

2015 photo of the female wolf from Yellowstone's Canyon pack. The wolf was found mortally wounded from a gunshot on April 11 near Gardiner, MT.
Jim Peaco - Yellowstone National Park (PD)

The investigation continues into the shooting of a wolf that was popular with Yellowstone National Park tourists.

Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin says hikers discovered the mortally wounded wolf on April 11:

Bullock Vetoes 10 More Bills, Including Water-Well Measure

May 11, 2017
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed 10 more bills Thursday, including one that would have allowed residential subdivision developers to resume drilling multiple small water wells from the same water source without a permit.

One of the Yellowstone National Park's best-known wolves had to be put down after being found injured.
Neal Herbert/NPS

One of the Yellowstone National Park's best-known wolves had to be put down after being found injured.

P.J. White of the National Park Service says the female wolf was found Tuesday by hikers on the north side of the park.

The M-44 consists of a capsule holder, a cyanide capsule, a spring-activated ejector, and a stake.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Environmental and animal welfare groups are suing the federal government over its use of two widely used predator-killing poisons. Compound 1080 and M-44s, are effective tools to kill coyotes and other native carnivores.

Bethany Cotton says that’s part of the problem; they’re too effective:

Yellowstone National Park: Is It Really Wild?

Nov 10, 2016
© Michael Nichols/National Geographic Yellowstone National Park. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River from Artist Point.

The May 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine is devoted entirely to America's first national park: Yellowstone. It's more than just a park. It's a place where, 140 years ago, we began to negotiate a peace treaty with the wild.  David Quammen tells the story of the park in a four-part essay. He is the only author to write the entire narrative for an entire issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Yellowstone National Park: America’s Wild Idea. These stories and pictures of Yellowstone National Park's animals will surprise you.

    

Wild Sky Beef is part of American Prairie Reserve’s mission to provide habitat for wildlife.

The for-profit arm of APR is paying its neighboring ranchers if they agree to be wildlife friendly.

Some ranchers in central and northeastern Montana resent APR, and its wealthy backers, for buying or leasing their neighbor’s land and turning loose free-roaming bison.

Panel Rejects Move To Triple Wolf Harvest Near Yellowstone

May 12, 2016
The new counting model uses hunter sightings to help map areas occupied by wolves
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (CC-BY-2)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A proposal to triple the number of wolves that hunters and trappers can kill just outside Yellowstone National Park was rejected Thursday by Montana wildlife commissioners.

Wildlife managers had recommended increasing the 2016 wolf quota for a hunting district near Gardiner from two animals to six. Agency officials had cited complaints from hunters and outfitters that the predators were eating too many elk.

Montana Proposes To Triple Wolf Harvest Near Yellowstone

May 10, 2016
Wolf on the northern range of Yellowstone National Park.
Jim Peaco (PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana officials want to triple the number of gray wolves hunters and trappers can kill in an area bordering Yellowstone National Park, citing complaints the predators are eating too many elk wanted by hunters and outfitters.

Conservation groups seek extension of wolf monitoring program
(PD)

Five conservation groups want to extend a five year federal wolf monitoring program in Idaho and Montana. Those groups put the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on notice Wednesday that the monitoring program should be extended another 5 years. And they’re willing to sue to make it happen.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has determined that the animal seen chasing elk on Mount Jumbo last week was a domestic dog.

Conservation groups seek extension of wolf monitoring program
(PD)

Trappers in Montana won’t be able to get certified online to trap wolves, at least for now. The state’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks department has proposed ending the in-person classes it now requires wolf trappers to pass, and going to online classes to save money.

The new counting model uses hunter sightings to help map areas occupied by wolves
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (CC-BY-2)

Montana officials are seeking permission to offer a wolf trapping course online after seeing class participation decline over the last two years. The safety and education course is a requirement for anybody who wants to trap a wolf in the state. Once they pass, certification is good for life.

Seacrest Wolf Preserve

"If you are lucky, you might see some of Montana’s wolf pups emerging from their dens starting in mid-May. At first the pups stay at the entrance of the den, where they have been holed up with their mother since being born some three weeks earlier. They startle easily at first, disappearing frequently into the den, but soon they are exploring the area around the mouth of the den and socializing with the rest of the pack.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released their latest wolf count on Thursday. Fewer wolf deaths were reported in Montana in 2014 than in the previous year, but the population is trending downward.

The Montana House is considering whether hunters should be allowed to use rifles fitted with sound suppressors, a move that’s favored by hunting organizations but opposed by game wardens.

Suppressors are not the silencers we often see in movies but they do cut down the sound, or “report” from a hunting rifle. Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association says suppressors are allowed in 34 other states because they help protect a hunter’s hearing, in situations where it’s not practical to wear earplugs or earmuffs.

Retron

"Take a dozen railroad whistles, braid them together, and then let one strand after another drop off, the last peal so frightfully piercing as to go through your heart and soul." According to biologist Stanley P. Young, that's a stockmen's take on the sound of a howling wolf pack. But it'll come as no surprise to any dog owner that while howling is the most recognizable of four different wolf vocalizations, under various circumstances, wolves also growl, whimper, and bark.

Wolves A Source Of Wonder, Controversy 20 Years After Reintroduction

Jan 13, 2015
Jim Peaco (CC-BY-2.0)

Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the arrival of 8 wolves into Yellowstone National Park. That event marked the beginning of the recovery effort for the grey wolf, a species that had been absent from the Northern Rockies for more than 70 years.

Several of the former National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials in the recovery effort met Sunday and Monday to reflect on the effort and consider the future of the grey wolf.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Organizers have canceled the coyote and wolf hunting event in Sanders County, Montana that was scheduled for January 16 - 18. The owner of the hotel where registration was going to take place tells us he received death threats against himself and his family, and threats of "character assassination and business assassination," but has no comment beyond that.

Click here to see the Facebook post announcing the event's cancelation.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal wildlife managers expect to have the updated, 5-year wolf management plan finalized by the end of January.

It focuses on wolves found on the Flathead reservation and is separate from the plan the state of Montana uses to manage other wolf populations.   

Summer surveys and observations suggest there are a minimum of 30 wolves on the reservation, but Tribal Wildlife Program Manager, Dale Becker, says it's difficult to pin-down a specific head count.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes are updating their gray wolf management plan. A public comment period ended last Friday.

Tribal Wildlife Program Manager, Dale Becker, estimates there are about 30 wolves on the Flathead reservation.  

Becker says few people commented on the draft management plan this year, but those who did were passionate about it.

Ranch Hand's "Bad" Wolf Dilemma

Oct 1, 2014

Bryce Andrews talks about his decision to move to a cattle ranch in Montana and about the memoir he wrote about his experiences there, Badluck Way. He also reads two passages from the book.

About the Book:

National Park Service

Dan Wenk, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, walks in the footsteps of 142 years of leadership in the world's oldest national park. His decisions affect not only the park, but its neighboring landowners and businesses. "You don't answer the questions in national parks by building facilities. Oftentimes, it's (best) to leave the area alone. Try to give people a great, broad experience of what's in a national park, but don't commercialize that experience."

Dan Boyce

  The final numbers for this wolf hunting season look to be very close to those from last year. The six-month season ended this past Saturday. Hunters and trappers killed a total of 230 wolves, compared with 225 last season.

The very similar numbers come despite more aggressive hunting rules from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.

It’s the second year trappers have been added to the state’s strategy to reign in wolf numbers--and trapping numbers actually dropped, from 97 down to 86.

David Gilkey

Growing up in Montana, Nathan Rott knew wolves were controversial.

Bryce Andrews

Jan 24, 2014

01/28/2014 - An earnest, Seattle-raised youth takes a job as a Montana ranch hand, tending cattle in wolf country. Bryce Andrews's new book describes with full honesty the hard work and hard choices on "the ragged edge of the West."  Homeground Radio,

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

A new report shows a declining population of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, but a lead author describes it as a result of the predators coming into balance with their environment.

“The number of wolves are here that can be supported by prey,” said Doug Smith, Yellowstone Senior Wildlife Biologist and leader of the Yellowstone Wolf Project.

Montana Historical Society

As we reported earlier this week, a new article on the history of the eradication of wolves in Montana points out the state once was home to hundreds of thousands of wolves.

The current population of 600-plus, is a tiny fraction of the number of wolves that used to roam Big Sky country, before wolves were exterminated in the 1920's.

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