Idaho wolf update
by Idaho Fish and Game Department monthly report
March 18, 2009
Idaho Wolf Management Progress Report
February 1 – February 28, 2009
Aerial telemetry flights and end-of-year counts are completed, and the annual report is being wrapped up. The minimum population estimates for 2008 are 846 wolves for Idaho, in 88 packs, 39 breeding pairs. This is about a 15 percent increase over the 2007 minimum population estimate of 732.
February was the peak for wolf dispersal during the breeding season. Often these wolves may be close to development and may cause some conflicts if not just increased sightings. As an example, a GPS collared wolf from Paradise Valley north of Yellowstone that was part of the Mill Creek pack moved to the Wyoming, Utah, Idaho border area in September and in January moved to southeast Idaho, then through Utah and recently was located near Vail, Colorado.
On February 27, two U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services employees darted and collared a wolf near Kilgore, Idaho.
From January 1 – February 28, agencies have documented five dead wolves in Idaho. Of those, four were depredation control actions by Wildlife Services, and one was an illegal kill.
From January 1 – February 28, Wildlife Services (tentatively) confirmed that wolves killed 2 calves, 1 sheep and 1 dog; and probably injured 2 calves. A pack of nine wolves attacked a pet dog at a residence near Ashton. The owner of the dog somehow was able to jump into the fight and retrieve his dog. A reminder that under the 10(j) rule amended in 2008, a person is allowed to kill a wolf attacking a dog, livestock, or stock on public or private land.
In summary, from February 1 – 28, Wildlife Services conducted five wolf depredation investigations, confirmed two and determined two were probable. Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed one pregnant ewe and one calf and determined that wolves probably killed two more calves. In response to these and previous depredations, Wildlife Services shot and killed four wolves.
By comparison in February 2008, Wildlife Services conducted five wolf depredation investigations and confirmed that wolves killed four calves and a pet dog and determined that wolves probably killed another calf. Wildlife Services shot and killed five wolves in response to depredations in February 2008.