Overview and history of the central Idaho wolf reintroductions.
              by Ralph Maughan 

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River. In the winter of 1996
all the wolves were released in the flat area in the bottom center of
the photo (at Boundary Creek near Dagger Falls).
Ralph Maughan

The 1995 Idaho reintroduction

The 1996 Idaho reintroduction

1997 Idaho pups and packs

1998 Idaho pups and packs

1999 Idaho wolves

Discussion of growth of Idaho wolf population


Idaho wolf reintroduction was less of a national issue-
The reintroduction of the wolf to central Idaho was overshadowed in the mind of the public by the greater prominence of the Yellowstone wolf restoration project. Yellowstone is the world first national park, and it gets about three million visitors each year. The bigger backcountry of central Idaho is mostly roadless, a large portion is designated as wilderness by Congress, it is less visited, and so it is not as famous.

The complication of possible wild wolves already living in Idaho-
There was less support from Idaho conservationists for an Idaho reintroduction than for Yellowstone because there was good evidence that wild wolves were already migrating into Idaho. From time-to-time such wolves had been photographed, one wolf had even been given a radio collar, and another showed up dead, possibly killed by a rancher. There was no conclusive evidence, however, that any of these wolves had ever formed a pack that had produced pups. Official, i.e., government estimates, were that it would take about five more years before enough wolves migrated to Idaho to make pack formation likely. Here is an article from the Idaho Falls Post Register summarizing the existence of pre-reintroduction wolves in Idaho.

Whether a "native" population of wolves existed prior to the reintroduction became critical with the federal judge's ruling on Dec. 12, 1997, ordering the removal of the "experimental population" reintroduced wolves in Idaho and in Yellowstone because he said the reintroduction was contrary to section 10j of the Endangered Species Act, although in reality all the wolves in Idaho in 1995-6, reintroduced or not, originated directly or indirectly from Canada. They came to Idaho either directly through release or indirectly to NW Montana and then to Idaho.

As an Idahoan who followed the subject closely, I found a disturbing pattern before the reintroduction -- reports of wolves usually ended shortly after the media announced where the wolf or wolves had been spotted. I felt it was possible, even likely, that someone had searched out the wolf and killed it. I also became convinced that in order to give the Idaho wolf population a "jump start," to promote good genetic diversity in an Idaho wolf population, and also to catch or deter wolf killers (the wolves would all be radio-collared), a reintroduction was a necessity.

Some environmentalists were concerned that since all wolves inside the designated wolf reintroduction areas would be regarded as members of an "experimental, non-essential population" [section 10j of the Endangered Species Act], legal protection of any existing Idaho ("native") wolves would therefore be weakened. Indeed, it was true that the tiny population of Idaho wolves did have (on paper) the full protection of the Endangered Species Act (not that anyone at the time had ever been apprehended or prosecuted for violating the ESA by killing a wolf). I admit that I found this argument convincing for a while -- that reintroduced, section 10j wolves, would have less protection than those that would arrive by natural in-migration. Subsequent developments quickly changed my mind because in the real world Idaho the reintroduced wolves turned out to have just as much, and just as little protection, as the "native" wolves did. Some conservationists, like some judges, assume that laws and rules will be enforced as they are written.

The many public hearings-
A seemingly endless round of public meetings and hearings was held in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming and elsewhere. I believe 45 in total were held. According to both Hank Fischer's and Thomas McNamee's books on the wolf reintroduction, the incredible number of hearings was the product of bureaucratic caution and an attempt by the Farm Bureau to try a muster a anti-wolf majority somewhere in America at an official public meeting. I attended the hearing in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where 45 people spoke in favor of the reintroduction and three were against. Note. Wolf supporters outnumbered opponents in every hearing in the west except the one in Cody, Wyoming, where the anti-wolf organizers finally got their long sought majority. Most of the testimony at these hearings, however, was devoted not to Idaho, but to the potential Yellowstone wolves, both pro and con. The large numbers of hearings belie the later claims the federal government just "dumped wolves" on unsuspecting Idaho citizens.

Many folks were surprised when, after the long round of public meetings and hearings was over, the Dept. of Interior did propose an Idaho, as well as a Yellowstone wolf reintroduction.

Trapping wolves for the 1995 Idaho "hard release"
Trapping for Idaho wolves came in the same operation in Alberta, Canada, in December 1994, that captured the Yellowstone-bound wolves. The news reports at the time of the captures indicated that in cases where all, or most of a pack was captured, the wolves were sent to Yellowstone. Lone wolves, wolves about at the age of normal dispersal (two years), and smaller wolves were sent to Idaho where they were to be immediately released i.e., "hard-released."  However, after I reviewed the actual field notes on the capture and disposition of the Alberta Packs -- the ages and pack status of the wolves brought to Idaho and Yellowstone, -- I could discern little difference in the pack and age status of the wolves released in Idaho in 1995 from those taken to Yellowstone.

The first wolves were released at Corn Creek on the main Salmon River-
Shipment of the wolves to both the Yellowstone acclimation pens and to the Idaho wilderness was briefly delayed when the Farm Bureau won a temporary injunction from the U.S. Court of Appeals. (The Farm Bureau has probably been the longest-standing and most aggressive of the major groups opposed to wolves.).

Nevertheless, on January 14, 1995 the first four wolves were released to the wild after an unplanned and perilous truck ride down the Salmon River road to its end at Corn Creek. At Corn Creek Bar on the Salmon River at the edge of the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, all but one wolf immediately leaped out of its portable kennel.
Photo of vicinity of the release.

The plans had been to helicopter the wolves deep into the Frank Church Wilderness, but bad weather foiled these plans. The truck transport operation to a somewhat less remote site (Corn Creek) was carried out under controversy and tight security, because this was a time in Idaho when anti-government militias and states' rights advocates, some of whose arguments sometimes bordered on secession, were threatening violence. This was in part due to 1994 election victories of their supporters, such as Helen Chenoweth. "Congressman" Chenoweth is a strong critic of wolf reintroduction and of environmentalists.

The release of the next 11 wolves was on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River-
The bad weather finally broke and a week later the final eleven wolves were flown into Indian Creek, and others to Thomas Creek, both in the deep canyon of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and far into the wilderness.

-The fate of the 1995 Idaho wolves-


The 1995 wolves in tabular form (Updated January 2003)
Some of the Idaho wolves were named by school children, a practice generally frowned upon by biologists who dislike the personalization of animals.

The first four wolves into Idaho were B2M, Chat-Chaaht ("older brother" in Nez Perce). B2 was a small gray male about five years old in 1995. B2 has been lost and then "found again" several times. Not tracked since fall of 1996, Chat-Chaaht recently showed up in the winter of 1997-8 in the White Cloud and Boulder Mountains above the resort of Sun Valley, Idaho. Then he was lost until the spring of 2000. He had met a dispersing wolf from the nearby Sawtooth Pack, and they had a least one pup to become the Wildhorse Pack. The Wildhorse Pack grew only to disperse in 2002 after the alpha female was killed by an elk. B2 was alone, with cataracts and on his one. Nevertheless, he found a new mate and they had 4 pups in 2003 to become the Castle Peak Pack.  B2 died, or may have been killed by an elk in the late winter of 2004. He was perhaps the oldest wild wolf on record.

B3F, Akiata. B3 was a small gray and black female who was lost track of in March 1995 in the Bitterroot Mountains. Some thought she was dead. Others thought she was the only wolf to return to Canada. Neither were correct. Her radio collar malfunctioned, but she was located over two years later in Eastern Idaho on Targhee National Forest near Kilgore. Her identity was established by the unique colors on her collar. She never located after that.

Kelly was B4F, a small five year old gray female. She soon migrated to Montana and lived in the mountains just east of Missoula, near Rock Creek, until she was killed by cougar in the winter of 1996.

B5M was Moonstar Shadow. He was black and gray male. He soon paired wolf B10F or Libre, a black female. A year after their release, Libre whelped two pups in April 1996. Her pack, one of the first Idaho packs, the Selway Pack, claimed the area just north of the main Salmon River where it flows across central Idaho. Between 1996 and the original pair's eventually demise (in the early 2000s), they had many more litters of pups.

The largest of the 1995 Idaho wolves released in 1995 was B14M, a 101 pounder at the time of release (Jan. 20, 1995) at Indian Creek. Number 14 wandered by himself for almost three years. He eventually ended up the as the alpha male of the "native" Boulder Pack in west central Montana, where he remained until his disappearance sometime between 1999 and 2000.

With just a few exceptions (one very controversial) during the first two years, the Idaho wolves kept to the Frank Church Wilderness, the adjacent Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness and nearby undeveloped or semi-roadless areas. The wolves sometimes migrated into Montana and then back.

A non-controversial exception was Kelly, mentioned above. She migrated to Rock Creek, the famous fishing stream east of Missoula, Montana. She lived there until she was killed by a mountain lion in early 1996. Her body was found near Drummond, Montana, a small town just east of Rock Creek.

Wolf no. 11F, or Blackfire as she was named by school children in Meridian, Idaho, was another distinctive 1995 wolf.

She was often lost to trackers for months at a time. Eventually she showed up in the Big Hole Valley of Montana, just over the border (and over the Continental Divide) from Idaho. Then Blackfire began to migrate back and forth between the Continental Divide and the Salmon River Mountains to the west by cutting across the outskirts of the town of Salmon, Idaho. A number of people saw her. In one case she was seen swimming the Salmon River. Article on B11's travels. The dire predictions made in this article never materialized, but she became even better known when, in the winter of 1995-6 she paired with B7M. The pair bonded in Blue Joint Meadows on the Bitterroot Divide. Then they migrated to Montana's Big Hole Mountains and Valley where they remained but eventually killed at least one cow.

After the death of a couple cows, efforts were made to capture and remove them. No. 11 was captured and released far to the north, but in about a week, she was back. Finally, both were captured and sent to the Nez Perce pen inside Yellowstone Park for a couple months and then they were brought back to Idaho and put in a holding pen deep in the Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness at Running Creek. Finally in early August 1997 they were released on the North Fork of the Clearwater River in northern Idaho. All this shuttling about was an effort to confuse the wolves so that they wouldn't find their way back to the Big Hole Valley as they had before. The plan  worked. These wolves, now called the Running Creek pair, settled in the deep wild country of the NE corner of the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness. In the spring of 1998, after two years together, they had their first litter of pups. They officially became the Big Hole Pack. They also had litters in 1999, 2000, and 2003. Blackfire had 3 pups in 2002. She might still be alive in 2004, as might too her mate. Their radio collars had stopped working.

Unfortunate wolf 13F-
The most controversial exception in the year 1995 was ill-fated wolf no. 13. Shortly after her release, B13F took a different course from the other Idaho wolves. She was released on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, deep in the "Frank Church." Most of the other wolves roamed up and down the Middle Fork during the first two weeks, but no. 13 suddenly headed northeastward, out of the wilderness into and down Iron Creek, in the mouth of which lay the ranch of septuagenarian Gene Hussey.

On Jan. 29, 1995 someone shot no. 13 while she was eating a cow calf on Hussey's ranch. Photos were quickly released showing the dead wolf lying suspiciously parallel to the partially eaten calf. Local Lemhi County Idaho officials soon pronounced that the wolf had killed the calf, and the photo quickly showed up in many rural Idaho stores and gas stations.

74-year-old Hussey denied that he shot the young wolf. Ironically, it would have been a legal killing if no. 13 had really killed the calf and the person behind the rifle had reported the incident. However, a necropsy of the dead calf at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's lab in Ashland, OR, revealed that the calf had been stillborn (article on autopsy) No. 13, as luck would have it, apparently stumbled onto this seemingly easy meal and was shot, probably from  nearby highway U.S. 93.

This is not the end of the story. On March 8, agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service showed up at Hussey's place with a search warrant to look for bullets and casings in an effort to gain evidence about the killer. Hussey argued with the agents, told them to get off his property and he called the Lemhi County sheriff, Brett Barsalou. The agents eventually left without conducting a search, but the presence of agents became a cause celeb' for Idaho first district Rep. Helen Chenoweth and Idaho's senior senator Larry Craig.

A hearing was held in Washington where the agents were attacked as "jack-booted thugs." Senator Craig proposed a bill to disarm all federal land management personnel, including U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Bureau of Land Management people in Idaho. The attempted search of Hussey's Ranch was, for a while, widely compared to Waco and Ruby Ridge.

Later, however, the Idaho Falls newspaper, the Post Register ran a by-line article by Dan Egan revealed that the federal Fish and Wildlife Service agents had audio-taped the confrontation. The tapes revealed quite a different story from that portrayed by the Idaho politicians. On the tapes, Hussey repeatedly cursed the agents, threw rocks at them, and told them they had no jurisdiction, effectively forcing them from his property.

After the Hussey incident died down, the wolf issue in Idaho gradually faded into the background, although Hussey did file an unsuccessful lawsuit against the federal government asking to be paid money because he claimed his ranch property had been unlawfully "taken," without compensation, by the federal government through the reintroduction of the wolf to central Idaho and the accompanying regulations.

There were few more wolf-related events in 1995. The wolves were seldom seen, but they explored much more territory than did the wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone. I speculate that this was due to the method of release -- "hard release" of individual wolves, plus more room to roam. A few of the 14 remaining Idaho wolves began to form pairs late in 1995, such as B6F and B8M, B5M, and B10F, and B15F and a then-unknown (non-reintroduced) male. Note: it was finally determined in 1998 that this male was a disperser from Montana's Camas Pack, and was the very same wolf that had been radio-collared in Idaho way back in the early 1990s. This wolf finally died at an almost record old age in the winter of 2001.

-The 1996 Idaho wolf release and subsequent events-


The 1996 wolves in tabular form (updated Nov. 14, 2001)
While 15 wolves had been hard-released into Idaho in early 1995, the 1996 operation brought 20 more -- eight wolves first, and then twelve more a few days later.

Unlike 1995, the 1996 reintroduction was largely staffed by volunteers and private money. Major help was provided by the Wolf Education and Research Center. Their staff and volunteers rounded up snowmobiles in Stanley, Idaho, and took the wolves through blizzard and dangerous snow conditions to Dagger Falls, a famous place near the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. All twenty of the wolves were released at this site -- a release quite different from the three Idaho release sites of 1995 and different from any of the Yellowstone release methods.

The new Idaho wolves gradually spread out from the release site, mostly to the north, west, and northwest. They kept to the vast fortress of the central Idaho mountains, although they tended to favor the more gentle places in this wilderness and semi-wilderness country. Until about 2000, their territories were in areas generally free of improved roads, and much of it is designated wilderness or country that is otherwise roadless.

By the spring of 1996, it was evident that about 8 pairs of wolves had formed. These pairs included both wolves introduced in 1995 and also 1996. As of August 1996, these were the ten (10) pairs: B5M and B10F, B6F and B8M, B7M and BllF, B9M and B16F, B15F and a non-reintroduced male; B23F and B27M, B25F and B32M, B28M and B30F, B29M and B37F, B34? and B35?   [Note: It is interesting to compare these pairs to the pairs that actually did produce pups in 1996 and/or 1997. I have made those pairs that did had pups in orange. B28M and B30F did not have pups, but they joined with another adult wolf, B19M to form a trio that survived several years -- the Bear Valley Pack]

The discovery of  wolf pups in central Idaho was more difficult than in Yellowstone due to differences in terrain and the amount of money available for tracking flights. Nevertheless, by mid-August 1996 litters of pups had been found with three of the pairs, or "packs" as they now were called.

In 1996 there were the first Idaho Packs- (the names were given based on nearby locations):
THE SELWAY PACK. This consisted of wolves B5M and B10F (Moonstar Shadow and Libre) and two pups. The pack was first located in the summer of 1996 on the upper reaches of the Selway River in the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness. This country was often the location of wolf sightings prior to the reintroductions. For example, in 1992 (when my spouse was fire lookout on Coolwater Mountain), she learned that the Hells Half Acre Mountain lookout in the upper Selway had observed a wolf in the area for several days.

B5 was (in 1996) a 5-year old black and gray wolf. Libre (B10F) is a black wolf. The pair did not have pups in 1997 or 1998, but the four wolves remained together. They did have their second litter in 1999, a third in 2000, and a fourth in 2001. The pack had pups again in 2002, although it is not clear whether B10F was still with the pack, or alive.

THE LANDMARK PACK. Wolves B6F and B8M had been together for about two years in the general vicinity of the SW portion of the Frank Church Wilderness -- Bear Valley Creek, Elk Creek, Sulfur Creek, Pistol Creek, etc.. They were thought to have whelped two pups in 1996. It turned out to actually be four pups. Then the pack had four more pups in 1997, however, it appeared that by late 1997, three of the 1996 pups dispersed.

The place name "Landmark" comes from a crossroads a few miles west of the wilderness boundary. B6 was named Bee-Yah and B8 was named Keea by Idaho school children. B6 is dark gray and black. B8 was a six-year-old gray male in 1996.

B8 and B6 found dead along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in the springtime of 1998. Their deaths in that remote location were never explained, but the pack went on to become the largest in Idaho by 2003. However, all radio collars were lost by 2003 and the pack could no longer be tracked.

THE CHAMBERLAIN BASIN PACK. Wolves B9M and B16F and their offspring inhabited one of the most remote places in the contiguous United States -- the Chamberlain Basin in the Frank Church Wilderness.

School children named B9, the gray alpha male, Hinton due to his capture near Hinton, Alberta. B16F, the female, received no name. She is gray, and in 1996, a 5-year old wolf. While the numbers are not certain, it appeared that the Chamberlain Pack consisted of 6 wolves at the end of the winter of 1996-7. B16F denned again in 1997 and had a litter of at least four pups. At of the beginning of the winter of 1997-8, the Chamberlain Pack may have been the largest in Idaho -- ten wolves. They had additional litters in 1999, 2000, and 2001.

Biologists had believed that as many as 3 or even 4 additional litters existed, but by the end of 1996 only these 3 litters had been identified. It appears then that the number of pups born in central Idaho in 1996 was somewhere near ten, giving Idaho a total population of about 41 wolves at the end of 1996.

Summary for 1996-
While the central Idaho wolves were far less visible than the Yellowstone wolves in 1996, they were beginning to be seen (and more often) heard. For the first time in 80 years, wolf howls were echoing in Idaho's famous Sawtooth Mountains, and even more so in the country just to their north. People hiking, riding horses, or floating the central Idaho wilderness waterways heard and saw wolves. The few "depredations" on livestock were compensated by Defenders of Wildife.
Here is the complete record of Defenders' compensations.  In Idaho for 1996 Defenders paid a total of $3977 -- 1117 of the total went to two ranchers near Cascade, Idaho for three dead calves and $2860 to a rancher in Weiser, Idaho for 28 lambs and two ewes.

-1997 pups and packs-


The winter of 1997-7 went very well for the Idaho wolves, and by spring many had denned, but it took a long while to determine which and how many pups had been whelped. Finally in August 1997 the packs and pups for the year were pretty well known. They were as follows:

Chamberlain Basin Pack. Probably ten wolves, including four yearlings, and four or more pups in 1997. The alphas were still B9M and  B16F. Throughout 1997 they continuously inhabited the deepest part of the Frank Church Wilderness -- the Chamberlain Basin. One or more may have dispersed in the winter of 1997-8. Any dispersals would have been uncollared, unnumbered wolves. Outfitters bring clients into the deep backcountry of the Chamberlain Basin by aircraft.  It is hunting heavily, and the first rumblings of wolves taking "our game" began to be heard as the outfitters saw the wolves kill some elk and failed to find elk in the usual places, making for a more difficult hunt.

Jureano Mountain Pack. Eight wolves, including six pups. This was a new pack in 1997.  The alphas were B25F and B32M. No. 25 was nicknamed Raven because of her intense black color. The pack's territory was Salmon River Mountain just to the west of the town of Salmon, and northward to the Salmon River. Their territory ranged from the slopes of Salmon River Mountain immediately west of town, to Panther Creek about 40 miles west of town. In early December 1997 the pack killed three hunting hounds that had entered their territory -- hardly surprising. This took place three miles from Salmon, and the hysteria in the town was a sorry sight.  I say this because a lot of the more vocal folks in Salmon like to think of their town as the last of the Old West. All of this worry about whether the wolves will enter town and eat people hardly fits the Old West image. Story in the Idaho Falls, Post Register.

Kelly Creek Pack. Seven wolves. Five pups in 1997. This was a new pack and it was the first pack created by the union of an introduced wolf and a native wolf. 

The alphas were B15F, and an old native male wolf, finally identified in 1998 as wolf 9013M  This is an interstate pack. Its territory was the Bitterroot Divide, north of Highway 12 and Lolo Pass. The pack spent about half of its time just inside Idaho; the other half just inside Montana.

Moyer Basin Pack. This was a new pack in 1997 consisting of seven wolves, including 5 pups. The alphas were B29M and B37F. The pack's range was the rugged Salmon River Mountains to the southwest of Salmon and the northwest of Challis. Their territory was just to the south of the Jureano Mountain Pack.

Selway Pack.  Four wolves, including two yearlings from 1996. There was no den in 1997. Alphas were still B5M and B10F. The Selway Pack ranged over a very large territory that included most of the Frank Church Wilderness north of the Salmon River, the southern portion of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, and the Blue Joint Creek/West Fork of the Bitterroot River area just over the state line in Montana. It is not known why they had but no litter in 1997 (and again in 1998), but they did have pups in 1999 and 2000.

Stanley pack.  Eight wolves, this included six pups. This too was a new pack. Alphas were B23F and B27M. In 1997 the Stanley Pack  inhabited the headwaters of Marsh Creek and Valley Creek north of town of Stanley. In the winter of 1997-8 they began to roam the jagged heights of the Sawtooth Range itself and the Salmon River Mountains to east of Stanley Basin. This pack's territory included the area where the captive Sawtooth Pack was formerly penned, made famous in Jim Dutcher's film "Wolves at our Door."  Thus, wild wolves replaced the captive pack that had became so well known.

Landmark Pack. Ten wolves, including four yearlings and four pups. The alphas were B6F and B8M. The Landmark Pack spent almost all of 1996 and 1997 in or near the southwestern corner of the Frank Church Wilderness -- Elk Creek, Sulphur Creek,  and their tributaries, although their 1997 densite was to the north in Pistol Creek. At the beginning of autumn 1997 they migrated northward again into the deep wilderness Pistol Creek drainage, made a den there in early 1998, but the alpha pair was killed in an unknown manner in April 1998. The location and status of the remaining members of the pack (all were uncollared) was unknown until 1999 when they were rediscovered as a large and healthy pack. 
Elk Creek. Copyright Ralph Maughan

 

Bear Valley Pack.  This consisted of three unrelated adult wolves B28M, B30F and wolf B19M. This was been the only pack that did not originate from pairs of wolves having pups. These three wolves ranged from Bear Valley Creek and Elk Creek on north to the Middle Fork of the Payette on the west, to the South Fork of the Payette on the south. They were most frequently found in the Deadwood River drainage. In the spring of 1998, no.19M left the trio and stuck out on his own. He may have had an unseen, uncollared mate. He was found dead in January 1999 in the upper reaches of Loon Creek, probably killed by the Twin Peaks Pack. Meanwhile wolf B30F died of unknown, but probably natural causes. So the Bear Valley Pack came to an end with only B28M left, although he finally did find an abandoned pup and she became has future mate, forming the Orphan Pack in 2000.

Wolf B20F. No 20 became the most northerly of the wolves reintroduced to Idaho. She spent 1997 along the Idaho/Montana border in the headwaters of the St. Joe River about 35 miles west of Superior, Montana. Late in 1997 she meet no. 31M, and they paired.

Depredations in 1997-

In all of 1997, only one Idaho wolf (lone wolf no. 31M) killed livestock.  Number 31M killed about 30 sheep in two attacks near Warren Summit in early summer 1997.  He did not return to the area. Eventually he migrated to Montana and then to northern Idaho, where he met and paired with no. 20F. The Jureano Pack killed, as one would expect, three hunting hounds that entered their territory while the hounds were on an illegal (out-of-season) bobcat chase on Salmon River Mountain near Salmon, Idaho.

Considering both livestock and wolf mortality, by the end of 1997, Idaho was superior to the Yellowstone country as a place for wolf restoration, not that Yellowstone was a flop -- quite the contrary.

-1998 pups and packs-

The spring of 1998 was a bonanza for new packs and pups. The following preexisting pairs and/or new pairs of wolves had pups for the first time:

Snow Peak Pack- The winter union of B20F and B31M resulted in five pups. This was the most northerly pack in Idaho. The pack roamed the Idaho/Montana border near the headwaters of the St. Joe River and into the headwaters of the North Fork of the Clearwater River.

Big Hole Pack- After three years together B7M and B11F finally had a litter of pups -- five of them. Their territory is the north edge of the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness to south of Lolo Pass (just to the south of the Kelly Creek Pack).

Thunder Mountain Pack- After almost two years together B22F and an uncollared wolf had a litter of 5 or 6 pups. Their range is the western fringes of the Frank Church Wilderness. B22's mate may be a dispersed wolf, or more likely another wolf that pre-existed the reintroduction.

Twin Peaks Pack- After about two years together on the southeast fringe of the Frank Church Wilderness, wolf B18M and B35F had a litter of three pups. They ranged mostly in the Warm Springs Creek/Loon Creek area of Wilderness area.

White Clouds Pack- B36F was in enigma in that she haunted the highest reaches of the famed While Clouds Peaks to the east of the Sawtooth Valley. Often found above 10,000 feet elevation, she was increasingly spotted with an uncollared wolf. They denned in a location kept fairly well secret, perhaps because of livestock controversy in area, and produced the largest litter so far in Idaho -- nine pups.  After early summer, they migrated over the top of Boulder Mountains to the southwest and into the southern end of Sawtooth Valley and the headwaters of the Big Wood River. They did get in trouble for killing six ewes (female sheep) in the Pole Creek area of the Sawtooth Valley, but they did not repeat the depredation in 1998.  Her mate is very likely another wolf that pre-existed the reintroduction. Efforts to trap him were not sucessful.

With the exception of the Selway Pack, the existing packs also had litters in 1998.  Here is a summary of the pre-existing packs:

Kelly Creek Pack- The Kelly Creek appeared not to localize as a pack in the manner that a pack that is about to den often does, but, nevertheless, it B15F had six more pups to add to the five from the previous year.  Thus, if all the wolves are alive and none dispersed the Kelly Creek Pack consisted of thirteen wolves. 1998 was the year the alpha male of this pack was finally identified, he is a long-ago disperser from Montana's Camas Pack.  Story on this "native" wolf.

Chamberlain Basin Pack- This was one of Idaho's largest packs, but due to possible dispersals of 2-year olds, it was hard to say it was the largest. The alpha pair B9M and B16F had a litter of six in 1996, four or more in 1997, and 4 more in 1998. They continued to inhabit the remote Chamberlain Basin portion of the Frank Church Wilderness. One yearling in the pack was illegally shot during the hunting season in the fall of 1998. The killer, Dan Kloskowski of Eden Prariie, Minnesota, turned helpself in and eventually pleaded guilty to killing the wolf. His sentence was severe,

Jureano Mountain Pack- This pack of eight wolves, which had by 1998 become known as the "Town Pack" due to its occasional proximity to the town of Salmon, Idaho, produced four to six more wolves, although two of the pups died of natural causes in the summer of 1998. Late in the summer the pack did kill a few calves near the ghost town of Leesburg and two of yearlings were trapped and sent northward to the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness. In fall 1998 two of the yearlings dispersed. One ended up dead, hit on busy U.S. 93, 110 miles to the north between Missoula and Lolo, Montana. It would appear then that as 1998 ends, the size of the pack is six to eight wolves.   His sister B45F  migrated across Idaho, swan the Snake River, probably in Hells Canyon -- the Idaho/Oregon border -- and ended up in the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon, where she fed on elk and kept out of sight in the heavy timber, unware of the huge controversy her movement had caused.  She became known as the '"Blue Mountain Wolf."  After many attempts, and many who wanted her to stay, she was recaptured and returned to near the Idaho/Montana border. She did not remain there, however.   She soon migrated back towards Oregon, but settled down in the Secesh River in western Idaho over the mountain from McCall.  

The most important outcome of her journey to Oregon was that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would no longer retrieve wolves that migrated out of the 3 state recovery area. No doubt wolves will return to Oregon, and inhabit Utah and Colorado as well.

Moyer Basin Pack- This pack of seven saw a litter of four pups in 1998. The pack did kill a few cows in Panther Creek in mid-summer. One yearling was trapped feeding on a cow. She was collared and sent to the Selway-Bitterrot Wilderness. The pack moved south and there were no more confirmed depredations in 1998, although some ranchers thought otherwise. Their range as to the south of the Jureano Mountain Pack. It appears that the pack's territory may have been shrinking due to pressure from the Jureano Mountain Pack on the north, and the Twin Peaks Pack on their south.

Stanley Pack- The pack was believed to have seven members by the spring of 1998. The alpha female whelped 6 to 8 more pups in 1998, making the Stanley Pack, residents of some of Idaho's most famous scenic mountain area, perhaps the largest wolf pack in the state. There were in mid-summer 13 to 16 wolves in the pack. By mid-summer this pack was seen increasingly often, sometimes causing traffic jams such as are common in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley. During the winter of 1998-9, the pack split into small groups most of the time. This was probably due to the fact that elk are feed by private individuals at small informal feeding sites in Stanley Basin and the Sawtooth Valley.  The winters there are too harsh to normally maintain a wintertime elk herd. Were it not for the supplemental feeding, the elk would migrate down the Salmon River toward Clayton.  Some do anyway, and some of the pack was found throughout the winter in the Salmon River Canyon downstream from Stanley.

Landmark Pack- This pack was not located after its alpha pair was killed by unknown causes in April 1998. If the pack stayed together after their deaths,  it had 4 or 5 members. Attempts to locate the remnants of the pack during the summer and early fall of 1998 were successful. None of the pack members except the alpha pair were radio collared.

At the end of 1998 the estimated wolf population in Idaho was 121.

-1999-

1998 was the first year Idaho met the requirements for delisting the wolf. Delisting will take three years of at least 10 wolf packs with pups in a row (Northwest Montana and the Yellowstone area must show similar progress, and the wolf is not supposed to be delisted until all three have met the 10 pack criterion).

A large number of new pups were born in 1999, and 1999 became year number two of ten packs in the central Idaho wolf recovery area.

Here is a summary of the 1999 news (packs from north to south)-

Snow Peak Pack- There was much vacillation over whether this pack had its second litter.  The official conclusion was that the pack had no pups, and so did not count as a breeding pack for the year 1999.  The radio collar of the alpha male B31M has long been weak. It seems to have failed, and he has not been visually sighted. Some believe that wolf R132M from the ill-fated Washakie Pack SE of Yellowstone may be the new alpha male. R132M migrated to Idaho and has joined the Snow Peak Pack. This pack's territory is still the headwaters of the North Fork of Clearwater River and the headwaters of the St. Joe River.

Kelly Creek Pack- This pack whelped 7 more pups in 1999.  Their range in 1999 was almost entirely in Idaho, with few excursions to Montana. The core of their range was famous trout stream Kelly Creek and its tributaries. Pack member B48, born in 1997, has not been located recently and is thought to have dispersed. The alpha pair is still B15F and old "native" wolf 9013-M, who must have been about 12 years old in 1999.

Big Hole Pack- B7M and BllF had their second litter in 1999.  It is thought to be 3 pups.  They still inhabit the Idaho/Montana border just south of Lolo Pass and U.S. Highway 12. If all pups survived 1998, it was a pack of ten. 

It appears that the pack still exists in 2004, with some indication that B7 and B11 might still be alive.

Selway Pack- The Selway Pack, which had two pups in 1996, but none in '97 or '98, had its second litter, believed to be at least two, in 1999.   The pack had shortened its former territory which initially stretched almost all the way across central Idaho and into Montana.  There territory now seems to be in west central Idaho near, and southeast of Elk City. B5M and B10F were still the alpha pairs. These two wolves were from Alberta and released into Idaho in 1995.

The ultimate fate of B5 and B10 was not known. He lived well past 2001, but his radio collar malfunctioned. As of 2004 it was not clear whether he was still alive.

The Chamberlain Basin Pack- It has continued to range throughout the vast and remote Chamberlain Basin inside the Frank Church/River No Return Wilderness..  It had its fourth litter in 1999, believed to be 5 pups. B9M and B16M remained the alpha pair. Undoubtedly some of its members from past years have dispersed (no radio collars).  The size of the pack was not known, but was is a large pack. They winter in Big Creek, a deep canyon to the south of Chamberlain Basin.

The pack has its last known pups in 2001, after which radio contact was lost, but it is assumed the pack continued on. It was believed to still exist in 2004 although there was no radio contact. Whether this particular pack still exists or not, there are wolves still in Chamberlain Basin.

Jureano Mountain Pack- Idaho's most controversial pack began the year with about 4 adult or sub-adult members and nine new pups. By the end of September it was just two pups and one adult. The many mortalities suffered were due to control killings; one illegal shooting; and the death of pups, perhaps from disease, starvation, predation, or perhaps illegal killing.  At the end of 1999 there were just two pups left.  I believe some of the recent poisoning mortality under investigation was from this pack.

Adult wolf B44F, sister of the famous Blue Mountain Wolf (B45F), who originally came from this pack, was killed in mid-August by Wildlife Services for livestock depredations. At about the same time B25F "Raven," the alpha female, was illegally shot by Van Eron Coiner while she was chasing elk on his backcountry ranch.   The alpha male, B32M,  was shot by Wildlife Services in mid-September for killing one of Coiner's calves (a 500 pound calf). Coiner paid a $1500 fine for shooting Raven. Meanwhile, three of the pups were found dead (a necropsy is underway) and four more have disappeared. 

Both of the remaining pups B80F and B81M are radio-collared.  B53M, the remaining adult in the pack has not been located.  The pups inhabit Salmon River Mountain, a massive and complicated mountain (actually just part of the larger Salmon River Mountains) just west and 3000 feet above the town of Salmon.  The core of their range seems to be Pine Creek and Moose Creek.

This is was longer a pack with a breeding pair, and so its 1999 reproduction does not count toward wolf recovery in Idaho.  

After 1999, the pack went though many changes, and in fact was essentially wiped out by the government because of livestock conflicts, however, in 2000, B46F, once one of the pack's pups that had dispersed, returned to her natal den with a mate and refounded the pack, which still exists in 2004.

Moyer Basin Pack- Although this pack has suffered the mortality of its alpha male, several dispersions, one other death, and one removal to north central Idaho for cattle depredation (in 1998), an estimated nine new pups were born and the pack has a new alpha male, B49M, a disperser from the Stanley Basin Pack. The old alpha male, B29M, was found dead in the spring of 1999, It was presumed due to injury from an elk. In early 2000, it was determined that he had been poisoned by banned poison 1080, as was also deceased pack member B51F about two months later.  B37F remains the alpha female. The pack's territory is the eastern margin of the FC/RNR Wilderness between Panther Creek on the north and Camas Creek on the south.  The poison was put out in lower Camas Creek.

deadcow.jpg (23303 bytes)`
Why wolves get into trouble -- cows that die on their own
and whose carcasses have not been cleaned up by the
ranchers. The carcass is in the territory of the Moyer Basin
Pack. Photo courtesy of the Western Watersheds Project
.

Landmark Pack- The status of this pack was not known throughout 1998 and early 1999 due to the loss of its alpha pair, the only members of the pack with radio collars.  However, in the spring of 1999 long time, lone wolf B33M was tracked near the pack's old den site in Pistol Creek inside the FC/RNR Wilderness.  In August 1999 the continued existence of the pack was confirmed when it showed up near Landmark, just west of the Wilderness area.  B33M was believed to be the alpha male, and pack from 2 to 6 new pups.  It's territory seemed to be about the same as the old pack -- Elk and Sulphur Creek in the southeastern corner of the FC/RNR Wilderness and Pistol Creek in the winter.  Because of difficulty of tracking this pack, and only one good observation, in 1999 the pack did not count toward Idaho pack numbers. However, in late summer 2000, the pack was rediscovered. It was doing well and continued to do so until 2002, when it had a double litter. However, after 2002 all of its radio collars were dead.

There are wolves in the territory of the pack in 2006, whether they are Landmark Pack wolves is not known. It is suspected that the pack may have split into what they are still calling the Landmark Pack and the Bear Valley Pack, but it may be one extended packl

Thunder Mountain Pack- The Thunder Mountain pack, which first appeared in 1998, led by B22F and a suspected "native" wolf, inhabit the western fringe of the Frank Church RNR Wilderness. It is estimated that they have seven pups-of-the-year. Their first litter, in 1998, was 5 or 6 pups. They wintered in the deep canyon of the South Fork of the Salmon River, just to the west the Frank Church and prospered.

By 2002, B22F had died and contact with the pack was lost to observation. It is possible the pack's territory was taken over by the newer Wolf Fang Pack.

Twin Peaks Pack- In 1998 wolf B18M and B35F had a litter of three pups, their first.  Their 1999 litter was  thought to be 4 pups. The pack's territory was the Loon Creek and Warm Springs Creek drainages in the southeast corner of the FC/RNR Wilderness. The also inhabited the upper reaches of the Yankee Fork of the Salmon and some adjacent drainages just to SE of the Wilderness Area. Their territory was about 10 to 25 miles due west by northwest of the central Idaho town of Challis. However, in January 2000 they suddenly moved southward to the main fork of the Salmon where they remained after killing a calf and chasing horses on a ranch.  Three members of the pack were shot in control after the livestock depredations, but the pack of about eight wolves did not move back to their usually territory. Further control of the pack resulted in its probable dispersion. For example one pack member B 83 was killed in the Interstate near Baker, Oregon in 2000.

Stanley Pack- This large pack inhabited what are regarded by many as to most scenic mountains and valley in Idaho -- the Sawtooth Range (most of which is the Sawtooth Wilderness), the western slope of the White Cloud Mountains and the Sawtooth Valley (including its north end, Stanley Basin). B23F and B27M are the long time alpha pair. The pack had 7 seven pups in 1999.  It had 7 pups in 1998, and its first litter, in 1997, was six.  Several wolves have now dispersed from the pack.  One became the alpha male of the Moyer Basin Pack, One adult wolf, B55M, was dispatched by Wildlife Services in July 1999 for killing cattle and sheep near Stanley.  One pack member, B68M, joined the Twin Peaks Pack. One pack member was shot in 1999 for livestock depredations.

In 1999, the pack clearly moved its territory southward, away from Stanley Basin, to the south and southeastern end of the Sawtooth Valley and the western slope of the White Cloud Mountains, where they remained in 2000. That year the pack continued to have conflicts with sheep which were dumped on them by sheep interests with a home base far away from the Sawtooth Valley. Continuing government control, caused the pack to disperse, although it did so with quite a few of its members still alive.

White Clouds Pack- This was Idaho's southernmost pack, mostly inhabiting the East Fork of the Salmon River, the eastern slope of the White Cloud Mountains with occasional forays further south into the Boulder Mountains, just a ways northeast of the Ketchum/Sun Valley area.

B36F, the alpha female, is believed to have produced 7 pups in 1999.  Her first litter was in 1998 with nine pups, the largest in Idaho to date! Her mate was uncollared, seemed to be been untrappable, and is believed to have been a "native" wolf.  In the wintertime the pack inhabited country that is some of the most abused by livestock in Idaho, and it eventually began to kill a few of them.

In 1999, the pack moved a little bit further south than previously and in the late winter of 2000 was to the southeast of their normal range. It denned near Sheep Mountain. Former pack member B63M hae dispersed into the Copper Basin area of the Pioneer Mountains, making him then the most southeasterly of the known Idaho wolves. 

In 2000, the pack ran into great problems with livestock (in view of the ranchers and the government) The alpha male and female were captured, and relocated to northern Idaho in separate incidents. Then a "kill order" was put out on the pack. Amazingly the alpha male was shot during the extermination of the pack, having unknowingly returned from northern Idaho -- hundreds of miles. The story of B36F was immortalized the in New York Times article, "On the Run with Wolf B36."

-End of detailed pack updates-

Growth of the Wolf Population in the Central Idaho Wolf Recovery Area-

My best estimates for the growth of the Idaho wolf population follow.

1995- 15 wolves (including one "native" wolf not identified as such until 1997).

1996- 41 (including one "native" wolf).

1997- 74 (including one "native" wolf and two more likely "native" wolves)

1998- 121-123

1999- 176-180 (late spring 1999)

1999- 141 (official minimum est. end of 1999)

2000- 192 (official minimum est. end of 2000)

2001- 261 (official minimum est. end of 2001)

2002- 284 (official minimum est. end of 2002)

2003- 368 (official minimum est. end of 2003)

2004- 454 (official minimum est. end of 2004)
 

At the end of 1999 there were (officially) ten breeding packs of wolves, making 1998 and 1999 years that Idaho met goal of "10 breeding pairs." In the year 2000 16 breeding pairs were at first identified, but there were only 9 breeding pairs at the end of the year due to legal control killing, translocation of alpha wolves, and illegal killing, plus natural loss of pups. Note: A breeding pair is defined as "an adult male and an adult female wolf, accompanied by at least two pups that survived at least until Dec 31." Recovery goals called for 10 breeding pairs per recovery zone, for a minimum total of 30 breeding pairs distributed through the 3 areas, for 3 years in succession. However, this goal was later weakened to just 30 breeding pairs total, wherever.

Despite a slight setback in the number of breeding pairs in 1999, by the end of 2003 there were 30 breeding pairs in the Central Idaho recovery area alone, and 44 in 2004.

Estimated maximum size of each pack or group at the end of 1999 (actual est. was Feb. 2000)-
Big Hole, 7 adults, 3 pups
Chamberlain Basin, 14 adults, 5 pups
Jureano Mountain, 2 pups
Kelly Creek, 12 adults, 4 pups
Landmark, 2 adults, 2-6 pups
Moyer Basin, 5 adults, 7 pups
Selway Pack, 4 adults, 1 pup
Snow Peak, 8 adults, no pups
Stanley Basin, 9 adults, 7 pups
Thunder Mountain 8 adults, 7 pups
Twin Peaks, 3 adults, 3 pups (includes control killings of early Feb. 2000)
White Clouds, 9 adults, 7 pups (pack control eliminated in March 200)
Lone or dispersing (probably an underestimate), 7 adults

Estimated size of each pack or group at the end of 2001-
Big Hole, number unknown, 6 pups were born. (BP = considered to be a breeding pair)
Chamberlain Basin, number unknown, 4 pups. BP
Jureano Mountain, 7 adults, 3 pups. BP
Kelly Creek, pack status unknown
Landmark, number unknown. 6 pups. BP
Marble Mtn. number unknown. 3 pups. BP
Moyer Basin, 8 adults, 5 pups. BP
Orphan, 3 adults, 1 pup
Selway, number unknown, 3-4 pups. BP
Thunder Mountain, number unknown, 9 pups. BP
Twin Peaks, 1 adult, 7 pups. (alpha male shot by Tim Sundles)
Whitehawk Mountain, 3 adults, 9 pups. BP (the pack was killed off as "control" early in 2002)
Wildhorse, 5 adults, 4 pups. BP
Wolf Fang, 6 adults, 8-9 pups. BP
Gold Fork, 7+ adults, 2 pups. BP
Gospel Hump, 2-4 adults, 7 pups. BP
Scott Mountain, 4 pups, 2 adults. BP

Estimated size of each pack or group end of 2002-
Big Hole, 6 adults, 3 pups, BP
Chamberlain Basin, ? ?
Jureano Mtn. 5 wolves
Kelly Creek 3+ adults, 6 pups, BP
Landmark 7 adults, 11 pups, BP
Marble Mtn. 3+ adults, 3 pups
Moyer Basin 2 adults, 4 pups, BP
Orphan 3-4 adults, 0 pups
Selway 4 adults, 3 pups, BP
Thunder Mountain 3 adults, 0 pups
Wildhorse 4+ adults, 0 pups (pack disintegrated during the year)
Wolf Fang 7-8 adults, ? pups
Gold Fork 4-5 adults, 0 pups
Gospel Hump 8 adults, 3 pups, BP
Scott Mountain 1 adult, 2 pups
Buffalo Ridge 2 adults, 7 pups, BP
Five Lakes Butte 2+, 2 pups, BP
B45 pair, 2 adults, 0 pups
B105 group 2-3 adults, 0 pups
B133 pair, 2 adults, 0 pups


NAMES OF THE packS or groupS end of 2004-
(Estimates of the total size of the packs was not compiled. Pup counts are the minimum)
(BP means the group or pack was a breeding pair at the end of the year)
Packs with pups-
Battlefield. 4 pups. BP. Montana portion
Bear Valley. 5 pups.
Big Hole. 2 pups. BP
Buffalo Ridge 2 pups. BP
Calderwood 3 pups. BP
Chesimia. 4 pups. BP
Cold Springs. 4 pups. BP
Coolwater Ridge. 3 pups. BP
Copper Basin. 2 pups. BP
Eagle Mt. 3 pups. BP
Five Lake Butte. 3 pups. BP
Florence. 7 pups. BP
Galena. 3 pups. BP
Gold Fork. 3 pups. BP
Golden Creek. 2 pups. BP
Gospel Hump. 4 pups.
Hazard Lake. 3 pups.
Hemlock Ridge. 3 pups. BP
Jureano Mtn. 3 pups. BP
Kelly Creek. 2 pups. BP
Magruder. 5 pups. BP
Marble Mtn. 2 pups. BP
Monumental. 3 pups. BP
Morgan Creek.2 pups. BP
Moyer Basin. 3 pups. BP
O'Hara Point. 4 pups (1 known dead). BP
Orphan. 4 pups.
Packer John. 5 pups. BP
Painted Rocks 4 pups. BP Montana portion
Partridge Creek. 6 pups
Sapphire Range. 3 pups. BP
Scott Mtn. 4 pups. BP
Soldier Mtns. 5 pups. BP
Steel Mtn. 3 pups. BP
Timberline. 1 pup (died)
Twin Peaks. 1 pup.
Warm Springs. 3 pups BP

Non-reproductive Packs or groups-
Bennett Mountain (control killed)
Black Canyon (ID-MT border)
Castle Peak
Chamberlain Basin
Cook (all 9 wolves control killed)
Eldorado
Fox Creek (MT- all 7 control killed)
Grassy Top
Lupine Creek
Mount Haggin
Red River
Selway
Thunder Mountain
 

Here is a graph I made showing the growth in the central Idaho Experimental wolf population from the introduction in 1995 through 2004. Unlike the Greater Yellowstone wolf population, the Idaho wolf population has not shown signs of slowing down, although much of the 2004 increase was in the previously lightly populated SW Montana portion of the Idaho Experimental area.

 

State management of the Idaho wolves?

Getting state cooperation to help manage the wolves has been a great problem in Idaho, just as it has been in Wyoming. At first, in 1994, it appeared that Idaho would cooperate well with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in joint management. A plan to do just that was set to go in effect upon reintroduction. The joint management proposal had been developed near the end of the term of Governor Cecil Andrus. Andrus, Idaho's only 4-term governor, and one time Secretary of the Interior (under Jimmy Carter). Andrus had been a great friend of wildlife, and a true outdoorsman. He wanted the Department of Fish and Game to pursue a science-based, non-political course. His retirement at the end of 1994 made a big difference.

The wolf reintroduction came just as the new Governor, Phil Batt, was taking office and "wise use" anti-environmentalists had come to completely dominate the state legislature. The legislature denounced the wolf management agreement and prohibited the Idaho Department of Fish and Game from having anything to do with wolf management, control, reintroduction, etc.. Due to the lack of state cooperation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service contracted with the Nez Perce Native American tribe to manage the wolves. They are now in their 8th year helping manage the central Idaho experimental recovery area wolves.

With Judge Downes' decision that the wolves had to be removed, most of the anti-wolf folks in Idaho and elsewhere were celebrating, but in the intervening period between Downes' decision and its overturning by the U.S. 10th Circuit, the wolf population more than doubled, and the wolves spread.

After the demise of Downes' order, Idaho produced many draft Idaho wolf plans. Finally on March 14, 2002, the Idaho legislature passed a final state wolf plan. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved the plan in 2003. They also approved Montana's plan, but Wyoming passed a very defective plan, and the Service rejected it. As a result none of the 3 states could take over wolf management until Wyoming produced an acceptable plan, and thoughout 2004, the Wyoming state political authorities appeared to be in no mood to produce an acceptable plan. They resorted instead to lawsuits and harassment of federal wolf managers, this despite the fact that Wyoming wolf recovery outside of Yellowstone Park lagged well behind recovery in Montana and Idaho.

Finally in 2004, USFWS issued a modification of 10j "experimental wolf population rule," which to a substantial degree handed day-to-day wolf management in Idaho and Montana over to state wolf managers. USFWS retained oversight, and Wyoming got nothing, but on Feb. 7, 2005 Idaho wolves were for practical purpose finally managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (and Montana wolves by the Montana Div. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks).
 

Here are the costs of the Idaho wolf management by year through 1999.

1994, $50,000; 1995, $306,000; 1996, $257,000; 1997, $257,000; 1998, $400,000; 1999, $400,000; 2004, approx $1-million. Idaho wolf management has been very well funded compared to Montana, Wyoming and Yellowstone. However, much of the money was obtained to "control" wolves and give special payouts to ranchers in addition to the private Defenders of Wildlife payments.


Sawtooth Valley and Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho
Sawtooth Valley and the Sawtooth Mountains, ID
Copyright Ralph Maughan

The Whitehawk Pack, which roamed the Sawtooth Valley was destroyed by the government early in 2002. Did a new wolf pack form in the Sawtooth Valley of central Idaho in 2003? Yes!! The new Galena Pack emerged, the product of 2 adult wolves who had 5 pups. They denned again in 2004 and produced 3 pups. In February 2005, the Galena Pack was observed to have 7 members.



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Photos and text 1996 - 2005 Ralph Maughan.

Revised  March 6, 2005

visits since Sept. 25, 1998

Not to be reprinted, archived, redistributed, etc., without permission.