Field reports: Wolf numbers up in Northern Rockies

By April 6, 2015 February 15th, 2016 No Comments

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PREDATORS — Gray wolf numbers rose across most of the Northern Rockies last year but dropped in Montana after a concerted effort by officials there to drive down the population and curb livestock attacks.

Last week was the deadline for northwestern states to report their wolf status and monitoring information to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Idaho reported Friday that surveys had verified a minimum of 770 wolves in the state, up from 659 verified wolves at the end of 2013. Idaho trappers and hunters killed 256 wolves in 2014 — 100 fewer than in 2013.

Idaho biologists documented 104 wolf packs in Idaho at the end of 2014 compared with 107 at the end of 2013.

In addition, there were 23 documented packs counted by Montana, Wyoming, and Washington that had established territories overlapping the Idaho state boundary compared with 28 verified in 2013.

Not all wolves or wolf packs are presumed documented, officials said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday reported that a minimum of 1,783 wolves in more than 300 packs roamed the six-state region at the end of 2014.

That’s a 5 percent population increase from the prior year. More wolves were tallied in Wyoming, Idaho, eastern Oregon and eastern Washington.

In Montana, wolf numbers dipped 12 percent, to 554 animals. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported livestock attacks by the predators dropped to their lowest level since 2008.

No wolves were counted in Utah.

Wolves were widely exterminated last century across most of the Lower 48.

Proposals for rules to be presented in Tumwater

HUNTING — Proposals for restricting the use of bait for hunting and other topics dealing with Washington hunting rules and seasons will be presented at the state Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting Thursday and Friday in Tumwater.

Topics including small-game hunting seasons, changes to deer and elk area descriptions and special closures; deer and elk general seasons and permits; trapping seasons and regulations, permit levels for mountain goat, bighorn sheep and moose, and landowner hunting permits.

Also on the agenda is a vote on proposals regarding the use of bait during deer and elk hunting seasons. The commission will consider multiple proposals, including a complete ban on baiting, putting a limit on the amount of bait that could be put out by hunters or allowing the use of some bait by youth, elderly and hunters with disabilities.

Leadman triathlon on at Silver Mountain

MULTISPORTS — Although the region’s ski resorts have closed for the season, there’s still enough snow at Silver Mountain above Kellogg to start the first leg of a popular multisport down-the-mountain spring event.

The 11th annual Leadman Triathlon will be held April 25.

Organizers this year plan to start the race with a 1-mile downhill ski followed by a 7-11-mile mountain bike ride and finishing with a 4-mile run ending at the Silver Mountain Resort village.


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