Ancient Idaho wolf B7M hit by vehicle north of Salmon, Idaho. Was he the last of the reintroduced wolves?

All of the wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone Park in 1995 and 1996 are now long dead.

Their counterparts who were released in Idaho, however, either by luck or the excellence of Idaho as wolf country have continued to show up. Wolf B7M, introduced from Alberta and released on the Middle Fork of Salmon River in January 1995, was recently found dead, hit by a vehicle, on a road about 15 miles north of Salmon, Idaho.

B7M was a 60 pound yearling when he came to Idaho. He soon joined with another reintroduced wolf, B11F, named “Blackfire” by Idaho school children, to form a bond that lasted ten years and established one of Idaho’s old wolf packs — the Big Hole Pack which inhabits the state border country of Idaho and Montana just to the south of Lolo Pass.

These wolves did get in a minor bit of livestock trouble early on and were briefly taken from the wild and penned in Yellowstone Park and later in an enclosure near the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho at Running Creek. They were sometimes called the “Running Creek Pair.”

The pair were both visually sighted in the summer of 2005, apparently still leading the pack they created. It is possible that Blackfire lives on still.

If you use a search engine to search my old web site, you will find many articles about B7 and B11.

Update. Jan. 19. Ed Bangs has reported that B7M was at least 13 3/4 years old. He might have been 14 3/4 years. B7 might possibly have been the oldest wild wolf on record.

Camo Day– the more progressive sportsmen have their day at Idaho capitol

Last week was the day for organization “Sportmen for Fish and Wildlife-Idaho” to show up in Boise to rally against wolves, but today “representatives from about 31 sporting organizations, from bowhunters to bass anglers, gathered for the first “Camo Day” to make their unified presence known to lawmakers.”

While this was hardly a rally in favor of carnivores, it represents an important effort by sportsmen groups together advocating on behalf wildlife issues, especially against privatization, canned hunting, and for more protection of wildlife and fish habitat, and away from the divide and conquer tactics waged by the extractive industries in the past in Idaho.

Here is the story in the Idaho Statesman. 200 sportsmen from 31 groups tell lawmakers, ‘We’re watching’. Idaho Statesman By Roger Phillips

Here is the link to Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council which organized the event.

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Idaho Fish and Game Commission names new Director

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has announced the hiring of a new department director, Cal Groen. He replaces Steve Huffaker who retired.

Here is the news release.

Date: Jan 17, 2007
Contact: Ed Mitchell 208-334-3700

Idaho Fish and Game Names New Director

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission today appointed Lewiston resident Cal Groen to lead Fish and Game.

Groen, 59, is a 17-year veteran of Fish and Game with 33-years of experience managing fish and wildlife. Groen held several prominent department positions over the years, the last nine as supervisor of the Clearwater Region.

“I am thrilled and honored to be named to this very important position,” Groen said. “Idaho is blessed with a variety of fish, wildlife, and land and l look forward to working with the Commission, employees, and other partners. The mystic and natural beauty of our state is something I treasure and we need wide-ranging partnerships to protect our fish and wildlife heritage and to keep providing good opportunities to Idaho’s hunters and anglers. It’s a challenge I take very seriously.”

The Commission chose Groen from a field of five well-qualified candidates that included two other Fish and Game employees

“We felt like Cal is the man for the hour at Fish and Game,” Commission Chairman Cameron Wheeler said. “He has a wealth of experience, his background, knowledge, and his sense of the Department’s history will be a great asset. Cal Groen fits what we need and expect from a leader.”

Groen replaces former Director Steve Huffaker who retired at the first of the year after leading the agency for nearly five years.

Before joining Fish and Game in 1990 Groen served as assistant director at wildlife agencies both in Washington, and Kansas.

Before becoming Region two supervisor, Groen served as chief of Fish and Game’s Natural Resources Policy Bureau. He also coordinated the Department’s Columbia River Policy.

Groen graduated in 1969 with B.S. degrees in political science and biology from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He also holds an M.S. degree in biology and fishery science from the University of South Dakota.

Groen and his wife Rebecca, have two grown children.

Northern Yellowstone elk herd stable at relatively low numbers

The annual count of elk on Yellowstone’s northern range is in. It remains low compared to years past, but is about the same as a year ago — 6,738 elk compared to about 6600 in the last count, 9 months ago.

The Northern Range herd has always been controversial with its numbers called wildly excessive in the past. It reached at record high of 19,359 in late 1993. It was 17,290 in late 1994. Wolves were reintroduced 3 months later. Then, unfortunately were no elk counts until Dec. 1997 when the population was 13,400. It was known there was a great winter die-off in Jan-March 1997, but there no count made in 1996 or spring of 1997. Since then the population has had its ups and downs, but mostly downs, to the present.

By late 1997 critics had changed from saying the herd was excessively large to alarmed critics saying that wolves were killing off the herd. Some of the decline in the period 2000-2005 has been blamed on a multi-year drought. It is also pretty clear that predators are keeping the herd down in size

The herd has a greater variety of predators that any in the lower 48 states: grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, cougar, coyotes, humans (there is a hunt outside the Park), and the herd is not just a Park herd, despite the name. One elk was even killed by a wolverine. A 3-year study showed the major predator of elk calves in the herd was grizzly bears.

This is one herd probably limited by predation. The size of the human take was been reduced greatly in recent years by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Here is the story by Mike Stark from the Billings Gazette.

This northern range herd is one of 8 elk herds that use Yellowstone Park. Some people seem unaware of this.