Reprinted with permission from Ralph
Maughan's Wolf Report for
Boulder-White Clouds Council. View the original posting at
Day wolf story from Stanley
May 14, 2006
Story & Photos by Lynne Stone
The lone wolf gives
After a magnificent full moon night
lighting up the snow-covered Sawtooth Mountains, I stumbled out of the
cabin at dawn. With coffee and camera in hand I drove to the usual vantage
points in hopes of seeing wolves. I didnít have to wait long.
The wolf chasing the
elk along the bank of the Salmon River (the fence keeps the livestock
out of the river).
I saw six head of cow elk in a place
where Iíd previously seen wolves in the past week. Suddenly, the elk
bolted. In the dim morning light, I could see three wolves in pursuit, 200
yards behind. One cow elk ended up alone, looking back at her departing
herd. I saw the wolves go into a stalk, similar to what my mutt uses when
he sees a squirrel.
The wolf closest to the elk, decided to give chase by itself, and the cow
elk forgot about trying to rejoin her bunch, and instead leaped into the
swollen Salmon River and escaped.
The wolves did not follow. After a while, all three wolves regrouped atop
a ridge. They stayed there for quite a while, and disappeared into the
forest. Now every time I drive by that ridge I expect to see wolves. I'll
never forget this special Mother's Day morning.
Elk escaping in the
I want to say that Iím not a
professional photographer, nor the Lynne Stone who publishes photos on
wolf calendars. Nevertheless, I was trying to get photos of the wolf, the
elk, and the chase to share. Todayís action took place largely before the
sun appeared. And I have a tripod somewhere, but canít find it. There
wasnít time this morning to set it up anyway.
Since the May 4th Stanley saga of a beautiful wolf taking down an elk
yearling near Stanley, and Ron Gillett going after it with a .22 rifle,
there have been more wolf sightings here. We may have a pack thatís denned
east of Stanley. This is good news and bad news. Itís exciting to see the
wolves, but in two weeks there will be hundreds of beef cows with calves
in the pastures where elk are grazing.
Unfortunately, most of the landowners here own cattle or lease out pasture
for livestock grazing and almost none of these entities like wolves.
Coming up is the first livestock grazing season since Idaho Dept. of Fish
and Game took over wolf management in January. IDFG is controlled by Idaho
politicians. I donít expect IDFG to show any mercy toward wolves. I donít
like saying that, but until we can change the power structure in this
state, wolves and salmon and wild places are going to continue to get the
and Stanley, Idaho - Mother's day May 14, 2006. Home of elk and
friends of wolves to write letters to Idaho newspapers (e-mail addresses
for papers was supplied in earlier e-mail - but can send again) in support
of wolves. Also, to visit Stanley and go to local businesses and ask them
for information about wolves. Currently, no store carries a t-shirt that
has a wolf on it ("too controversial"). 2007 Update
- SEVERAL stores in Stanley and Lower Stanley now sell t-shirts with
wolves on them! Also, wolf mugs, posters, cards, magnets and figurines!
We do have
a lot of wolf supporters in this tiny mountain town and I'm doing my best
to contact them, and hopefully they will speak out, and also report if Ron
G or his cronies, go stalking the wolves again.
Editors note: Stone really
appreciates all the e-mails that have been sent to her about standing up
to Ron Gillett. She's trying to answer each one and asked me to say she
apologizes if she misses anyone.
MAY 15, 2006 COMMENT FROM RALPH MAUGHAN
It looks like a wolf pack may have denned near Stanley, Idaho, because
there have been more wolf sightings adjacent to town following the first
one which got so much news.
Wolves really aren't new to Stanley,
but most people there haven't seen the wolves. When the 2nd batch of
wolves was reintroduced to Idaho back in 1996, just a few weeks afterward
the biggest wolf of the bunch came trotting down one of Stanley's gravel
streets, stopped at the stop sign at the highway, crossed and loped up
into the hills.
Stanley sits in Stanley Basin, which
is a high mountain valley separated from a much larger mountain valley,
the Sawtooth Valley, by the Redfish Lake moraine. Various wolf packs have
used the Sawtooth Valley, Marsh Creek just to the north of Stanley, and
the White Cloud Mountains since 1998. The Stanley Pack formed in 1998 and
lasted until 2001 after it was broken up by control after killing
livestock here and there. That pack was not as close to Stanley as these
wolves of recent days, however.
Stanley Basin and the Sawtooth Valley
is the one place in Idaho were wolf tourism could be similar to
Yellowstone. Stanley's economy has changed over the years becoming much
more recreation oriented. That means all kinds of outdoor recreation to
which wolf watching would fit well because wildlife observation is already
an attraction. Right now you might be able to rent a motel room in Lower
Stanley and look out the window to see wolves chasing elk around.
Politics is changing too; perhaps one
reason why Ron Gillett and his allies are so upset.
The problem is the livestock, a
remnant of days gone by. All of the livestock in area are brought in
during the summer. They do not winter over. Increasingly the owners of
private land simply lease out the pasture to outsiders.
On May 24, two gray yearling male wolves of the Galena Pack were collared
by Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game personnel on SNRA land, in the White Cloud
Mountains, east of the Salmon River. The wolves are identified as B276M
and B277M. In June, B276 was found dead, apparently of natural causes. In
July 2007, B277 dispersed from the Galena Pack.
RALPH MAUGHAN FOR EDITING THE PHOTOS FOR THESE STORIES!