Boulder White Clouds CouncilWolf
The Place
About Wilderness
Current News & Issues
Outings & Events
How You Can HelpAbout Us


E-mail us

Boulder-White Clouds Council
Post Office Box 6313
Ketchum, Idaho 83340

©2003 All rights reserved.

Current News & Issues: Wolves

Back to Wolves      Back to News & Issues

Reprinted with permission from Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report for Boulder-White Clouds Council. View the original posting at 

Mother's Day wolf story from Stanley
May 14, 2006
Story & Photos by Lynne Stone

The lone wolf gives chase. Lynne Stone photo.
The lone wolf gives chase.

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. Lynne Stone photo.
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 Salmon River. Lynne Stone photo.
Elk escaping in the Salmon River.

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 short end.

Sawtooth Mountains and Stanley, Idaho - Mother's day May 14, 2006. Home of elk and wolves. Lynne Stone photo.
Sawtooth Mountains and Stanley, Idaho - Mother's day May 14, 2006. Home of elk and wolves.

I'd urge 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.

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.

UPDATE: 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.



This site is best viewed
in Internet Explorer 6
or Netscape 7

Keep the Heart of Idaho Wild