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Idaho Biologists Track Wolves' Spring Activity

June 6, 2005

As the days become longer we each welcome the season with our own traditions: bird watching, fishing, evening walks with the dog. But for wildlife biologist Jason Husseman springtime is the flying season. He's one of the scientists monitoring Idaho's wolf population. And just as surely as spring brings birds building nests, it sends wolves into the "denning" mode.

"Come springtime, once wolves start to den, what we'll try to do is increase our monitoring so that we can try and get an idea of where they're denning," said Jason Husseman, wildlife biologist with Idaho Fish & Game.

Once a month, all winter long, Jason Husseman has flown over some of our state's most spectacular scenery searching out the signals from each of the radio-collared wolves in central Idaho. Now, with the coming of spring the flights will increase to twice a month.

"Typically wolves will localize around a den site so if we can pick up our flight frequency, we can generally catch them near their dens," said Husseman
Then the real work begins. Husseman's summer will be spent documenting pack sizes, counting pups and trapping wolves to ensure that each known pack has at least one radio-collared animal. This will give scientists the tools they need to estimate wolf population growth.

"Generally what I'm doing is going to each pack that I'm responsible for and locating them on the ground and try and get pup counts and pack counts." said Husseman. "We're looking at home site information. So if you go in and you find a pack of wolves with their pups you look at the type of habitat they're using, distance to habitation, human use, distance to water, that kind of thing."

It is all part of the transition from federal to state management of wolves and for biologist Jason Husseman a wonderful way to become acquainted our state's stunning terrain.

"I get to basically spend my entire summer out running around in the woods, chasing wolves. It puts you in some of those amazing places in Idaho" said Husseman. "I've seen probably the most beautiful country that I'll get to see, being out there chasing wolves around."

Please report wolf sightings!

A wolf reporting form is available on-line that will be sent immediately to Idaho Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nez Perce Tribe.

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