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