43 wolves collared this winter

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is continuing its wolf monitoring effort this winter with the capture and collaring of several animals across their range in northwest Wyoming.

The Game and Fish Department is responsible for the management of the state’s wolf population outside Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation.

So far this winter, approximately 43 new collars have been deployed, bringing the total number of marked animals to over 75 within the state’s trophy game management area.

h/t WGFD

Managers like to have at least 1-2 collared animals in each pack to monitor the changing distribution and derive an accurate count for the population.

h/t WGFD – Game and Fish Wolf Biologist Ken Mills reads the scale as a young adult female from the Horsetail Creek pack is weighed at a handling station near Kelly recently. The animal’s GPS collar had failed and was being replaced.

The Department has also been deploying additional GPS collars to assist in cooperative research projects with the University of California-Berkeley, the National Elk Refuge, and Grand Teton National Park.

Regular aerial surveys are flown to keep tabs on the collared animals and their associated packs.

h/t WGFD – Wyoming Game and Fish Wolf Biologist Ken Mills inspects a sedated young adult female wolf from the Pacific Creek Pack near near Moran, WY. The animal was captured in the Spread Creek drainage, which is an unusual location for them as they are typically north of Togwotee Pass.

Most of the captures are handled in the field away from people by a contracted professional wildlife capture crew. The crew will typically net-gun the animals, collect blood and other biological samples, fit it with a GPS collar or traditional VHF radio collar and release it on-site.


The battery life will allow the GPS collar to record the animals’ travels in detail for approximately 2-3 years; traditional radio collars last 7 years. 

h/t WGFD – Game and Fish Wolf Biologist Ken Mills collects a blood sample from a young adult female wolf from the Pacific Creek pack as wolf researcher Kristen Barker looks on. After biological samples are collected and the animal is fitted with a GPS collar, it is flown back to the area where captured and released.

In addition, the Department’s Large Carnivore biologists also venture into the field to follow-up on reported sightings, which helps gain accurate counts of wolves, as well as assist with the aerial captures each year.  

To learn more about wolves in Wyoming, click here.


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