Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wolves in Bear Valley? U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sends biologist to investigate

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 
SENECA - A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist traveled to Grant County's Bear Valley this week to investigate whether wolves have moved into the area.
Biologist John Stephenson, of the Fish and Wildlife Service's La Grande field office, was expected to arrive Monday, Aug. 15, and take samples of recent, fresh scat that Bryan Nelson found on his property in Bear Valley. Results were not immediately available.
Nelson had reported wolf signs previously, and he was given instructions to call Stephenson the next time he saw any fresh indications of wolf presence.
Nelson said Monday that he had several locations to show Stephenson.
"This may confirm what a lot of people already think is happening," said Nelson, who owns 160 acres in the north end of the valley.
"I think the area's had wolves. People up here have been hearing and seeing them for quite some time."
Nelson believes wolves have been in and out of the area since the early 2000s.
Over close to the last decade, he's heard their howls, seen their tracks, and found their droppings.
Recently, a woman living in the area said she thought she saw one right outside her door in late April or early May.
"A turkey hunter behind my place in late April said he'd seen a great big gray dog," Nelson said. "They come in about every two or three months. They're here a week or two or three, and then move out again."
One set of what Nelson believes were wolf prints, were in snow between his home and wood shed, buildings which are about 150 feet apart.
Nelson has found the fecal material on roads in and around his place since 2005. "The feces are always along roads, right in the middle of them, a great big dog-looking pile," said Nelson. "They look like they come from a 100-pound size dog, with hair and bones in it. They're two or three times those that come from a coyote. They're not from an animal that eats seeds and fruit."