Blitzen Trapper set for rendezvous at Garter

By Jim Stanford on March 24, 2012

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Blitzen Trapper, led by singer and guitarist Eric Earley, finishes its tour Sunday at the Pink Garter. This will be the Portland band's first show in Wyoming.

When Blitzen Trapper takes the stage Sunday night at the Pink Garter, Marty Marquis will feel right at home.

Marquis, red-haired guitarist and keyboardist for the Portland-based quintet, used to hitchhike a lot when he was younger. He made a point of choosing a route that took him through Jackson and the national parks.

“I love the Tetons, love Yellowstone, and the folks that I met around there were always really friendly,” he said Thursday from Salt Lake City, where the band was performing. “It seemed like I got offered a job every time I came through there.” Also, the parks and surrounding area were “some of the historical trappers’ favorite places to hang out.”

Expect Marquis and his bandmates to share a few stories, theirs mixed with historical tales, during the show. Blitzen Trapper’s songs are steeped in Western imagery, telling of wandering and adventures, outlaws and wolves.

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wolves evade capture

By Jim Stanford on March 13, 2012

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A federal biologist has been unable to shoot the wolves by helicopter because they are staying near residential areas.

Two weeks after a federal wildlife manager said he planned to kill them, wolves are still roaming the south end of Jackson Hole near residential areas and ranches.

Mike Jimenez, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said there are just two wolves — one white and one black, possibly a mating pair. The predators remain comfortable on the periphery of the Indian Trails, Indian Springs and Cottonwood Park neighborhoods and even south Wilson, near Fall Creek Road, he said.

Because the wolves often are in these areas, Jimenez has been unable to fly in a helicopter and shoot them with darts.

“It’s just not a place we can do anything,” he said. There have been no reports of wolves harassing pets, people or livestock since an Indian Trails homeowner posted a video Feb. 23 of wolves crossing his backyard, Jimenez said.

Jimenez has been tracking the wolves from the ground and by airplane. The animals have ranged from the southern end of the valley, near the South Park elk feedground, across Highway 22 to the north and as far west as Wilson. Their behavior is consistent with wolves establishing a home territory, he said.

“We know where they are, but they’re in small pockets at the far end of a field, or in someone’s backyard, and that’s not an appropriate spot” to capture and euthanize them, he said.

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Jimenez: no to relocating wolves

By Jim Stanford on February 28, 2012

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A wolf comfortable near homes inevitably will get into trouble, Jimenez says.

Despite pleas from the community, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not relocate wolves from the edge of town and instead will euthanize them once captured.

Mike Jimenez, the service’s wolf recovery coordinator for Wyoming, said Tuesday he has fielded calls from concerned residents who wish to see the wolves released elsewhere. Jackson Hole homeowners even have pledged money to cover the agency’s costs.

But Jimenez said relocating the predators isn’t feasible, won’t work and won’t benefit wolves in the long run. Killing the wolves is a pre-emptive move to avoid potential conflicts, he explained.

“They’d be home before I’d get home,” he said of the three or four wolves roaming the west edge of town and South Park.

“We did this for years and years in the early days,” Jimenez said of relocation. The wolves would “take off on their own and end up hunting on their own, by people and livestock. It didn’t go well.”

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South Park wolves to be exterminated

By Jim Stanford on February 27, 2012

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This photo of wolves in Indian Trails by Tim McClure, shared on Facebook and published in the Jackson Hole Daily in January, first sounded the alarm among South Park residents and prompted a flood of calls to authorities.

After being inundated with complaints, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to kill the small group of wolves roaming the South Park area.

Mike Jimenez, the service’s wolf recovery coordinator for Wyoming, plans to dart three or four wolves by helicopter in the coming days, once the predators move into a suitable area away from a residential neighborhood.

The decision follows standard practice, Jimenez said today in a phone interview. The agency has had to take similar action in other towns around the region, although this is the first time in Jackson, he said. With wolves inside the city limit, passing through the Indian Trails neighborhood and even using streets, conflicts are inevitable, he explained.

“At some point, there’s a line where we’ve gotten an unbelievable amount of calls,” Jimenez said.

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new kids on the block

By Jim Stanford on February 23, 2012

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We’ve seen some dramatic photos of wolves of late, as the predators have pushed closer to town in pursuit of game herds. In January, three wolves made news by ambling through the Indian Trails neighborhood in west Jackson.

Well, they’re back, and this time a resident captured excellent video footage. James Peck, owner of Lewis and Clark Expeditions, shot this clip of two wolves traipsing through his backyard today. Otis, the family dog, fortunately was inside the house. But you can hear him growling at the sight. Peck wrote:

This video is of two wolves descending the hill behind our house, crossing the creek and walking past 30 feet from our house. This pack has moved into the South Park area near Jackson, Wyoming this winter. Our house is in the town limits. The white wolf has a radio collar on it.

Otis, a golden retriever, started barking and alerted the family to the wolves’ approach. “Usually, it’s a moose,” Peck said. Last year he filmed his cat fighting off a fox, but dropped the camera.

Probably not reason to panic, but residents might want to be on guard and keep the pets inside tonight.

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