How To Trick A Wolf: Manipulating Pack Movements With Biofencing

Scientific Disciplines
Biological Sciences - Terrestrial
Keywords
University of Montana
gray wolf
wolves
pack
Canis lupis
Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit
Years
Authors
Volumes
Volume 17, No. 1-4

How to trick a wolf: Manipulating pack movements with 
Biofencing
David E. Ausband,* Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, 
Missoula, Montana 59812
Michael S. Mitchell, Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, 
Missoula, Montana 59812
Wolves (Canis lupus) have a relatively wide distribution in the northern Rockies and can 
conflict with livestock production in certain areas. Tools currently available to mitigate wolf/
livestock conflict can be short-lived in their effectiveness or altogether ineffective. Wolves 
use scent-marking to establish territories and avoid intraspecific conflict. We hypothesized 
that human-deployed scent-marks could be used to manipulate wolf pack movements in 
Idaho. We deployed 64.7 km of biofence within three wolf pack territories during summer 
2010. Location data from collared wolves showed little to no trespass of the biofence. Sign 
surveys at predicted rendezvous sites yielded little to no recent wolf use of exclusion areas. 
Lastly, a habitually depredating wolf pack was not implicated in any depredations. Our pilot 
test provides preliminary evidence that wolf movements can be manipulated using human-
distributed scent-marks.