Posts Tagged ‘It’s Wolverine Wednesday!’

It’s Wolverine Wednesday! Hello, Powder

jason bc plot
Posted on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014


6-12 inches of fresh snowfall throughout the region last week sparked renewed optimism among our volunteers that plot set-up would be possible for our remaining two bait plots and corridor camera stations. For several of our Wolverine Warriors, this was their second bait station/corridor camera station this season!

celeste cc plot



These extraordinary efforts were compounded by strange weather layers, alder thickets, washed out stream crossings and missing culverts. One crew reports having to cross 15 of the stream crossing kind featured in the picture above.

jim bc plot




But at each turn, crew combated their troubles in several ways:  good ol’ ingenuity, grit, a shared pair of rubber boots, a sense of humor, and duct tape. Did I mention how much these guys ROCK?

eric bc plot

One more of each station is all that remains to be established, and the data will start coming in this weekend. Two groups, Ron Mamajek’s crew and team Gulo Gulo, plan to head out to install fresh data cards this coming weekend.  The project is rolling, as slowly as it started, into its second stage where we will begin to observe the images captured on the cards!  Any guesses as to what else we will see this year?

celeste cc plot 2


It’s Wolverine Wednesday: Last Call for Stations!

WW crew
Posted on Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

We are approaching our Camera Bait Station installation deadline, and it looks like we are going to make it!  Our last two bait stations will be going out this weekend.  During the week a crew headed out to make a last check for conditions: Ice, check.  Crusty snow, check.  River crossing possible?  Check.  The question now becomes, will Jim choose boots next time??? 1-28-14 057-1

Hopefully poor Bill will have some solid luck getting his plot up (this trackwill be a fourth attempt!).  Either way, his work and effort have been remarkable, it is all very appreciated!  He found this track en route to the plot on his last attempt.  Any guesses as to who left it?

Another Corridor Camera station went up over the weekend, near a drainage flowing into the Lightening Creek ‘Treasured Landscape” region.  The crew observed mustelid tracks near a discarded ungulate carcass as they began their hike to their coordinates.  That’s promising!!   They set their camera wolverine-ishup near a moose bed facing the draw in hopes of capturing thirsty traveling critters.  But just to be sure that they had their camera angles set well, they had to think like a mustelid.  Some of them even chose to move like a mustelid!

I had the good fortune to procure a group of extremely friendly and interested middle school students at the Forest Charter Middle School as my crew to setup a Corridor Camera Station near Blue Creek, thanks to some thoughtful efforts by their instructor, Becky Bigley.  Last week I introduced them to our project and fieldwork protocols in their classroom.  They listened well, seemed excited, and had very thoughtful questions to ask, such as, “if I take this compass to the north pole and try and use it, will it stand-up on its end?” and “Is there a chance we may capture a Sasquatch with the camera?”  Like good scientists, we formed hypotheses and will test them during our project.  We are awaiting pictures from this event, and will report back from the field in due time!

Thanks everyone for staying tuned and to all our volunteers for their sharp minds and strong legs!  ID Fish & Game have two more bait plots in the area and are looking for additional FSPW Volunteers who may be interested in setting them up!  They will be a long, hard field day in a beautiful area, and will require snowmobile assistance.  Please contact me at if you are interested!







It’s Wolverine Wednesday! : Phantoms, Aliens, and Monster Subarus…

WW John scouting FI
Posted on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

With three weeks to go before the camera station set-up deadline is reached, we are well on our way to another successful research season of wildlife espionage!

4 out of 8 bait stations have been set-up.  2 attempts were made over the weekend, but struggles were encountered.  John Hastings and his high school participants attempted their site last Sunday, but ran into delays with their snowmobile drivers.  As a result, they are postponing their adventure until next weekend.

Bill Hawkins and his crew made a second attempt at his plot, which is surrounded by some of our finest and steepest wilderness country.  Trying a different route, Bill and his crew made it to within viewing distance of his Hawkinsplotridgeline, only to observe that this route is currently fraught with the dangerous avalanche hazards plaguing our backcountry this winter (notice the cornice?).  But they are not giving up!  This Saturday they plan to strap on shoes and try again!  I am incredibly impressed with the skill level of this crew.  They are keeping a keen eye on safety, yet a strong will of determination.  I love a crew that loves a challenge… this is the resolve of core Montanians/Idahoans.   Can anyone say, ‘Badass’ contenders?

On the corridor camera front, 8 of the 12 stations have been established.  Two crews have even gone back and performed monitoring duties, assessing the condition of the camera location and swapping out SDcards and installing fresh batteries…. at least, that’s all they thought they were there to do…

With the weather being mild, Pam Duquette, Irv McGeachy, and John Harbuck’s crews all headed out, sperately from one another, to their corridor cameras in various locations throughout this newly designated “Treasured Landscape.“  With still icy road conditions, and perhaps a little to much trust in the ability of 4WD (we’ve all been there!), Irv slid off the road with his  truck and found it stuck in the ditch.Which vehicle made it?  Rod Barcklay’s Subaru!  On went the tow ropes and the crews attempted the Subaru to Chevy pull-out!  Imagine seeing the likes of this as you walk by:


Well, it was a very creative try!!

Having so many volunteers out there allowed our volunteers to do what they do best:  ADAPT and MAKE IT HAPPEN!  Those with the vehicle ambition hung out with the stuck truck to work on freeing it, whilst the others paired up and headed out to the various stations that needed to be checked on.  Two data cards have come back, and yes those critters have been out and about!  Check out some of the critters and other unexpected photo captures that we have gleaned thus far in our project:



Hello, Moose!











Does he hear the camera click?









A 5-eyed alien out for a bike ride??








A Phantom on a sled?

mary's nuts







And finally, the unmistakable proof….

Mary’s gone nuts!


Thanks again to FSPW Volunteer Crews.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, people!  Check in next week for more from your Wilderness!