At the Idaho Fish and Game Commission’s annual meeting on January 22-23, 2020, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) unveiled a novel and unproven way of counting wolves in Idaho that led to an estimate that the wolf population peaked at 1,541 wolves last year. Now IDFG is proposing to increase wolf hunting and trapping by extending wolf seasons to 11 or 12 months in most of the state. You can read more about this proposal, including talking points to consider including in your comments, here.
Comment by February 10 to tell IDFG to reject this proposal.
IDFG admits that it has been incrementally ramping up killing for Idaho wolves since they were removed from Endangered Species Act protection by legislative rider in 2011. Wolves have been targeted by the USDA agency Wildlife Services in retribution for livestock losses—and Wildlife Services recorded the highest number of wolf predations in Idaho ever after it conducted an outreach campaign to encourage ranchers to report purported predation. Meanwhile, IDFG has been funding “reimbursement” of up to $1,000 per wolf for wolf trappers who kill wolves in certain zones of Idaho. And legislation before the Idaho Legislature would create “wolf free” zones and “chronic depredation zones” where wolves could be killed year-round in the southern half of the State—including in the Wood River Valley where the Wood River Wolf Project has a proven record of resolving livestock conflicts using nonlethal methods.
When you look at the whole picture, IDFG’s management looks like an extinction policy for wolves in Idaho.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will be holding a special meeting with a public hearing to consider the proposed wolf season extensions on March 19, in Boise—location TBA. If you can, please join and testify in favor of wolf management based on sound science and against continuing to increase hunting and trapping pressure on wolves in Idaho. In the meantime, you can vote against the proposed season extensions and offer your written comments on IDFG’s proposal here.