And Then the Topic of Wolves Comes Up...
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is considering expanding the wolf harvest again for next year. We are concerned that this may ultimately lead to destabilizing the population and potentially relisting the species.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the Commissioners that guide the agency are highly regarded wildlife professionals who base their management decisions on sound science.
And then the topic of wolves comes up . . . .
Depending on your perspective, IDFG is then full of either "animal-rights activists" for not killing enough wolves or "anti-wolf extremists" for hunting them in the first place. Given the fact that the department is largely funded by hunters who view wolves as competition to be eliminated, in my non-neutral position I perceive a distinct bias toward whacking wolves.
At 7 pm this Wednesday, March 21, at the IDFG office in Boise, the Commission is going to be taking public comment on a proposal to expand the number of wolves that can be hunted from two to five per calendar year.
While the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently praised Idaho's wolf hunt, cumulative effects of expanded hunting regulations and other factors like disease may lower the population more than expected. The Idaho Conservation League is concerned that given the reporting time lag, a large number of wolves could be killed before Fish and Game can close an area to protect the remaining wolves. An overly aggressive strategy could ultimately result in relisting the species.
It's not as if the current hunting regulations aren't liberal enough. This year, approximately 400 wolves have been killed out of an estimated 1,000 total.
Wolf advocates are going to be meeting at IDFG at 6 pm on Wednesday to sign up to testify on behalf of wolves. See Wildlife News article and accompanying comments here.
The Commissioners have the tough job of trying to listen to science rather than emotion. But, given the amount of material on IDFG's website on wolf hunting vs. wolf tourism (the Commissioners suspended the plan that included wolf watching), I would say they still have some work to do to strike a proper balance. We will be watching this next decision closely.