In response to an Idaho legislator’s desire to establish “no wolf” and “chronic depredation” zones, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has proposed significantly expanding year-round hunting, trapping and snaring of wolves. These changes based on politics would undermine their management based on science.
Let IDFG know you don’t support these proposals. Click here to comment before “close of business” on Monday, Feb. 10.
Tips on How to Navigate the Online Public Comment Process
There are seven wolf hunting proposals, two wolf trapping proposals and a section for general comments. We suggest selecting “Do not support” for each proposal.
Also, personal comments for each proposal are allowed. These are the comments ICL staff submitted:
Hunting Proposals 1 – 6: There appears to be little or no data supporting a drastic increase in wolf hunting in this region. Instead of targeting wolves, IDFG should work with land managers on restoration efforts that improve elk habitat and allow sustainable harvests to continue to occur.
Hunting Proposal 7: Non-lethal predator deterrents are likely to be more successful and far less controversial than increased wolf removal efforts.
Trapping Proposals 1 – 2: During the summer months, our public lands are full of berry pickers, hikers, campers, and anglers among other recreationists. I am very concerned about the safety of recreationists and pets if the use of traps and snares is expanded.
General Comments: We ask IDFG to start developing a balanced wolf education program as per the 2002 Wolf Management Plan – “Establish a strong public education program that emphasizes wolf biology, management, conservation, and presents a balanced view of the societal impacts and costs of wolf reintroduction.”
Public Hearing: The Fish and Game Commission will also host a public hearing on this proposal in Boise on March 19. Click here to learn more.
Background on Idaho Wolf Management
Following the successful reintroduction of wolves in Idaho 25 years ago, Fish and Game had committed to managing wolves like other big game species such as black bears and mountain lions with reasonable hunting seasons.
The 2002 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan allows for increased wolf hunting in response to reduced elk numbers and livestock depredations, but IDFG’s own data shows that is not the case. According to an August 22, 2019 IDFG press release, elk numbers are within or exceeding population goals:
- Idaho elk hunters have recently enjoyed excellent hunting with 22,325 elk taken in 2018, which ranks among the top-10, all-time harvests.
- “Elk hunting is good, and it’s been good for a number of years, and I don’t think that’s going to change,” Fish and Game’s Deer/Elk Coordinator Daryl Meints.
- Hunter numbers have correspondingly grown as word has gotten out about Idaho’s elk hunting returning to some of its past glory.
- The statewide elk harvest has exceeded 20,000 annually for the last five years, which has not happened since the all-time high harvests between 1988-96. There’s no indication that the 2019 harvest won’t be similar to 2018 and continue that trend.