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HB 238: Open season on wolves – 2021

Summary: HB 239 would classify wolves as predatory wildlife, allowing an open season on wolves, year-round, with no bag limits across the state.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: Dead

Issue Areas: Fish and Wildlife, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, wolves

Official Legislative Site

Former Sen. Jeff Siddoway introduced House Bill 238 on behalf of Sen. Van Burtenshaw (R-Terreton). The ill-advised bill would remove the “big game” classification of wolves in Idaho and allow unlimited, year-round hunting. The bill threatens public safety and other recreationists, because it allows hunting from the back of ATVs, snowmobiles, and even powered-parachutes. You don’t even have to slow down, and you can hunt at night.

These new rules would apply in 79 out of 86 hunting units across the state, basically everything but some portions of the Middle Fork Salmon and the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

The bill contradicts a 2002 Wolf Management Plan (that was adopted by the Idaho Legislature by resolution). That plan required wolves to be managed like other native, resident big game animals such as mountain lions and black bears, not as predators with no limits and no seasons.

In addition, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a policy in 2011 that wolves would be managed as big game “consistent with the goals and objectives of the 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management plan approved by the Idaho Legislature and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep wolves off the Endangered Species List.”

Wolves are valued big game animals that are an important part of Idaho’s natural heritage.┬áScientific and biologically-based management of our wildlife is an underpinning of the North American wildlife model, and this measure undermines that approach.