Idaho Takes Over Wolf Management
News Release. Idaho Fish and Game
March 31, 2008

Friday, March 28, Idaho took over management of gray wolves throughout the state.

Wolves north and south of Interstate 90 now will be managed as big game animals. But federal officials still play a part in wolf depredation issues.

“We are excited as managers to assume their management,” said Cal Groen, director of Idaho Fish and Game. “The Commission and I thank staff, the Office of Species Conservation, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the many others who helped in this recovery effort.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s final rule removing wolves from the endangered species list includes wolves of the Northern Rocky Mountains in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a wolf management plan on March 6. State management plans, laws and protocols will govern wolf management in Idaho. No hunting seasons have been set.

Wolf hunting seasons and bag limits will be based on the Wolf Population Management Plan and developed over the next two months, then adopted by the Fish and Game Commission on May 22. The first wolf hunting season in Idaho will be planned for fall 2008. Rules are expected to be released in July.

In addition, the Legislature has update state law to allow people to kill wolves harassing or attacking their livestock and pets. The law does not require a permit from the Fish and Game director under these conditions, but the incident must be reported to the director within 72 hours.

In Idaho, wolf packs range from the Canadian border south to Interstate 84, and from the Oregon border east to the Montana and Wyoming borders. Dispersing wolves occasionally have been reported in previously unoccupied areas.

During 2007, biologists documented 83 resident wolf packs in Idaho. A minimum population was estimated at 732 wolves. In addition, 13 documented border packs counted for Montana and Wyoming had established territories straddling the Idaho state boundary and probably spent some time in Idaho.

Though wolf management has passed to Idaho, the U.S.D.A.’s Wildlife Services will continue to handle wolf depredation problems.

On March 26, Wildlife Services confirmed that the Copper Basin pack killed a calf on a private ranch near Mackay. The following day, a government aircrew killed an adult male from the Copper Basin pack, and on March 28, the aircrew killed two adult females.

Control efforts are ongoing to remove a wolf that killed a calf on private land near Ellis, and to another wolf killed a calf on private land northeast of Council. Federal agents also plan to remove three wolves that Wildlife Services agents say killed one calf and probably another in the Sage Creek area on March 23. The three wolves have been hanging around in the area among the cattle for about two weeks.

Idaho wolf management plans and other related documents are available under “wolf updates” at the Fish and Game Website:
http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s weekly wolf reports as well as annual reports still can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/.

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Note: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Ed Bangs) has issued its last wolf news update. Now people will have to rely on the states for information. Will it be full and accurate? Let us hope. Ralph Maughan 

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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