Idaho Fish and Game rules on two of three recent wolf killings

Under Idaho’s you-can-shoot-a-wolf-for-worrying-your-cow-dog-or-whatever law, Idaho Fish and Game has ruled that 2 of 3 shootings were justified.

It says a third is still under investigation.


According to rumors in Stanley, the third was a shooting of a Basin Butte wolf that came down to where the pack regularly hunted ground squirrels only to find the pasture filled with trucked in cattle. The wolf was shot while standing in the vicinity of the cattle.

There has also been a kill order out for another Stanley area pack, the Galena Pack, for allegedly killing a cow calf. This pack too stays low under later in the summer so it can hunt ground squirrels. The Idaho Fish and Game regional manager ordered one wolf taken.

I called him and suggested that instead the pack should have been hazed to its summer range in the higher elevations of the White Cloud Mountains.

After spending several days trying to trap a wolf, our observers noted WS has left the area. Whether they got a wolf is unknown. They may be coming back with aircraft gunships. The cost for the revenge killing of one calf??

Decisions on wolf killing in Idaho have been devolved from the state’s large carnivoire manager, Steve Nadeau to the F & G regional managers; although I get the impression that the federal agency Wildlife Services [as in wildlife killing] makes the call and the regional managers probably rubberstamps WS’s decision.



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  1. kt Avatar

    Ralph – This is SO foreseeable. Devolution — of Decisions — until it’ s Wildlife Services on the cell to the rancher’s hired man: “How many should we take out this time? I’ll call Fish and Game and tell them what to say”.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Probably close to that already, KT

  3. John Avatar

    “They may be coming back with aircraft gunships. The cost for the revenge killing of one calf??”

    It is incredible I agree. The gunship expedition just to kill -a- wolf would cost a small fortune (of taxpayer $$$) all because of 1 cow out of how many hundred or so?
    Its “alleged” and always “assumed” and that’s no way to go about this.
    I believe, when push comes to shove, grey wolves were better off under the FWS. Not much better, but still…

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    When they talk about the costs of wolf management, and how oppressive they are, this is the reason.

    Most of the costs of wolf management are involved with tracking and often killing wolves for livestock damages far less than the cost of the tracking, and shooting them over a trap or from the air.

    If in late May, WS had been ordered by Idaho Fish and Game to haze this pack up into the high country away from near its densite above Obsidian, Idaho where it lingers to hunt elk and ground squiirels, it would have not been there to kill a cow calf when the cows where trucking in in June.

    ID Fish and Game apparently was not aware that lingering at lower elevations was typical of this pack.

    That the costs of a program should at least equal its benefits, is not an unreasonable request.

  5. Sue RB Avatar
    Sue RB

    I am in hailey id visiting family. would love to see their wolves. Know my way around pretty good. can you give me some ideas. Thanks


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan