Info on Idaho wolf hunt

This was prepared for the Idaho Fish and Game Commission meeting to be held Nov. 18-

You can find this at

We urge folks to attend this meeting. They are already making plans for next year’s hunt, including changes. Seems a bit premature to us. Apparently they feel they do not need more data from the on-going hunt.

– – – – – – –

Meeting Date: November 18, 2009 Agenda Item No. 11
Agenda Item: Wolf/Grizzly Bear Update, wolf harvest
limits update/direction

Approved by: Prepared by: Jon Rachael and Jeff Gould for Jim Unsworth

At the August 2009 Commission meeting, the Commission established a statewide harvest limit
of 220 wolves and individual harvest limits for 12 wolf management zones and directed staff to
provide an update for their review in November (attached). Overall, the regulatory mechanisms
are operating well and the information outreach has been effective.
Wolf hunts opened September 1 in the Lolo and Sawtooth wolf management zones, September 15
in the Middle Fork and Selway wolf management zones, and throughout the rest of the state on
October 1. The greatest spike in harvest occurred during the 3-day opening weekend of deer
season, October 10-12.
As of October 28, total documented mortality from all causes (harvest, lethal removal of
depredating wolves, illegal take, natural, and unknown causes) has been lowest in the Salmon,
Selway, Lolo, Panhandle, and Palouse wolf management zones (<10%). These zones have all had
very-low to no lethal wolf removal for depredation control and low hunter harvest.

The Commission will be provided with a current update of total mortality by zone at the commission meeting.Policy issues:
Idaho Statute 36-104 authorizes the Commission to establish rules for the taking of wildlife
consistent with state policy. Species management plans provide Commission direction for
population and harvest management.

Public Involvement Process:
The recommendations have resulted from year-round public involvement through regional
meetings and website outreach.

Commission direction to implement wolf harvest season and the Idaho Wolf Population
Management Plan to manage wolf population numbers toward the goal of achieving 2005
populations levels within a reasonable period of time.

Action Requested: Review staff recommendations and adopt adjustments to the 2009 – 2010 wolf seasons.

Staff Recommendations:  Specific recommendations for season adjustments will be provided during the presentation.

– – – –

2009 Wolf Season Synopsis
October 28, 2009

Hunting Update
• Wolf hunts opened September 1 in the Lolo and Sawtooth wolf management zones,
September 15 in the Middle Fork and Selway wolf management zones, and throughout
the rest of the state on October 1.
• Wolf harvest peaked as expected when deer seasons opened statewide over a 3-day
weekend (Columbus Day). Sixteen wolves were killed October 10-12.
• As of October 28, 2009 (58 days of wolf hunting behind us), 80 wolves had been killed
(one killed illegally and one either killed illegally or shot and not recovered).
• With 6 weeks of harvest season remaining in 10 wolf zones, only 2 are on the verge of
meeting Harvest Limits (in Upper Snake wolf zone, 4 of 5 wolves have been taken; in
McCall-Weiser wolf zone, 13 of 15 have been taken).
• Five of 12 wolf management zones are halfway to meeting their wolf harvest limits:
(Dworshak-Elk City 11 of 18; Middle Fork 8 of 17; McCall-Weiser 13 of 15; Southern
Mountains 5 of 10; Upper Snake 4 of 5).
• Harvest is <25% of the harvest limit in 4 wolf zones (Panhandle, Lolo, Selway, and
• We have had very good compliance with 24-hour mandatory phone report and 5-day
• We have noted uncertainty among some successful hunters on how to skin and care for
wolf hides. We are working on development of online video training for the website.
Other Mortality
• Removal of wolves by Wildlife Services for depredation on livestock appears to be on
track with last year when 94 wolves were killed. Seventy-eight have been lethally
controlled so far in 2009, but only one in October.
• Total documented mortality from all causes (harvest, lethal removal of depredating
wolves, illegal take, natural and unknown causes) has been lowest in the Salmon, Selway,
Lolo, Panhandle, and Palouse wolf management zones (<10%). These zones have all had
very-low to no lethal wolf removal for depredation control and low hunter harvest.
• Based on combined mortality factors, including harvest, wolf populations may be reduced
or stabilized in the McCall-Weiser, Sawtooth, South Mountains, and Upper Snake wolf
management zones by the end of the season.






  1. jdubya Avatar

    “”• We have noted uncertainty among some successful hunters on how to skin and care for
    wolf hides. We are working on development of online video training for the website.”

    Thank God!! We don’t want these animals wasted!

  2. April clauson Avatar
    April clauson

    Can a video be made of how to skin and care for a hunter?, I would buy that one for sure! LOL!!! don’t take it seriously hunters, just making a point….if you don’t know what to do with what you kill, don’t kill it!

  3. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    A wolf was killed here in Yellowstone National Park on Monday. It was a male member of the Blacktail Plateau Pack. It was struck by a pickup. The reason the wolf was run over was the congestion caused by the number of vehicles parked on the pavement watching the wolves , making it very difficult to see what was going on. I was just moments ahead of the pickup and would have run over a wolf if it had run in front of me, because of all of the confusion(School bus etc.). Using radios to call wolf watchers and other tour groups to see these collar-located wolves caused the death of this wolf. There was not room to park all of the vehicles that were called in.
    Very poor judgement was made in allowing so many vehicles to park on the pavement and and along the road. Chalk this wolf death up to whoever was in charge of the parking. I think he was in the yellow car parked on the pavement.

  4. Sal_N Avatar


    Larry’s comments:”I think he was in the yellow car parked on the pavement.”

    We may know who that might be. There were no other colors available for the program then, very sorry about that.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Yes. of course, we do. I don’t know anything about this.

    I do think Larry wants to take a shot at Rick. Not having any info, I’ll say nothing more.

  6. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Larry, maybe we can stop collaring wolves and we can ban all cars from the park except yours. Then you would have a monopoly on wildlife photo sales (if you could ever find a wolf without Rick pointing the way that is). Your jabs at the wolf project and Rick really make me sick as you wouldnt have many of your good wolf pics without their help.

    Bear jams, wolf jams etc will always happen in the park. Accidents will also always happen no matter how many rangers etc. are on site.

  7. April clauson Avatar
    April clauson

    The story I read, a blog an YS employee puts out, stated that the truck was speeding and went around traffic with no regard to what was there, including a bus load of children that were watching the wolves….at any rate, it is sad when any wolf gets killed due to humans, weather we meant to or not. and the truck that hit the wolf supposedly just kept on going, is that true do you know Larry? I was hoping that someone got the license plate and turned them in.

  8. April clauson Avatar
    April clauson

    These folks just can not wait to kill the wolves, season is not even over yet and planning the next, I hope the Feds or someone that is suing for the wolves will stop next years hunt.

  9. Vicki Avatar

    Ralph, I live in CO, and am curious–at these F&G wolf meetings in ID, percentage-wise. how many pro-wolf folks usually show up? Everything I read about your meetings out there re: wolves makes it sound like the anti-wolfers far outweigh the pro-wolfers and I can imagine the meetings get pretty tense and heated.

    It is disheartening to hear that the 2010 wolf hunt season is already being planned. guess your F&G biologists don’t feel the need for “science-based” wolf management or else they would wait for the final wolf-kill tally for the 2009 season, and from there, logic dictates that they would tally the wolf population again in spring before planning the next hunt. Scary.

    From what I read, it sounds like you are spot on–your F&G officials really want to squash your wolf population.

  10. Nathan Hobbs Avatar
    Nathan Hobbs

    Ralph, maybe i missed it in the document but did not read the meetings time or location in that document

    The meeting I am assuming is at the
    Idaho Fish and Game Commission
    Quarterly Meeting – November 18-19, 2009
    Coeur d’Alene Resort, 115 South Second St., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

    And will be held within the conference center of the resort.

    In all respect to those in Northern Idaho,
    This is yet another meeting far from the bulk of the population that wants to comment or offer input on the issue.

  11. nabeki Avatar

    I hope Judge Molloy rules on this case soon and puts an end to the madness.

    And then of course to add to the circus Wyoming is suing the feds to delist the wolves there and let them “manage” them, which we all know involves classifying wolves as predators in most of the state so they can be shot on sight.

    It makes me ashamed to belong to the human race sometimes.

  12. Sal_N Avatar

    wondering if I am seeing things, but last night the IDF&G wolf site showed 98 killed and this morning I am showing 92.
    Did anyone else see this or I am working too many long hours and getting too much smog in my lungs?

  13. ID_Paul Avatar

    Sal_N – I didn’t look earlier today, but it says 98 right now.

  14. Mike Avatar

    Larrry – That is some awful news. I’ve long thought about Yellowstone day use permits and vehicle size limitations to reduce traffic and increase visibility. When you have fifty SUV’s and full size pickups parked along the road, it’s impossible to see if any wildlife is crossing. Lower profile vehicles and less vehicles would solve the problem.

    Of course, this isn’t just a Yellowstone problem, but an issue in some other national parks as well.

    I’ve largely stopped taking wildlife photos in Yellowstone for this reason. Too crowded, too hectic and you always get the feeling something is going to be killed on the road due to the confusion, and your sad story brings that point home.

  15. Wendy Avatar

    Larry, just to make sure I understand your post, if Small Blaze had darted out in front of YOUR car and had been killed by YOU, you’re saying that would have been Rick’s fault?


    Sarcasm aside, it is very sad that Yellowstone has lost another wolf. I am sorry for the driver (who was not speeding, who tried to avoid the collision, who stopped afterwards and was entirely remorseful) and I’m sorry for all the people who were nearby when it happened.

    Ralph, thanks for posting the Idaho info, disturbing as it is to learn the state is not waiting for complete information from this year before forging ahead.

    Looks like more letter-writing is in order.

  16. Mike Avatar

    Geeze what an awful story. Something really needs to be done about the gawker congestion there. Was it full size SUV and full size pickups, one after the other on both sides of the road?

  17. Sal_N Avatar


    having known Rick for close 10 years I would say it was not his fault.

    We did have an incident around christmas 04 when #355F crossed the road at little america infront of me. I was the only car on the road (we were headed to see Rick in Lamar valley). She had been hidding in the ditch on the left side of the road and darted 30-40 feet infront of me. Road conditions were amazing so I was able to swirve and avoid hitting her and we did not slide at all. I could not tell you what triggered the crossing but once every one in the car was okay we were able to stop and take amazing pictures of her eating 50-60 yards south of the road. I have some great pictures of her. after a while we decided to call Rick on the radio and the whole world was there within 15 min to watch her and of-course for her to watch us.

    No one can tell me what prompted this wolf to cross infront of me when I was the only car in little america that morning.

    Very sorry for Small blaze.

  18. Wendy Avatar

    Sal, I guess I have to brush up my sarcasm. I am 100%certain the accident was NOT Rick’s fault.

    Thanks for your bittersweet story about 355. Glad you were able to avoid the collision and watch her so close. I have never had such a close call with a wolf, but I’ve had them with bison and elk. Slowing down is the best solution.

    I, too, am sorry for Small Blaze. He ought to have lived much longer.

    Note to Mike: I suggest that you not take Larry’s description of events as gospel.

  19. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    Only subaru’s should be allowed in YNP… JMO

  20. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I received the following as an email from the Center of Biological Diversity. Thought it was good news but didn’t know where to post it.

    Bowing to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today agreed to cease implementation of its “three strikes, you’re out” policy requiring that Mexican gray wolves be shot or trapped if they kill three cows on federal land within one year.

    This ill-conceived policy has cost many endangered Mexican gray wolves their lives, severely undermining the federal recovery program. While wolf populations have steadily grown in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes, where the “three strikes” rule does not apply, the southwestern wolf population has remained small and stagnant, leaving Mexican gray wolves one of the most endangered mammals in North America.

    The Fish and Wildlife Service also agreed to stop deferring its crucial wildlife authority to state and federal agencies such as Arizona Game and Fish and the USDA Wildlife Service (the agency in charge of killing and shooting wolves), which have consistently acted to prevent wolf recovery.

    Thanks to all of you who wrote letters, sent faxes, and made phone calls to push the Obama administration to settle this suit and put the Mexican gray wolf recovery program back on track.

    With this issue off the table, the feds can now concentrate on the Center’s three petitions to create a new recovery plan, formally list the southwestern wolf as a distinct endangered species, and reform the recovery program from top to bottom.

    ¡Viva el lobo!

    Federal Agency Settles Wolf Lawsuit
    November 13, 2009

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and environmentalists have reached an agreement Friday that scraps a controversial rule the agency had used to kill or permanently remove any wolf that killed three heads of livestock in a year.

    Fish and Wildlife spokesman Tom Buckley says the rule “will no longer stand.”

    He says the agency has ways to deal with livestock kills “and remains committed to assisting the local livestock operators in any negative impacts they may have related to wolves.”

    Environmentalists complained the three-strikes rule favored the ranching industry and was a major roadblock to the effort to recover the species in the wild. Ranchers responded the policy targets wolves that grow accustomed to preying on cattle.

    Several environmental groups sued in May 2008, asking the U.S. District Court in Arizona to stop the removal policy.

  21. Cutthroat Avatar

    Excellent news. What a resilient animal, especially those three legged buggers down there…alphas nonetheless (they call them yard wolves…three feet).

    Thanks for the info Barb.

  22. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Credit should be given to Bud Fazio, who is the new director of the USFWS who is overseeing the Mexican wolf recovery plan. He ran the red wolf recovery project in Nc for I think seven or eight years. I,ve had several email and phone conversations with him- he listens to everyone and told me the current plan was a disaster for wolves, and that a new plan needed to be implemented that focused on the wolf not the livestock industry!!!

  23. sarah mash Avatar

    gline and Lynn.
    there is this fella here in England who has been on tv-living with wolves on his own land to learn more about them.It may sound crazy,but he has come up with a way to keep them contained to certain areas-and away from sheep/cattle ranches by placeing special recordings of pack howling arround the farmers land and blasting it out at certain times. It has been very sucessful in Poland where he was hired to help. Maybe you could do something like this to keep them in yellowstone park and out of trouble or harm. He is quite well known over here for being on tv.

  24. Wendy Avatar


    I know you mean well, but to me, when we start looking to attention-seekers like this TV “I live with wolves” guy (no matter how well-meaning) for solutions to the management of wildlife, we have, in my opinion, left the path of reason. Some US channel ran a program on this guy a year or so ago and he looks like a nut case to me. It depresses me that TV producers will opt for such stuff over actual scientific
    investigation. There is plenty of solid, peer-reviewed science to rely on regarding wolves, if only it were properly implemented by the RM states.

    For starters, how would “broadcasting wolf howls” method work in the long term? What if the howls DREW a pack rather than repelled it? (I have seen both things happen in YNP). There may be evidence that it worked in Poland once in one place, or for a finite time period, but what happened the next week, in the next county? the next month? The next year? The TV program I saw portrayed this as a viable solution and they went so far as to cleverly edit a sequence
    with Doug Smith in YNP that implied that Doug agreed with the guy, but it’s all smoke and mirrors to me.

  25. Snobr9 Avatar

    Wasted? Every wolf shot is a waste in my eyes.

  26. Jules Avatar

    Interesting reading through the replies here. And to the person who wrote re the skinning of wolves………I agree with April. I would buy the video on “How to skin a Hunter”! Shame that such an informative site attracts such ignorant people. There are many Adult Education Classes available for those out there that suffer from lack of education and there are also some fantastic ‘glasses’ available for those who choose to only see through one eye!


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.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan