The 2009 Idaho Wildlife Services Report

From Mark Collinge

“The attached report summarizes information regarding wolf management activities conducted by the Idaho Wildlife Services (WS) program in Federal fiscal year 2009, covering the period from October1, 2008 – September 30, 2009. If you have questions regarding any of the information in this report, please contact the Idaho WS State Office.”

ID WS FY 2009 Wolf Report.pdf

Mark Collinge
State Director
APHIS Wildlife Services
9134 W. Blackeagle Drive
Boise, ID 83709
Phone (208) 378-5077
Fax (208) 378-5349



  1. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    This year they want to collar wolves in wilderness areas…perhaps next year they will be we sterilizing them!?

    As we argue the importance of genetic diversity this should be a major point.

    Quoted from the Report: (edited for length)
    “One approach that has been recommended by a number of recognized wolf experts as a potential means of reducing wolf-livestock conflicts is to consider sterilization of wolves in certain circumstances…” “If IDFG authorizes removal of all the members of a chronic depredating pack, WS proposes that in those cases where it is logistically feasible, alternative consideration be given to removing all the members except the 2 alphas, while the alphas would be concurrently live-captured, surgically sterilized, radio-collared and released. Subsequent monitoring would provide information regarding whether or not this approach might be effective in reducing wolf/livestock conflicts in the treatment area.” (end quotations)

    Sterilizing the Alphas and allowing the lesser wolves a increased chance to breed will have a dramatic effect on genetic health and diversity, in the wrong direction.

  2. Phil Maker Avatar
    Phil Maker

    As a scientific experiment this might actually be worth a try. I doubt there are very many circumstances in ID where the alpha (breeding) pair is known with any degree of certainty. Another problem with this is that after a pack failed to reproduce for a couple of years, pack size would likely decline and the sterilized pack might be subject to overthrow/displacement by the neighboring pack (which then may or may not depredate). If WS is willing to go to this amount of expense (or maybe they’d expect the State to pay for it), you’d think they could utilize the other non-lethal methods (fladry, etc.) more often than they do (which is never).

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Phil Maker is correct, but the whole Wildlife Services, Idaho Fish and Game method of dealing with livestock depredations is not cost-effective. The the cost of taking to the air and shooting wolves usually outweighs the cost of the losses.

    It is often less expensive to have the livestock owner take simple measures to protect their livestock, but, of course, folks should realize that livestock losses are being using to justify wolf killing, not to actualy protect livestock. Bad livestock practices serve as wolf bait.

    WS/Idaho Fish and Game have a real agenda different from their stated missions when it comes to wolf depredations.

  4. Layton Avatar

    Hey Ralph,

    How about a “discuss what you want” thread — seems like there are a couple of pretty good topics going on that would get it going — and get one of them off the “have you run across any interesting articles?” thread.

  5. Phil Maker Avatar
    Phil Maker

    Did you notice that in this year’s report WS has added the proviso about the intent of the 10(j) rule, as opposed to what it actually says, regarding “will” vs. “may” removal of chronically depredating wolves. Seems they realized their mistake in quoting this passage last year, where they failed to consider the fact that in order to remove wolves those wolves must have been previously relocated.
    The Collinge (2008) assertion that an individual wolf is 170x more likely to depredate is worthless; dividing a given # of lost livestock by a small number of wolves compared to an unknown, but larger, number of bears/coyotes/cougars of course will result in a higher prevalence. Do you think the livestock producer who lost his animals to bears/coyotes/cougars cares that that species was 170x less likely to have attacked his stock? It’s the absolute number of losses that is the telling stat- and this data shows that wolves have the least impact of all species.
    I don’t believe that WS should be offering up recommendations related to wolf management in ID in this report. They should state what they did and leave it at that. They are supposed to be serving at the behest of the State. In the final para. on pg. 12 it is stated that if the wolf pop. were reduced to ~500, WS would expend ~1/2 of what they did in FY09. Why should the size of the ID wolf pop. be predicated on WS’ budget?


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ken Cole