Idaho Wildlife Managers Liberalize Wolf Hunting, Despite Majority of Idaho Residents Saying Not Supporting Changes | Regional news
June 18 – During a conference call Thursday, Idaho’s fishing and hunting commissioners changed the wolf trapping and hunting seasons in response to a new law. Meanwhile, the majority of Idahoans who commented on the proposal did not support the changes.
Some commissioners described the changes as a needle-threading exercise as the commission tried to comply with new wolf hunting legislation.
Commissioner Brad Corkill, who was the president when the Idaho legislature voted on the law, said he was notified less than 24 hours before the vote.
“I find this a little disrespectful and insulting on the part of the Legislative Assembly,” he said on Thursday’s appeal. “They threw this in our knees… giving us very few options on how to handle this situation. Disrespectful is the kindest word I can find on this.”
In a public comment period that ended on Sunday, 12,388 people submitted comments, 42% of whom were Idaho residents. Among Idaho residents, 58.5% did not support the proposed changes, according to IDFG staff. The IDFG also received 7,682 email comments on the proposed changes. Of these e-mail comments, 98% were from non-residents.
“I think it could have been managed a lot better,” Commissioner Don Ebert said on the teleconference. “I would like the legislature to partner with us.”
The changed seasons will take effect on July 1, as will Senate Bill 1211, according to a press release from the agency.
The changes will not be reflected in the current printed 2021 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure, but an updated brochure with the changes will be available on the Fish and Game website by July 1.
Senate Bill 1211 established a year-round wolf trapping season on private property, allowed unlimited purchase of wolf tags, and allowed any method used to catch any wild dog in Idaho (foxes, coyotes) to also be available to take wolves.
In a press release, Director of Fisheries and Game Ed Schriever said the Commission’s action provides a “meaningful balance” which aims to provide hunters and trappers with additional tools to resolve conflicts between wolves, cattle and other big game.
On public lands, in 43 hunting units where elk are below population targets, or where there is a history of chronic livestock depredation, the Commission established seasons with expanded hunting methods from November 15 to March, 31st. All other wolf hunting and trapping seasons on public land land remain unchanged.
On private land, foot trapping and extended hunting methods are permitted year round with permission from the landowner. The wolf snaring seasons already in place on private lands remain unchanged.
“It has been widely, but incorrectly, reported that the new law will reduce Idaho’s wolf population by 90%, however, the Commission’s action will reduce wolf conflict while maintaining a viable wolf population that does not exist. This is not subject to re-listing under federal Endangered Species Act, “Schriever said in the press release.
Extensive hunting methods
The methods described in SB 1211 include those currently legal for the capture of other wild canids, but closed for the capture of other big game species, including:
* Weapon restrictions (for big game hunting) do not apply to wolf hunting.
* Exemption from filming hours and allowance for projector or night vision equipment. Written permission from the landowner is required on private lands, and a license from the Director of Fisheries and Game is required on public lands, which meets the requirements for lighting coyotes at night.
* Wolf hunting with bait is permitted on private land with the permission of the owner.
* Restrictions on motorized vehicles for hunting big game do not apply to wolf hunting.
* Dogs can be used to chase wolves, and no hunter’s license is required.
* Changes to wolf hunting
Wolf hunting seasons on public lands remain unchanged except that expanded hunting methods apply from November 15 to March 31 in areas with a history of chronic livestock depredation or when elk herds are below targets. management, including units 4, 4A, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10A, 12, 14, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 18, 19, 20, 20A, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27 , 28, 29, 31, 32, 32A, 33, 34, 35, 36, 36A, 36B, 37, 39, 43, 44, 49, 50,62, 64, 65, 67.
On private land, extensive hunting methods are permitted year round with the permission of the owner.
“Wolves are part of the landscape”
Many environmental groups and environmentalists have decried the law. More than 50 groups sent a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday urging them to restore Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the northern Rockies. On May 26, an urgent petition was filed.
The Fish and Wildlife Service must respond to the relist request by August 24.
However, IDFG managers do not believe that liberalizing the trapping and hunting seasons will have much impact on the overall wolf population.
“Ultimately wolves are part of the landscape and I don’t think you’re going to see that change,” said Chip Corsi, regional director of Idaho Fish and Games in Coeur d’Alene. “We handled them pretty aggressively, basically from the start. I think the guys who are die-hard wolf trappers will tell you that it’s not easy to trap wolves.”