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Early data indicates Idaho wolf population is holding steady

Early data indicates Idaho wolf population is holding steady.jpeg
Posted at 2:35 PM, Oct 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-07 16:35:07-04

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s wolf population appears to be holding steady despite recent changes by lawmakers that allow expanded methods and seasons for killing wolves, the state’s top wildlife official said Thursday.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever told lawmakers on the Natural Resources Interim Committee that preliminary data on human-caused and natural wolf mortality looks similar to three previous years.

He also said the agency is using changes in wolf hunting laws that could lead to killing more wolves in areas with livestock conflicts or where elk herds are below population goals, potentially through a wolf-killing reimbursement program for skilled trappers and hunters.

“I think the best way to describe Idaho’s population right now is that it’s fairly stable, and it’s fluctuating around 1,250,” he told lawmakers. “Part of the year it’s below that; part of the year it’s above that. But the population is fluctuating around 1,250.”

Schriever, in a graph presented to lawmakers, showed the state’s wolf population from 2019 to 2021 fluctuating with a high of more than 1,600 in May when wolf pups are born down to a low of about 800 in April as wolves die through natural mortality, hunting or trapping.