BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved extensions of hunting and trapping seasons for wolves in Idaho. Under the new regulations many hunting units will be open year round, and new trapping seasons were added.
In addition, snares will now be an option for trappers in unit forty-five northeast of Mountain Home.
Fish and Game recently asked for public comment.
More than 85 percent of respondents from around the U.S. and twenty other countries opposed the plan, mostly because it allows hunting and trapping while wolves are birthing and while cubs are in dens. Opponent generally said there should be no hunting or trapping of wolves in Idaho.
Local sentiment was much more split. 55 percent of respondents from Idaho were in favor of the proposals. Those respondents generally said more should be done to reduce the number of wolves in Idaho
Specifically, the season modifications include:
•Extended the wolf hunting seasons on public land to Aug. 1 – June 30 in Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8A, 9, 10A, 11, 11A, 13, and 14.
•Extended wolf hunting season to July 1 – June 30 on both public and private land in units 38, 40, 41, 42, 46, 47, 53, 54, 55, 56, and 57.
•Extended the wolf hunting season to Aug. 1 – June 30 in Units 19A, 20A, 21, 25, 26, 27, 34, 35, 45, 48, 49, 52, and 52A on both public and private land.
•Extended wolf hunting season to year-round on private land and Aug. 1 – June 30 on public land in Units 66A, 68, 68A, 70, 71, 72, 73, 73A, 74, 75, 76, 77, and 78.
•Extended the wolf hunting season to year-round on private land and Aug. 1 – June 30 on public land in Units 51, 58, 59, 59A, 60, 60A, 61, 62A, 63, 63A, 64, 65, 66, 67, and 69.
•Extended the wolf hunting season on public land to Aug. 1 – June 30 in Units 21A, 30, 30A, 36, and 37A. Wolf hunting seasons will remain year-round on private lands in these units.
•Extended the wolf hunting season to year-round on both private and public land in units with chronic wolf depredations on livestock: Units 15, 18, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 31, 32, 32A, 33, 36A, 36B, 37, 39, 43, 44, 50, and 62.
•Opened a new wolf trapping season on public land Oct 10 – March 31 in units 52, 52A, 53, 63, 63A, 66A, 68, 68A, 70, 71, 72, 73, 73A, 74, 75, 76, 77 and 78, but limit wolf trapping to foothold traps only on public land from Oct 10 – Nov 14.
•Modified the wolf trapping season from November 15 – March 31 in Unit 45 to allow the use of snares on public land.
“Fish and Game biologists recently released a new statewide wolf population estimate based on remote camera surveys and other monitoring efforts. The estimate indicates Idaho’s wolf population remains robust through fluctuations of births and mortality over the year with an estimated peak of 1,541 wolves during summer 2019 after the annual birth cycle and about 1,000 wolves at the end of the year,” said Fish and Game spokesman Brian Pearson.
The Commission has increased wolf hunting and trapping seasons for more than a decade in response to livestock depredations and impacts to other big game species. But the 2019 estimate showed the wolf population remains well above the federal recovery criteria of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs statewide.
“Wolf predation on livestock and other domestic animals remains chronic in certain areas, and would increase if the wolf population expands into southern Idaho. Wolf predation also continues to have a negative effect on elk populations in some back country areas,” Pearson explained.
During the 14-day public comment period, Fish and Game received comments from 27,076 people about the hunting and trapping proposals, of which 5,675 were from Idaho residents. The percentage of support/opposition was fairly consistent throughout the nine individual proposals.