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View Full Version : Idaho gets it! Wolf management.....



Joe Hulburt
02-23-2012, 02:26 PM
LEWISTON, Idaho Federal wildlife agents report they have shot and killed 14 wolves from helicopters in northern Idaho as part of an effort to help restores the elk population in the Lolo zone, an area long considered home to the best elk herds and habitat in the state.

The three-day operation was carried out earlier this month at a cost of $22,500 by agents with the USDA Wildlife Services and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Wildlife managers believe that a sustained reduction in wolf numbers will allow the Lolo elk herd, which has been severely depressed since the mid-1990s, to rebound.

State wildlife officials have long had a goal of reducing wolf numbers in the area along the upper Lochsa and North Fork of the Clearwater rivers, once renowned for its elk hunting.

"We'd like to see one of Idaho's premier elk populations recover as much as possible," said Jim Unsworth, deputy director of Fish and Game.

The wolf population in the area has also been diminished by hunters and trappers in recent months. Through Wednesday, the state reported sportsmen had taken 22 wolves from the Lolo, while another six wolves were shot from helicopters last spring, bringing the total of known wolf kills to 42.

Before the start of the hunting season, the Lolo zone wolf population was estimated at 75 to 100, with additional animals crossing back and forth between Idaho and Montana.

Biologists said the biggest problem for Lolo elk herds was a long-term change in the habitat. But state officials also blame growing numbers of bears and mountain lions.

Hunting seasons on those predators were liberalized and managers expected elk numbers to slowly climb. But as the herds continued to shrink and blame was placed on the increasing number of wolves moving into the area.

Recent studies by Fish and Game researchers now show wolves are the primary cause of death in female elk in the Lolo and of calves more than 6 months old.

Researchers have said the habitat is capable of supporting far more than the 2,000 elk estimated to be in the area.

Statewide, Fish and Game officials report that hunters and trappers had killed 318 wolves since the public hunting season opened last fall. Most hunting and trapping seasons end March 31, but wolf hunting will be allowed in the Lolo and Selway zones through June.

The department has a goal of reducing the number of wolves in the state, but has not set a target population or limit.

packer58
02-23-2012, 02:44 PM
Way to go Idaho.... IMO, hunters alone can't control the wolf population. $7,500.00 a day for pilot & crew seems a little pricey to me but i have no idea what the operating costs of a helicopter are.

cali_hornhunter
02-23-2012, 03:18 PM
This is where i would press the like button hahaha this is great news hopefully other states will catch on!

Kevin Root
02-23-2012, 04:06 PM
Way to go Idaho! :) Idaho gets it. I wish all the states in the USA would catch on and delist predators that are not endangered so they can be managed.

ElkTrout
02-23-2012, 06:06 PM
Thumbs up to Idaho! Now if only Wyoming and Montana could follow!

Musket Man
02-23-2012, 11:00 PM
Here is a link to letter from Idaho legislature to the president, house, senate and congress in 2001 demanding control of wolves. As you can see here Idaho has been quite mad about this situation for quite some time http://legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2001/HJM005.html The whole timeline for Idaho is at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/wolves/?getPage=161

ChadH
02-23-2012, 11:16 PM
Man I love that State! It is encouraging to see a group of people that get it for once.

Chad

dustyboots
02-23-2012, 11:50 PM
right on Idaho keep it up!!

Old Hunter
02-24-2012, 10:12 AM
Why not save the $22k and give free tags with no limits to hunters?

packer58
02-24-2012, 11:44 AM
Why not save the $22k and give free tags with no limits to hunters?

Pete, to answer your question simply, the sale of tags generate dollars for the state. Even if the states that are infected with wolves were to provide unlimited tags at no cost to resident / nonresident hunters the harvest rate would still fall short. Don't get me wrong, it would definetly help the situation. In order to reduce the wolf population to a level that allows our big game animals to rebound will require the following "IMO"

1) Aireal gunning
2) Extensive trapping
3) Poisoning
4) 365 day seasons and possibly a bounty

ChadH
02-24-2012, 11:55 AM
Pete, to answer your question simply, the sale of tags generate dollars for the state. Even if the states that are infected with wolves were to provide unlimited tags at no cost to resident / nonresident hunters the harvest rate would still fall short. Don't get me wrong, it would definetly help the situation. In order to reduce the wolf population to a level that allows our big game animals to rebound will require the following "IMO"

1) Aireal gunning
2) Extensive trapping
3) Poisoning
4) 365 day seasons and possibly a bounty

Packer58 is correct in saying that licensed hunting will not effectivley reach the harvest objectives. Some of the other measures will need to be employeed. On that front, the hunting community has to think long and hard about exactly what the rest of the population will stand for, without tainting our image beyond repair, and turning them against the sporting heritage movment. This could easily be a trap for us as the wackos could use the delisting and legal harvest of wolves to turn the "unwashed masses" against hunting. These people, when shown the facts, for the most part believe and understand, that hunters are the first and best conservationists. I can see PETA's ad campaign now though, scrolling pictures of posioned wolves and gunships flying the skies persecuting the poor defensless wolf...cry cry tear tear. We have an opportunity here, I hope we don't blow it by going overboard to quickly.

Chad

Elkoholic307
02-24-2012, 07:58 PM
Why not save the $22k and give free tags with no limits to hunters?

I would much rather trust that aerial gunner with the job than a bunch of hunters.

Those things need thinned out ASAP!