May 5, 2011

Idahoís wolves to be delisted this week; the salmon are coming

By Charlie Pottenger

   New Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director, Virgil Moore, was introduced to about eighty attendees at the monthly coffee meeting held at the Lewiston Fish and Game Office beginning at 6:30 a.m. on May 3.

   Moore announced that in accord with language inserted by Idahoís Representative Mike Simpson in the United States governmentís Continuing Bud-get Resolution the wolf will be delisted in Idaho and Montana either on Thursday or Friday of this week.

   This means that IDFG will immediately resume their management of the wolf as a game species in Idaho and will attempt to reduce wolf populations using hunting as was done in 2009. In some cases, such as the current conditions in the Lolo Zone, professional aerial hunters or trappers may be used to more rapidly control excess wolf numbers threatening deer and elk populations.

   Moore also reviewed the financial conditions within the department and stated they are being forced to diminish spending to stay within their available revenues. He stated that the mix of revenues is received from license and tag sales plus funds from the federal excise tax on sporting equipment sold in the state. About 70% of the IDFG funds are derived from tags and licenses. The most serious decline in revenue stems from the wolf and recession related decline in nonresident license sales which account for 55% of total license sales. Revenues for the Department are down about $3.5 -4.0 million.

   Officer Don Whitney reported that the Spring Chinook Salmon run finally has started to cross Bonneville dam. Although the count over Lower Granite Dam so far totals only 81 adult fish, the May 1st count at Bonneville was 15,766! He said predictions now are for about 3900 catchable Chinook in the Clearwater. He believes they will start crossing Lower Granite in significant numbers by May 14.

   Officer Sean Wilson reported that the loss of Kokanee from Dworshak Lake due to the rapid spilling of water this winter has reduced the population significantly. He also was asked about the nutrition program which is currently on hold. He said it was unlikely that the program would be reinstated this summer no matter what the final determination on this issue.

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