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July 14, 2011

IDFG proposes wolf hunting, trapping seasons

By Niels Nokkentved, IDFG

   Idaho Fish and Game managers have released proposed wolf seasons that would use hunting and trapping to reduce the population to a level that is sustainable, meets federal recovery goals and reduces conflict levels statewide.

   The proposal is available on the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

   Fish and Game will survey randomly selected hunters and members of the public about the proposed wolf season, starting Tuesday, July 12. The survey questions will also be posted on the website along with an opportunity to comment. The deadline is July 25. The results will be presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission at the July 27-28 meeting in Salmon.

   Fish and Game proposes a carefully regulated general hunting season with mandatory reporting requirements. The proposal would aim most harvest opportunities where wolf conflicts are the greatest. It includes a trapping season because hunters in the 2009-2010 season were not effective in reducing wolf populations in some areas. All wolf trapping would be conducted by licensed, trained trappers.

   Most big game species in Idaho are managed under general hunts. Fish and Game will manage wolves like other big game species, such as bears and lions, with harvest limits in certain areas. Hunters of black bears, mountain lions and wolves are all required to report harvest. Wolf hunters would all be required to report harvest within 72 hours and bring the hide and skull to a Fish and Game office where biologists collect information on age, sex and harvest location.

   Harvest limits are proposed in some areas where Fish and Game expects hunter success and agency control actions to be higher and to ensure Idaho wolf populations remain connected to wolves in other states. Fish and Game will monitor harvest and post results on the website. Seasons and areas can be closed if mortality is determined to be excessive.

   The proposed wolf season is consistent with the goals of the 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which was approved by the Idaho Legislature and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. To continue to meet federal recovery criteria, Idaho will manage for at least 15 breeding pairs and at least 150 wolves in mid-winter to ensure the population never falls below the minimum recovery level of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves.

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