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Discussion Starter #21
Idaho has an open season of wolves for hunting. This meathod has not controlled the wolves enough. Since September of last year, they have taken 161 wolves. This is less a percentage of the population than the birth rate. The size of the wolf packs have remained about the same. One of the main problems is that the good wolf hunters have to quit hunting when they take a wolf, as the limit is one per year. This works in the wolf's favor.

The following is a recent news release by the Idaho Fish & Game concerning wolves:
Idaho Fish and Game completes Lolo zone elk survey.

Recently completed aerial surveys show a marked decline in elk numbers in game management units 10 and 12, which comprise the Lolo Elk Management Zone.

Survey results indicate the elk population in the Lolo Zone has declined from 5,110 to 2,178, a 57-percent reduction since 2006. The greatest declines were observed in numbers of elk cows, calves and spike bulls. Overall, bull numbers were down zone-wide, with a shift in bulls to older animals.

"This survey, combined with ongoing research showing wolves are the primary cause of elk mortality today, is further scientific evidence of the impact wolves are having," Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said. "The rate of this decline in just four short years should help people understand there is an urgency to manage for a balance in this area."

Appropriate management options in response to this latest survey data are being explored.

Wolf predation is the major source of mortality on this elk herd and is affecting population size because too few calves are surviving to replace the adults that die each year. Predation is preventing recovery from a decline that began in the late 1980s and a steep decline following the severe winter of 1996-97.

This survey information corroborates ongoing research being conducted in the Lolo Zone that shows survival of radio-collared adult elk and six-month-old calves has been poor. Modeling efforts based on research survival data estimate declines of 11 to 15 percent annually.

I still think they should transpant the wolves back east to help control the coyotes.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Count all of the elk.
Count all of the elk.

See how they run.
See how they run.

See how they die.
See how they die.

In some of the areas of Idaho the wolves have killed over one half the elk population. When the wolves have killed all of the elk they will go after smaller game that is between one hundred and three hundred pounds.

Count all of the people.
Count all of the people.

See how they run.
See how they run.

See how they die.


HELENA, Mont. — A federal judge on Thursday reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho, saying the government made a political decision in removing the protections from just two of the three states where Rocky Mountain wolves roam.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said in his ruling that the entire Rocky Mountain wolf population either must be listed as an endangered species or removed from the list, but the protections for the same population can't be different for each state.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned over wolf management to Montana and Idaho wildlife officials but left federal endangered species protections in place for wolves in Wyoming, where state law is considered hostile to the animals' survival.

"Even if the Service's solution is pragmatic, or even practical, it is at its heart a political solution that does not comply with the ESA," Molloy wrote in his ruling.

Defenders of Wildlife, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and other wildlife advocates sued the federal government after the Fish and Wildlife Service decision in April 2009. They argued that the government's decision would have set a precedent allowing the government to arbitrarily choose which animals should be protected and where.

The decision puts a halt to wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho planned for this fall. Montana wildlife regulators last month set the wolf-hunt quota at 186, more than doubling last year's number, with the aim of reducing the state's wolf population.

Gray wolves were listed as endangered in 1974, but following a reintroduction program in the mid-1990s, there are now more than 1,700 in the Northern Rockies.

Doug Honnold, an attorney for EarthJustice representing the plaintiffs, said he was gratified by the ruling, though he is sure there will be another chapter to the story.

"For today, we are celebrating that the approach we thought was flatly illegal has been rejected. The troubling consequences for the Endangered Species Act has been averted and the wolf hunts are blocked," Honnold said.

Count all of the elk.
Count all of the elk.

See how they run.
See how they run.

See how they die.
See how they die.

In some of the areas of Idaho the wolves have killed over one half the elk population. When the wolves have killed all of the elk they will go after smaller game that is between one hundred and three hundred pounds.

Count all of the people.
Count all of the people.

See how they run.
See how they run.

See how they die.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Following is an open letter from the Idaho Fish and Game Commision. The letter does not detail the extent of frustration Idaho feels about this issue or the damage the wolves have done, but it is a good start.

F&G Commission: Open Letter To Hunters And Idahoans


Wildlife managers and biologists agree that the wolf population in Idaho recovered years ago, and that wolf numbers now need to be controlled to reduce conflicts with people and wildlife.

The recent court decision bypassed science and put Idaho wolves back under the protection of the Endangered Species Act based on a legal technicality. Now we must deal with a difficult situation.

The Endangered Species Act severely limits Idaho's abilities to manage wolves, and it is tempting to turn wolf management over to the federal government until wolves can be delisted again. But U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials have told us they wouldn't manage wolves to protect Idaho elk herds, and they don't share our motivation to protect the interests of our ranchers, pet owners, hunters and rural communities.

We looked carefully at our options and potential consequences. We decided that as long as we are making a difference, we must stay engaged in wolf management to protect Idaho's interests and rights. Only as a last resort will we leave the fate of Idaho residents and wildlife entirely in the hands of the federal government.

Part of the reason we feel that way is because of how we got to where we are.

With the court decision to relist wolves for the second time, the federal system has failed us. Defenders of Wildlife and other special interest groups are using a parade of lawsuits to tie the federal government in knots, and the result is against common sense, responsible wildlife management, and the stated intent of the Endangered Species Act. While we will work within the rule of law; we will use all of our influence and authority to make this right and put wolf management back in Idaho's hands where it belongs.

Idaho's lawyers will ask a court of appeals to overturn U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy's ruling, but we believe the best solution is to change the law directly. We will work with Idaho's congressional delegation, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and other states to resolve this problem through federal legislation. Solutions will probably not be easy or quick. We will need all of the support we can get to make this happen, and we will keep you posted as to how you can best help these efforts.

While we are pursuing change in the courts and in Congress, we will make the most of the authorities available to us. We support Gov. Otter's efforts to reach a new agreement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife to ensure as much flexibility as possible in managing wolves. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recommended that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service be in charge of Endangered Species Act enforcement while Idaho focuses on protecting its elk herds and reducing wolf conflicts. It should also be the federal government's role to fund wolf management, and we support restricting the use of hunters' license dollars for wolf management as long as wolves are federally protected.

We will continue to insist on population control, particularly in areas where wolf predation is hurting our wildlife. The processes for getting federal agency approvals involve considerable paperwork and time and impose requirements that are an additional source of frustration. For example, because of federal legal requirements, Idaho Fish and Game managers have to use wolf population estimates that are "minimum," so we know we are underestimating the number of wolves in Idaho.

Likewise, to control wolves to protect elk herds under the "10(j)" provision of the Endangered Species Act, Idaho must demonstrate wolf predation impacts based on data that takes time to collect. We must also have our proposals reviewed by at least five scientists outside our agencies. That means we end up a year or more behind the times, using data that often doesn't match up with what you see in the woods today. We have gotten to the point where we will soon submit a "10(j)" proposal to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for wolf control actions in the Lolo Zone, and other proposals are being developed. When delisting occurred previously, we were poised with a proposal then, too.

As you can tell, we are in a tough struggle to regain state management, with scientific and legal battles on many fronts. We are concerned that some matters are dividing our community when we need to be united. For example, there are some who want to argue about what happened in Idaho politics when wolves were introduced in 1994. While we commit to learning from history, we do not want to waste our energy trying to attack, defend, or change the past.

We are fighting a national battle of perception. It is easy to paint an ideal world of nature from a desk far away from rural Idaho. We need your help to explain why it is important to manage Idaho's wolf population, just like we manage other wildlife. Someone who wouldn't think twice about calling animal control to pick up stray dogs in the city may not think about how wolves are affecting the lives of Idahoans in similar ways - unless we tell them.

National activist groups try to portray the average Idahoan as a wolf exterminator, lazy hunter or crazy extremist. We need your help to prove them wrong, just as Idahoans did when we participated responsibly in the first wolf hunting season in the lower 48 states. We need your help to support change through social networks across the country.

If state authorities are further undermined by court decisions or inaction at the federal level, there may come a time where we decide the best thing to do is to surrender and leave wolf management up to the federal government until wolves are delisted. But for now we believe the best place to fix the system and protect Idaho's interests is by staying involved in management. We appreciate your support.

Idaho Fish and Game Commission

I really liked the part: "Someone who wouldn't think twice about calling animal control to pick up stray dogs in the city may not think about how wolves are affecting the lives of Idahoans in similar ways"
 

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I've got to say, seeing the wolf number rise like they have is quit disturbing. This last summer we went into Boulder Basin and the Old gold mine there. Two years ago there where dear, elk, and goats every where. This year we saw three dear and nothing else... but LOTS of wolf sign, including a couple of downed half ate dear and elk. I for one would love to see the wolf season open back up. I'd gone last year had I had the time! You can bet that if they open it again I will be 1st in line to buy my tag.
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
BILLINGS - More than 13,000 gray wolves in the Northern Rockies will be removed from the endangered species list by end of June, including in Montana. A provision to delist the animal was attached to the budget bill signed into law Friday.
Conservation groups have long battled to keep the gray wolf protected, but Friday, one of those groups said it wouldn’t fight this latest blow.
A spokesperson with Defenders of Wildlife said instead they plan to work alongside hunters, ranchers, and the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks commission to make sure gray wolf hunts are done with as little impact to the health of the animals as possible.
It's the first time Congress has taken a species off the endangered list. Idaho and Montana plan public wolf hunts for fall of 2011. Protections remain in place for wolves in Wyoming because of its shoot-on-sight law for the predators.

It took an act of congress, but they finally got it done.
This is too late for the area that I hunt but at least the next generation of hunters will have a chance to see and hunt the elk. Five to seven hundred wolves was their goal when this program started in the ninty's. I did not mind when there was five to seven hundred wolves. The wolves population exploded until they became a nuisance in peoples back yards. They do not have a wolf pound that you could call. Since the last relisting, they could get rid of the nuisance wolves. A large number of wolves were eliminated by that way. The wolf population still grew at 25% a year.

All of the elk stay by the ranchers houses now in order to survive the wolves. Hunting elk is more like harvesting elk than hunting. They still are free range elk, but they act like pen raised elk. That is wrong. Fair chase should be just that. The elk have very little fear of people due to their being eaten on a daily basis by the wolves. Even the wolves show no fear of human hunters. I think times will change in the next few years now that the wolves have been delisted. Elk hunting used to be a demanding and difficult hunt. That is the way it is supposed to be. Not a group of elk that has been herded up like a bunch of domestic sheep by the wolves.

I was a meat hunter long before I became a sport hunter. I still will take an elk for the meat, but it would taste much bettor if that was a much more difficult task. I could always get an elk if I wanted to, when I was hungry enough. But that was a lot of work just to get close to the animal and some years went by that I did not get an elk if I did not try hard enough. That is the way it is supposed to be. It used to be there was no such thing as a free lunch when it came to elk hunting. Hopefully with the wolves being delisted, it will let the elk return to their old habits.
 

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Bunch of morons = whoever protected wolves.

Like other large predators, there was a bounty on them for years. And about the time we were nearing success in getting rid of them, some idiot looked around and said, "Oh my goodness, we're running out of wolves (or panthers, etc)!" So they protected them by law.

Duh.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Following is the lastest update on the policy of wolf hunting in Idaho.
Wolf Season - Key Points - Q&A
Monday, August 22, 2011


Wolf Season - Key Points

  • Fish and Game’s goal is to manage wolves to reduce conflicts, ensure a self-sustaining wolf population and maintain state management authority.
  • Idaho has more than 1000 wolves. The federal rule that removed wolves from the Endangered Species Act list requires Idaho to maintain at least 15 breeding pairs or 150 wolves to avoid relisting.
  • Fish and Game’s 2011 wolf season proposal is intended to bring Idaho’s wolf population in balance with other big game species, reduce attacks on livestock and domestic animals and to keep wolves from encroaching on populated areas.
  • Specific proposals seek to focus wolf harvest where wolf conflicts with people, livestock, domestic animals, and other big game animals are greatest.
  • Fish and Game is proposing a carefully regulated general hunting season with mandatory reporting requirements. Most big game species in Idaho are managed under “general hunt rules and regulations.” Fish and Game will manage wolves like other big game species such as bears and lions with harvest limits in certain areas. Hunters of bears, lions and wolves are all required to report harvest. Wolf hunters will have 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 populations remain connected to wolves in other states.
  • Harvest will be monitored daily and will be posted on the Fish and Game website. Fish and Game will monitor mandatory reporting and check-in data, as well as other sources of wolf mortality, to ensure harvest does not cause the population to approach the 15 breeding pair/150 wolf delisting criteria. Seasons and areas can be closed if mortality is determined to be excessive.
  • Hunters should monitor the Fish and Game website for closed areas prior to going hunting. Fish and Game will have a toll free number for harvest reporting and season updates.
  • Experience in Idaho, Canada and Alaska indicates that overharvest of wolves will not be a concern. In 2009, less than one percent of over 30,000 wolf tag buyers harvested a wolf. Wolf harvest by hunters in 2009 slowed but did not stop the growth of Idaho’s wolf population.
  • Fish and Game proposes a trapping season in some areas because in 2009, regular hunting seasons were not effective in reducing populations. Idaho’s experience is similar to those in Western Canada and Alaska.
  • Fish and Game’s mission, by law, is to provide populations for hunting, fishing, and trapping. All wolf trapping will be conducted by licensed, trained trappers in areas where access is limited, terrain is difficult, but where wolves are having significant impacts on other big game animals or approaching isolated communities such as Elk City.
  • Fish and Game will continue to authorize control actions to address wolf conflicts where needed.
  • Early next week, Fish and Game will conduct a random survey of hunters and members of the general public about the 2011 wolf season proposal. The survey will also be posted on the 2011 wolf proposal webpage for other interested parties to offer input. Results will be made available at the Idaho Fish and Game Commission Meeting July 27, 28, 29 in Salmon.

Wolf Season - Questions and Answers

  • How many wolves are in Idaho? There are more than 1,000 wolves in Idaho. Fish and Game currently has active radio-collars on more than 70 wolves in Idaho.
  • What is Fish and Game’s wolf management objective? Consistent with the 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management plan approved by the Idaho Legislature and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fish and Game’s objective is to have a sustainable wolf population while addressing wolf conflicts. To keep state management, Fish and Game must meet federal recovery goals. However, the current population is too high from a conflict standpoint, with wolves approaching homes and communities, killing livestock and domestic animals, and causing too great an impact on elk and deer populations in certain areas. Conflict levels are variable from year to year, but Idaho will manage wolves at levels greater than the federal recovery criteria of 15 breeding pairs and 150 total wolves.
  • Why does Idaho have to manage wolves and other wildlife? In 1938, the people of Idaho enacted laws by ballot initiative regarding state wildlife resources. The Idaho Legislature has amended these laws, but since 1938 Idaho law has directed the Commission to manage Idaho’s wildlife, including managing for a surplus of fish and game to support public hunting, fishing and trapping.
  • Why does Idaho need to control wolves, black bears and mountain lions where predation suppresses elk, deer, or moose populations? Idaho law, dating back to a 1938 ballot initiative, requires Fish and Game to manage for a surplus of elk, deer, and other wildlife for public harvest. When predation from wolves, mountain lions, or black bears has unacceptable impacts to other game populations, IDFG develops predation management plan to address the situation.
  • Why is IDFG proposing wolf harvest seasons? In Idaho, regulated public hunting and trapping is the preferred method for addressing wildlife conflicts, whether the conflict comes from predation by wolves, black bears or mountain lions, from elk and deer eating crops, or from beavers damaging property. Idaho’s current wolf population is causing unacceptable levels of conflict, so IDFG is proposing hunting and trapping seasons to reduce Idaho’s wolf population.
  • Has IDFG considered options other than public harvest to reduce the wolf population? Relocation, sterilization and other nonlethal measures are not practical on a large scale. A 2009 state law directed IDFG to ask every other state if any wanted Idaho’s surplus wolves. No other states did, and the federal government has not offered to move wolves elsewhere. IDFG will conduct agency control actions as needed to address specific conflicts, but state policy is to use public harvest when feasible.
  • Why is IDFG proposing general seasons in several zones? Idaho uses general seasons with mandatory reporting requirements for most big game species in Idaho. Fish and Game is proposing general seasons where hunters did not reach harvest limits in 2009, where experience in Idaho and elsewhere indicates that hunter success will continue to be low, and in zones with high conflict levels.
  • Why is IDFG proposing harvest limits in several zones? In zones with open country where IDFG expects hunter success and agency control actions to be higher, IDFG has proposed harvest limits. Among these zones are two that are late winter/spring dispersal areas between Yellowstone Park and other populations in Montana and Wyoming. (This is a conservative approach because recent research confirms wolves are dispersing throughout the northern Rocky Mountains, and Idaho wolves are breeding with populations in other states and vice versa.)
  • What protections are in place to prevent overharvest? All wolf harvest must be reported within 72 hours, and skulls and hides must be presented at Fish and Game offices within 10 days, so biologists can record sex, age and other information to monitor harvest. Fish and Game will provide up-to-date harvest numbers by zone on its website. The Director of Fish and Game will close areas or the entire harvest season if mortality is excessive.
  • Why is IDFG proposing a trapping season? Fish and Game is proposing a trapping season in areas where experience in Idaho, Alaska, and western Canada indicates hunting alone will not be effective in reducing the wolf population. These include areas where access is limited, terrain is difficult, and where wolves are having significant impacts on other big game animals or approaching isolated communities such as Elk City. Fish and Game proposed these areas and this timeframe to allow trapping when pelts are prime, and when there is less potential for conflict with other hunting seasons and recreational uses.
  • How does IDFG regulate wolf trapping? Commission rules require all trappers to complete a training course before they begin trapping for wolves. There are also rules restricting the placement of traps and the types of traps that may be used.
  • Will IDFG allow aerial gunning or poisons? Federal law prohibits use of aircraft for public hunting. IDFG and federal agencies may use aircraft for agency control actions in appropriate circumstances. Federal law prohibits poisons for the killing of wolves.
  • Has IDFG considered the effects of hunting on pack behavior or the wolf breeding cycle? There is research that where harvest (or other mortality) disrupts wolf packs, packs will reform fairly quickly so that the overall wolf population is not affected. IDFG has proposed harvest seasons so they do not overlap with active denning.
  • What if public hunting and trapping isn’t enough to address wolf conflicts? IDFG will continue to authorize agency control actions when needed to address specific wolf conflicts involving populated areas, depredation on livestock or domestic animals, or predation management plans.
  • Are there any areas that will be closed to wolf hunting and trapping? Federal law restricts hunting in national parks and national monuments. City ordinances may restrict the discharge of firearms or the use of traps within city limits. There are other areas the Fish and Game Commission may close to public hunting or trapping for reasons of public safety, conflict among uses, or wildlife management considerations.


Last Updated: August 1, 2011



The thing that I find most interesting is in 2009, Idaho offered wolves to all the other states and none of the states wanted them. I still think they would do fine back east or in Central Park.
 

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On the Kenai peninsula in Alaska we didn't have wolves until (according to F&G, they migrated in) 1975, now our moose populations have plummeted along with Dahl Sheep. F&G wants to thin them out but the Feds as usual rebels against that. I'm sorry for you guys in the Northwest but without any local control over the Feds we are just out of luck.
 
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