There's been a lot of media about Idaho's pending wolf hunt, but the real story is not being told. Here's the scoop on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's proposed 7-month wolf season. Our IDFG Commissioners will finalize the details this week in Salmon, Idaho. IDFG has been misleading the public about the number of tags and even had a slanted survey on their website.
Idaho's wolf management plan calls for just 150 wolves. We currently have about 1000 wolves of which 300 are pups. IDFG has made it clear that getting down toward 150 wolves is their goal. The pressure is coming from our Governor Butch Otter, the Idaho legislature, big game outfitters, hunting groups, and some ranchers.
- Hunters can buy up to FOUR tags for the seven-month 2011-2012 hunt (two tags in 2011 and two tags in 2012). A resident wolf tag costs $11.75. The hunt goes from August 30 to March 31.
- Trappers can buy up to SIX trapping/snaring tags (three per calendar year) plus the FOUR regular tags for the 2011-2012 hunt = TEN Tags.
- NO QUOTA in much of the state including these areas: Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness/Middle Fork Salmon River, Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Lolo, Panhandle, McCall-Weiser, Dworshak-Elk City, Palouse-Hells Canyon and S. Idaho.
- BIG QUOTAS elsewhere (when compared to 2009-10 hunt): Sawtooth, Southern Mountains, Salmon, Beaverhead and Island Park areas.
- Electronic calls - that sound like a hurt animal or hurt wolf pup, and can be broadcast via a loudspeaker for miles - allowed.
- BAITING as done for fur bearer hunting/trapping - allowed.
- BEAR BAITING season opens August 30. Wolves are attracted to these sites - think stale donuts, dog food, fish, butcher scraps. Any wolf near a bear bait garbage dump can be shot with rifle or bow. Most of these bear hunters use trail cameras and they photograph a lot of wolves.
- TEN-WEEK WINTER TRAPPING/SNARING SEASON in Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (Middle Fork zone) and Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, plus Lolo, Panhandle and other areas. I expect the trapping season and areas to be expanded by the Commissioners.
- Out-of-State hunter cost for wolf tag REDUCED TO $31.50 in Wilderness areas, so big game outfitters are assured their clients can get cheap wolf tags.
I've lived in Idaho for 30 years. The last 7-month wolf hunt in 2009-10 was a terrible time to be outdoors with wolf hunters crawling the backroads and trails, even accosting campers demanding whether they had seen or heard wolves. Then there was the usual exhibiting of dead wolves in various Idaho towns. When I reported to IDFG law enforcement that wolf hunters were using predator calls after dark, I was told they were probably hunting coyotes. I observed spotlighting and reported it - nothing was done. Wolves don't have many friends in IDFG.
This wolf hunt is going to hurt Idaho's recreation and tourism economy, not to mention putting a black eye overall on the state. Some people are already boycotting the state, Idaho products, and businesses like big game outfitters who run trail rides and fishing trips, but also guide wolf hunts. This doesn't seem to matter to IDFG - they only care about what hunters think. I have been urging businesses to speak up and will keep trying. Am also working with media and if you know reporters who are interested in Idaho's wolves, please have them contact me.
Wish I had better news. I will never give up on wolves, but this hunt is going to be hard to take.
Boulder-White Clouds Council
Ketchum ID 83340
Boulder-White Clouds Council (BWCC)
was formed in 1989 to protect, enhance and defend Idaho's wild lands and wildlife, and to pass onto succeeding generations a quality natural environment.
The White Cloud Peaks and Boulder Mountains lie in the upper Salmon River country of central Idaho. The adjoining Pioneer Mountains, parts of the Sawtooth Mountains (including the Sawtooth Completion), Smoky Mountains, Salmon River Mountains, and areas on the Boise and Payette National Forests, together contain another one-million acres, which BWCC and other conservation and sportsmens' groups support for Wilderness.
Within these mountain ranges, and their streams, rivers and lakes, we focus on protecting and improving natural values, wildlife, and wildlife habitat, and quiet recreation opportunities. We organize hikes and field trips, media tours, and have a network of volunteers throughout central and southern Idaho who help monitor and respond to actions or threats to this wild country. We also work for peace and quiet on Idaho's lands and waters. We call this "Protecting the hush of the land" -- where humans can hear nature, rather than engines.
BWCC has also done extensive mining work on three immense open pit mines, and on smaller projects and explorations. We have monitored mining activity, publicized problems to the environment, and when necessary, litigated. BWCC works with local, regional and national groups to reform the 1872 Mining Law.
By choice, we are a lean, small, front line organization, supported by individuals, families and foundations. For every dollar BWCC receives, we triple that amount through volunteers and pro bono services.
By choice, we are not a membership group, but maintain contact with people who use and care for the wild White Clouds through our mailing list, web site, e-mail, newsletters, telephone, outings, events, and chance meetings in Idaho's back country and Idaho towns.
Our mission includes providing accurate information on many issues to our supporters, the public at large, media, elected officials, and other conservation organizations in Idaho, the northern Rockies, the Northwest, and nationally, including Washington, D.C.
Our on-the-ground knowledge and day-to-day presence is unsurpassed in the White Cloud and Sawtooth Mountain region. ("If a pine cone drops, we hear it" scenario.)
Please e-mail or write if you would like to receive our newsletter, outings schedule, ALERTS, or be added to our e-mail list. We make an effort to NOT deluge our supporters with requests for comments on issues, but when you hear from us -- it's IMPORTANT and we need your help.