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Crying Wolf in Idaho

Morris MacMatzen / Stringer
Morris MacMatzen / Stringer

The Idaho Fish and Game department will release it’s new wolf management plan next month but already word of the proposed updates have both wolf supporters and fans upset.

Critics are upset the new plan might not include an official population goal. The current goal is 15 packs and a total of 150 wolves in Idaho. Critics fear without an actual count the number of wolves could get out of hand.

In fact, critics want fewer than 150 wolves and some claim the Fish and Game Department wants to increase the wolf population so they can sell wolf tags when the population needs to be trimmed.

Wolf advocates are upset over proposed new hunting rules that would allow hunters to use elk and deer road kill as bait to lure wolves into shooting range. Advocates say what about “the chase” and ethics in hunting?

Idaho’s total wolf population is said to be nearly 800 but many believe it’s actually double that number. The new Fish and Game management plan would be based on estimates with no population goal and the departments management policy would be based on conflict.

This is basically how the Fish and Game department manages black bear and mountain lions. Other than hunting tags, the population is managed only when the animals create a problem of conflict with humans.

The Idaho Fish and Game department is expected to hear more on wolf management when they meet next month in Bonners Ferry. For the time being the wolf and it’s management in Idaho has folks on both sides of the issue howling.

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