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Idaho Fish & Game Commission Extends Wolf Hunting and Trapping Seasons

2016 Winter Wolf Idaho Fish and Game recently extended wolf hunting seasons, opened more areas to wolf trapping and extended trapping seasons over most of the state. Changes went into effect immediately on February 20, 2020. Wolf hunting season in Frank Church Wilderness game units 20A, 26, and 27 has been extended by one month. Season now runs from August 1 to June 30—a full 11 months. To top that, wolf season is now open year round in the game units surrounding Challis, Idaho (28, 36A, 36B, and 37). Wow! How Idaho Fish & Game ever got away with this one with a rather large, urban-dwelling, anti-wolf-hunting and loud segment in our society is beyond me. The important point is—they did it!

The decision to lengthen wolf-hunting seasons comes on the heels of a recently released report, based on extensive game-camera surveys, which estimated the total wolf population within the state of Idaho at 1,541 wolves during the summer of 2019, and approximately 1,000 by the end of the same year. This robust population remains ridiculously above the original federal recovery criteria of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs statewide. The report states wolf predation remains chronic on livestock over much of the state, and “continues to have a negative effect on elk populations in some backcountry areas”.

Worthy of mention in Idaho Fish & Game’s process to extend wolf seasons was a 14-day public comment period earlier this year. (A Castle Creek Outfitters blog contained a link to the survey on January 31.) Of the 27,076 participants who commented, only 5,675 were Idaho residents (21%). That means the majority of the responses (79%) came from outside of Idaho, with “many coming from outside of the US”. According to Idaho Fish & Game, 84 – 85% of those tallied opposed lengthening wolf seasons. By comparison, of the 21% tallied who were Idaho residents, 55% supported lengthening wolf seasons and 45% opposed. Obviously, the vocal, anti-hunting segment of our world community had more to say about wolves in Idaho than Idaho hunters, outfitters, and ranchers did. A huge applause goes to Idaho Fish & Game for holding their ground, and basing their decisions on solid, scientific data, along with the voices of the people who have to live with the wolves (Idaho residents). Even though the anti-hunters didn’t get their way on this one, is should still be a wakeup call for all of us hunters to get involved with hunting-based politics and make our opinions heard. The idea that radicals from around the world are trying to influence wolf hunting regulations in Idaho is absolutely unacceptable.

God bless America,

Joe Cavanaugh

For a closer look at all of Idaho Fish and Game wolf season changes, click on this link:

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