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    Posted: 23 May 2008 at 8:48am

State approves plan to hunt hundreds of wolves

Fish and Game Commission decision launches new era in wolf management


Idaho Fish and Game photo The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved a plan Thursday to open a hunting season on gray wolves starting on Sept. 15.

As many as 428 wild gray wolves will be allowed to die in Idaho this year under a plan approved by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in Jerome on Thursday.

That's 100 more than originally proposed by staff biologists with the Department of Fish and Game prior to this week's much-anticipated meeting. Both tallies—the level proposed by Fish and Game staff and the higher number approved by the politically appointed commissioners—would represent all reported wolf deaths in the state this year. It will include deaths from natural causes, accidents, wolf predation-control actions and hunter kills.

Speaking after the commissioners' consideration of proposed rules for what may be the first-ever managed wolf hunt in the state later this fall, Fish and Game director Cal Groen noted the significance of the decision.

"It's time to take a collective sigh," Groen said. "This is history."

Wolves living in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah were officially removed from protection under the federal Endangered Species Act on March 28. The delisting transferred management duties from the federal government to wildlife management agencies in the six states.

Groen said that despite the high number of wolves that could die under the approved plan, state wildlife managers will still manage the predator at levels higher than the federal government originally agreed was an acceptable level for recovery in the northern Rockies prior to their reintroduction in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1995-96. The original plan stated that wolves would be delisted in the region when they achieved a minimum of 30 breeding pairs and at least 300 wolves split between the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming for three consecutive years. That threshold was achieved in 2002.

As of this spring, Idaho has more than 1,000 wolves statewide, Fish and Game estimates.

Idaho's wolf management plan calls for managing wolves at a population level of 500-700 wolves for the first five years following delisting. The plan envisions using hunting as one of the primary tools to control the population.

Even if the 428 figure is reached, the state will have far more than the federal government originally proposed, Groen said.

"We're saying we are going to be at least five times above (federal) government recovery levels," he said.

But still hanging over the entire discussion of wolf management in Idaho and the other states is a lawsuit filed by 12 conservation groups in April that seeks to overturn the delisting decision. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy is set to consider the lawsuit during a May 29 hearing in Missoula, Mont.

Groen contended that overturning the delisting would be detrimental to Idaho as well as future endangered species recovery.

Also Thursday, Fish and Game commissioners set the statewide season for wolf hunting this fall should conservationists fail to overturn the Northern Rockies delisting. In this first year, hunters will be able to pursue wolves from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31. From Sept. 15 until Oct.1, only Idaho's backcountry areas in the Frank Church-River of No Return and Selway Bitterroot wilderness areas will be open to wolf hunting. Hunters will be able to use any weapon during that time.

From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, all of Idaho will be open to wolf hunting and hunters will be able to use any weapon.

According to Fish and Game, achieving the quota would result in an estimated population of 500-700 wolves at the end of 2008.

Though some commissioners indicated they'd like to see a longer season, in the end they chose to take what they deemed a more "cautious" approach. However, during their upcoming November meeting, the commission will consider whether to extend the season depending on how it's progressing.

"It seems like a good compromise," said Cameron Wheeler of Ririe, the commissioner representing the Upper Snake Region in eastern Idaho.

A provision of the proposed hunting rules Fish and Game commissioners approved states that once the statewide quota is reached, all hunting will cease. Similarly, once pre-set quotas in individual wolf hunting zones is reached, hunting in those zones will stop.

Under the rules, holders of Idaho hunting licenses and wolf tags would be allowed to harvest one wolf. The cost of a resident Idaho wolf tag will be $10.50.

Under the previously established mortality quotas for each management zone, as many as 50 wolves would be allowed to die this year in north-central Idaho's Lolo wolf zone, which covers Big Game units 11 and 12. In the Southern Mountains wolf region, which covers all of the Wood River Valley and extends east through the Pioneers, White Knob, Lost River and Lemhi ranges to the Montana border, Fish and Game originally set a mortality figure of 34 wolves for 2008.

But because the commissioners upped the statewide mortality amount, the additional 100 deaths will be spread out among all the state's wolf zones.

Fish and Game will establish a hotline for hunters to call in to find out if the wolf quota has been met in the wolf zones and statewide. Hunters will be required to report the taking of a wolf within 72 hours after it's been harvested. Fish and Game will require that external evidence of sex be left attached to the animal's hide until the mandatory check requirement has been satisfied. Though hunters will not be required to retrieve meat from a harvested wolf, they will have to present the animal's hide and skull to a Fish and Game regional office within 10 days of the kill.

Under the proposed rules, wolves will not be allowed to be harvested by trapping or through the use of bait, electronic calling or dogs. While radio-collared wolves will be allowed to be shot, Fish and Game is asking hunters to avoid harvesting them so it can continue to monitor them.

In the end, Groen asked for the trust of everyone as Idaho wildlife managers embark on this new path of managing wolves. He said wolves join a list of 11 other big game species Idaho managers must keep watch over.

"I think our staff are very good managers," he said.

Copyright Š 2008 Express Publishing Inc. 
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.

Edited by icforumadmin - 24 July 2008 at 2:03pm
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abuayisha View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote abuayisha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2008 at 10:44am

Idaho's wolf management plan gets biologists' support

McClatchy Newspapers

BOISE, Idaho — Wolf advocates say turning management over to the states will lead to a slaughter of wolves and a dramatically lower wolf population than today.

Wolf opponents say wolf numbers have grown so high the population will never quit growing and will decimate big game herds.

But what does science tell us about the future of wolves in Idaho? Two wolf biologists with the best of credentials — David Mech and Doug Smith — have two different views of how wolf management will proceed in the Northern Rockies. Yet both say Idaho's approach to the issue is sound.

Mech, senior research scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey and a University of Minnesota adjunct professor, is regarded as the pre-eminent wolf biologist in the United States, if not the world.

His study of wolf-moose relationships on Isle Royale, an island in Lake Superior, redefined science's understanding of predator-prey relationships.

He has argued for decades that for wolves to be recovered in the lower 48 states, they need to be controlled, hunted and legally killed when they continually kill livestock.

They are very prolific and actually become more productive in the face of rising mortality.

Once their numbers become large, such as the current 1,500 wolves that live in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, their population will continue to grow as long as it can expand and it has a healthy food source.

"They may never go down," Mech said. "I don't know any way you'll get them down legally." Smith is the chief wolf researcher in Yellowstone National Park. He has studied Yellowstone's wolves since they were reintroduced in 1995. A former student and colleague of Mech, he disagrees that the growth of the wolf population cannot be halted or reversed.

"They stopped population growth in Wyoming through legal killing outside Yellowstone Park," Smith said.

The situation is different in the West than in the Midwest and the Arctic, where Mech has most of his experience, Smith said.

"Wolves are a lot more vulnerable here than they are there," Smith said. "They all have to come down to valley bottoms here, and everybody knows it." Despite his differences with Mech, Smith said he is in philosophical agreement with the stated philosophy of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Its managers say they want to focus on reducing wolf conflicts and allowing them to thrive where they aren't causing problems.

Mech agrees.

"I think that's a good approach," Mech said. "We've been advocating that for years.

"There are places where wolves can't live with humans, there are places wolves should be, and places in between."

— — —

(c) 2008, The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho).

Edited by icforumadmin - 24 July 2008 at 2:02pm
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Suleyman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suleyman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2008 at 11:23pm
As Salamu Alaikum Brother Abuaisha,
Brother what is your point?,can the nature be reshaped for the needs of us,do we have the right to invade their living areas then saying ohh there are so much wolves living and we must kill them for our safety...
It seems like the things happened to American Indians and Iraqis....wa salaam...
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love View Drop Down

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote love Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 July 2008 at 8:52am
The Wolves are re-listed as Endangered Species and protected again.

Judge Returns Gray Wolves to Endangered List

Edited by icforumadmin - 24 July 2008 at 2:02pm
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cadnu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cadnu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 August 2008 at 11:20pm
Man's mind is akin to a drunken monkey.

That's the only reason and explanation for such things.
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