Expanded Idaho wolf hunt – Idaho’s 2011-12 wolf hunt ends in most of the state next week and it will have claimed at least 367 wolves (the current total) by hunting and trapping, plus dozens more that were removed by state and federal wildlife agents. In two units, the season continues through June – through denning season when packs and their pups are easy to find at their densites. Wolves will only get a short reprieve, however until the next season begins at the end of August.
At the Idaho Fish and Game Commission monthly meeting this week, there were more wolf supporters than wolf opponents. Between 30 and 40 attendees testified on behalf of wolves, yet the Commission ignored their concerns about escalating wolf killing in Idaho. They failed to address any of the concerns presented, including that:
- using traps and snares on public land is unsafe for pets;
- no areas are set aside for wolf-watching;
- Idaho’s wildlife belongs to all citizens, not just hunters, trappers and fishermen, and
- a 72-hour trap-check policy allows wolves to suffer for days.
Instead, commissioners approved even more aggressive wolf hunting and trapping plans for next year by increasing the number of wolves that individual hunters can kill in a season, allowing trapping in more areas, and extending the season later in the year (see full AP story).
Defenders’ wolf expert Suzanne Stone gave testimony about the success of the Wood River Wolf Project that was well received, but it wasn’t enough to talk the commission out of taking more aggressive action. Regardless, thanks to all our supporters who spoke out in support of wolves! We’ll need all the help we can get at every meeting to help turn the tide of anti-wolf sentiment in Idaho.
Idaho commissioner comes to DC – Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen is the liaison between the county and our Wood River Wolf Project, and his support has been instrumental in growing the project. Larry traveled to Washington in early March to help share the success of the project with the Idaho delegation and other agency stakeholders. Hearing directly from a respected Idahoan has helped strengthen our case that nonlethal tools are a valuable part of wolf management and deserve more support from the federal government. Read more about Larry’s trip in his hometown paper, the Idaho Mountain Express.
Wolf death under investigation in Oregon – According to state police, a dead wolf was found on private property in northeast Oregon last week. The cause of death had not been determined, but authorities planned to conduct an investigation to rule out any wrongdoing. At the end of 2011 there were an estimated 29 wolves in Oregon. Read more in the La Grande Observer.