PREDATORS -- Idaho wildlife officials are considering paying private trappers to kill wolves roaming in specific hunting zones, such as the St. Joe River drainage, where wolves have had a significant impact on elk populations.
“There are certain individuals who have built up some pretty good skills,” Jeff Gould, a Idaho Fish and Game Department wildlife bureau manager, said in a report by the Idaho Statesman.
The agency is looking for ways to reduce Idaho’s wolf population, estimated at more than 500 at the end of the season last year. Hunters and trappers have had some success statewide killing wolves, but Gould says the agency wants to minimize wolf impacts in the Lolo, Selway and St. Joe hunting zones.
The agency is also considering partnering with select trappers on an initiative to fit more wolves with radio collars. Working with trappers is likely to be less expensive than collaring trips using helicopters and staff. Gould said the agency recently spent about $40,000 over three days to fit collars on 14 wolves near Lowman in central Idaho.