A overflow room has been set up for this afternoon's packed House Resources Committee hearing on HB 470, the $2 million wolf control fund bill, with many waiting to testify.
Rep. Marc Gibbs, R-Grace, told the committee, “The federal money continues to go down every year. So what this fund is intended to do is be a source to replace that federal money we’re losing, to continue to control depredating wolves just like we have in the past, and this is probably not a new effort but a continuation of the effort we’ve had.” He said, “No one knows, but most people believe that you have to harvest 40 percent of the wolves a year just to maintain the populations.”
Idaho Fish & Game Deputy Director Sharon Kiefer told the committee, “Hunting and trapping are important management tools.” But, she said, “Hunting and trapping will not completely address when we have depredation issues, whether it’s for private domestic animals or for our wildlife. We continue to see some need for wolf depredation control, no matter how creative we may be with hunting and trapping.”
Fish & Game figures show that the number of wolves in Idaho has been dropping, as has the number of breeding pairs, Kiefer said, but the number of packs has gone up. In response to questions from the committee, she noted that some members of the public believe wolf numbers are higher than those reflected in the official reports.