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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Idaho wastes no time with wolf management

PREDATORS -- Since resuming wolf management earlier this month, Idaho Fish and Game already has initiated several actions across the state, including aerial wolf hunting to help take pressure off a struggling elk herd in the Lolo Zone.

Six control actions have been authorized in response to livestock depredations.

Read on for the details from the agency's press release.

Fish and Game has resumed the lead for resolving conflicts with wolves, and the agency will once again issue permits to control problem wolves. Fish and Game also has resumed responding to livestock depredation by wolves. Regional supervisors can authorize wolf control actions, which typically peak in the summer.

Most control actions would be carried out by Wildlife Services, but sport hunters may be used in future depredation hunts to help resolve wolf conflicts in localized areas, similar to the way deer and elk crop depredation hunts are conducted.

In 2010, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed 75 cattle, 148 sheep, two horses and one domestic bison. In addition, 14 cattle, 30 sheep and one livestock guard dog were considered probable wolf kills.

In the Lolo elk management zone in north-central Idaho, Fish and Game is putting into action a wolf control plan, outlined in an earlier plan submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act’s section 10(j). The plan is a commitment and an incremental effort to manage for 20 to 30 wolves in the Lolo zone until elk herds recover.

Current research shows excessive elk mortality caused by wolf predation continues in the Lolo zone.

Control efforts were initiated immediately in the Lolo zone to reduce wolf numbers before the elk calving season, and it will help survival of last year’s calves as well as adult cows.

Fish and Game has authorized licensed outfitters to take any wolves they encounter incidental to spring black bear hunts in units 10 and 12, which comprise the Lolo zone. The effort will continue through June 30.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services removed five wolves in the Lolo Zone by helicopter. The control action has been suspended indefinitely until conditions improve.

Wolves in the Lolo zone are currently at lower elevations where the snow is gone, and even with radio collars, they are hard to see under tree cover.

In addition, Fish and Game biologists are developing monitoring strategies to ensure the best possible population information is collected. Fish and Game will have the lead for monitoring wolves across most of Idaho, with the Nez Perce Tribe providing collaborative assistance in north-central Idaho.

Fish and Game will discuss plans for a fall hunting season with the Idaho Fish and Game Commission at the May 18 meeting in Lewiston. The commission is expected to set seasons at the July 28 meeting in Salmon.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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