Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

New Idaho board has spent $140K to kill 31 wolves

BOISE - Idaho’s new wolf depredation control board reported to state lawmakers today that since it was launched July 1, it’s spent $140,000 to kill 31 wolves, all of which were attacking livestock. Rep. Van Burtenshaw, R-Terreton, said, “That’s $4,600 per wolf. As the wolf population grows, how are we going to sustain this type of expense?” Board member Carl Rey said expenses included “many, many other activities taking place that are expensive,” including helicopter time for monitoring. “So yes it is expensive, but there are many, many aspects to the control activities taking place.” Brad Compton, Idaho Fish and Game Department assistant Wildlife Bureau chief, said the state’s overall management of wolves is aimed at reducing, not increasing, both their population and conflicts with wildlife and livestock. “All the information we have since we started implementing management, primarily hunting and trapping starting in 2009, is populations are declining slowly,” he said. “We’re starting to see some positive responses in reduced depredations. … But the intent in the future hopefully is one of needing less rather than needing more.” The wolf board, approved by lawmakers last year at the request of Gov. Butch Otter and given $400,000 to kill problem wolves, had its first budget hearing this morning, and reported that it didn’t spend the full amount. But it did contract with USDA Wildlife Services to kill 31 wolves, all of which were attacking livestock. “We have every reason to believe 2014 was an anomaly,” Rey told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. It saw less wolf depredation than the state had seen since 2005, he said. The board has spent just over $140,000 so far, Rey reported; it’s currently contracted to spend another $235,000 through the end of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. The board is projecting it’ll have a $130,000 year-end balance; in addition to the $400,000 state appropriation, it received money from livestock producers and matching funds from Fish and Game. Todd Grimm, state director for Wildlife Services in Idaho, said the 31 wolves were killed between Aug. 7 and the end of December.