IDFG proposes new wolf management plan
Last week, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) proposed cutting the state’s wolf population by 60% based upon 2021 numbers. The proposed population reduction was part of a new statewide wolf management plan presented during the fish and game commission meeting on Thursday, according to Boise State Public Radio (BSPR).
While Idaho’s wolf management plan is current – it was approved in 2022 – new data has the agency reevaluating how best to manage the fluctuating population. There are about 1,270 wolves based on counts completed in 2019, 2020 and 2021. IDFG wants the number of wolves within the state to be at 500 over the next six years.
“We thought it would be an appropriate time to release a draft wolf management plan to frame the future direction of management,” said Jon Rachael, IDFG wildlife bureau chief.
The new plan, which would be in place from 2023 to 2028, uses the 500 wolf criterion based upon the benchmark established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for Idaho when Rocky Mountain wolves were delisted back in 2009, according to BSPR.
“This plan is not a ‘reduce the wolf population by 90%’ plan,” said Rachael. “That was thrown around a whole lot in the media following legislative action a couple of years ago. And the accusation was that the Department was going to reduce wolf numbers by 90%. That’s not this.”
Under the proposed plan, IDFG would continue to monitor wolf numbers annually and work toward reducing wolf depredations on livestock and predation on deer and elk. Hunting and trapping would still be the primary management tools used; however, private contractors would also be paid to kill wolves when necessary.
You can review the proposed plan on IDFG’s website next week. Public comments will be collected for the next 30 days.