Idaho sets new wolf seasons and expands methods of take
There are new wolf hunting and trapping seasons in place now that Senate Bill 1211 is Idaho law. Last week, the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners amended the current state rules and seasons to reflect the changes that allow for year-round wolf trapping on private property, unlimited purchase of wolf tags and revised methods of take that include any method already permitted for any wild canine (foxes, coyotes) now allowed for wolves.
The new seasons take effect on July 1. An updated brochure that includes these changes will be available on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s (IDFG) website by that date.
While somewhat controversial, IDFG Director Ed Schriever believes that the change in wolf hunting and trapping will help find a “meaningful balance” and help “address conflicts between wolves, livestock and other big game” while also providing opportunity for hunters and trappers.
“It’s been widely, but inaccurately, reported that the new law will reduce Idaho’s wolf population by 90 percent, however, the Commission’s action will reduce wolf conflicts while maintaining a viable wolf population that is not subject to relisting under the federal Endangered Species Act,” said Schriever.
Per IDFG, here's what to expect on July 1.
Expanded hunting methods only permitted for killing wild canines, not other big game species, including:
- Weapon restrictions (for hunting big game) do not apply for wolf hunting.
- Exemption from shooting hours and allowance for spotlight or night vision equipment. Written permission from the landowner is required on private land and a permit from the Director of IDFG is required on public land, which is consistent with requirements for spotlighting coyotes at night.
- Hunting wolves over bait is allowed on private land with landowner permission.
- Motorized vehicle restrictions for hunting big game do not apply for wolf hunting.
- Dogs may be used to pursue wolves, and no hound hunter permit is required.
Wolf hunting seasons will stay unchanged on public land, except for expanding hunting methods Nov. 15 through March 31 in specific areas where there is chronic livestock depredation or where elk herds are below management objectives, including Unit 4, 4A, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10A, 12, 14, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 18, 19, 20, 20A, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 32A, 33, 34, 35, 36, 36A, 36B, 37, 39, 43, 44, 49, 50, 62, 64, 65 and 67.
Expanded hunting methods will now be allowed year-round on private land as long as you have landowner permission.