Wild animal lovers, rejoice. The slaughter of elk, deer, and moose calves by wolf packs won’t stop, but it will be reduced thanks to the positive actions taken by Idaho officials. Finally, one Western state has stood up to the anti-hunting establishment and taken a common-sense approach to wolf control.
In case you’re concerned that the wolf population will be eliminated, you need not fear. Alaska often has to take drastic measures to control wolf packs that decimate big game herds. They do so by shooting wolves from airplanes in the winter. This is not some sporting encounter; it’s damage control, the only way that works. I had the good fortune to share a campfire with a professional government hunter who’s job was animal control. That fellow believed that there were at least three wolves for every one officially counted. Under this plan, wolves will be treated like Eastern coyotes. Most states allow them to be hunted 24/7/365, yet the populations remain vibrant. Coyotes will never be eliminated from a habitat by normal hunting tactics, and neither will the wolves of Idaho. Daniel Xu highlights these opinions in this OutdoorHub post:
Last week the Idaho Fish and Game Commission made a rule change allowing year-round wolf hunting on private property in the state’s northern Clearwater Region, which was quickly followed by the passage of a bill that would set aside $400,000 in funds to control gray wolf populations. Animal rights groups are calling these latest actions a move by Idaho lawmakers to eradicate wolves from the state. House Bill 470 passed on the last day of Idaho’s legislative season and is expected to be signed by Governor C.L. Otter, who publicly supported the bill. With the addition of the 16 hunting zones in the Clearwater region, hunters can harvest wolves year-round in much of northern Idaho—as long as their hunts take place on private property. The bag limit was also changed to five wolves per calendar year.
“Political leaders in Idaho would love nothing more than to eradicate Idaho’s wolves and return to a century-old mindset where big predators are viewed as evil and expendable,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The new state wolf board, sadly, reflects that attitude. The legislature couldn’t even bring itself to put a single conservationist on the board, so the outcome is predictable: Many more wolves will die.”
State wildlife officials, however, paint a different picture of Idaho’s wolf problem. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Idaho Fish and Game Department estimated that the state’s elk population had fallen 15 percent since wolves were reintroduced.