Idaho Proposes to Expand Wolf Hunting, Trapping on Public and Private Lands
In February, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission (IDFG) announced a proposal to extend the season for wolf hunting and trapping across the state on public and private land. The IDFG offered a total of seven hunting proposals and eight trapping proposals.
In general, the proposals aim to extend all hunting and trapping opportunities, including to:
- Allow year-round wolf trapping on private land
- Establish a 12-month wolf hunting season statewide
- Allow use of snares in some hunting units, including the hunting units that border Yellowstone National Park
- Allow trapping on public lands in southwestern and southern Idaho
IDFG is accepting public comment on the proposals through February 25, 2021. It only takes a few minutes to comment and your efforts will have a profound impact on Idaho wolves.
How to Comment
Review these instructions and then click the button to comment.
- Under the blue banner Proposals and Comment Period, click on the blue Browse all Proposals button.
- In the Comment Opportunities section, under Species, select Gray Wolf from the drop down list and click the blue Apply button.
- Click the blue Review and Comment button in the first row.
- Scroll down to the blue Proposal banner.
- Select I do not support this proposal for all proposals.
- Enter Comments, if desired. (Comments are optional.)
- Enter your name, email and city.
- Click the blue Submit button.
After clicking Submit, you will be redirected to the main proposals page. Repeat steps 1 – 8 for the remaining proposals.
Reasons to Oppose Wolf Hunting and Trapping
- Snaring is a primitive, archaic, and torturous method of killing animals.
Although snares are intended to kill the animals quickly, once snared around the neck, wolves can still live for up to two days, and in some cases beyond. Snares do not have the ability to quickly render wolves unconscious. Less than 50% of canids (wolves and coyotes) captured by the neck in killing neck snares lose consciousness within five minutes; death may come after hours or days, depending on the killing efficacy of the snare and the frequency of visits by trappers. (Proulx G., Rodtka D. 2019)
Unable to free themselves, the noose slowly cuts off blood circulation from wolf’s head to their heart; meanwhile, the carotid artery keeps pumping blood into the brain. Then the brain swells up until the wolf’s head explodes. Trappers refer these swollen heads as “jelly heads.”
If a wolf escapes, they’re still with the snare around their neck. All the while, the snare keeps slowly tightening, working its way through the hide and the flesh of the wolf.
- Traps are indiscriminate, killing many non-target animals in addition to wolves.
Traps are indiscriminate, capturing those not intended for the trap, including endangered animals, pets and people, and can leave permanent physical damage to anything that gets caught. Animals suffer pain, trauma and stress when held by traps, and immobilized animals can experience dehydration, hunger, panic-induced self-mutilation, exposure to weather and predation, all of which constitute animal cruelty.
- Wolves do not have a negative impact on Idaho’s elk population.
IDFG states they are expanding wolf hunting and trapping seasons in areas where “elk populations are under objective” but the state’s elk population is at near-peak levels. The current population estimate in Idaho is more than 120,000 elk, just 4% below the all-time highest count of 125,000. In 1995, the same year wolves were reintroduced to Idaho, the elk population was estimated to be 112,333.
- Killing wolves leads directly to more livestock deprivation by the eradication of wolf family groups.
IDFG claims expanded hunting seasons are necessary to “reduce livestock depredations” but this has been refuted by numerous peer-reviewed studies. Researchers at Washington State University found that for every wolf killed in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming over the past 25 years, there was a 5 percent increase in the sheep and cattle killed the next year. Killing wolves causes family groups (packs) to fragment, often resulting in the targeting of easier prey (domestic livestock) rather than more challenging prey (native ungulates).
A study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that government killing of wolves can increase the risk to nearby farms, providing further evidence for the ineffectiveness of the so-called “lethal control” policy approach.
Idaho’s History of Wolf Management
Since federal protections for Idaho wolves were lifted in 2011, the state has made clear its intentions to “manage” wolves with a heavy hand. Not only does the Gem State sanction robust trophy wolf hunting/trapping seasons, it also established a state “Wolf Depredation Control Board” on which Idaho budgets $400,000 annually to exterminate wolves, often by aerial gunning, and even in wilderness areas.
The neighboring states of Montana and Wyoming closely mirror Idaho’s treatment of wolves. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing to extend the wolf hunting and trapping seasons in northwestern Montana. If the proposals are approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, they would:
– Expand the trapping season to begin the Monday after Thanksgiving and end March 15
– Allow trappers to snare wolves
In Wyoming, wolf hunting is legal 365 days a year across 85% of the state, where wolves are classified as shoot-on-sight vermin. Guns, snares, explosives, trucks, and snowmobiles – almost any form of violence is allowed to kill wolves – even mothers with young pups.
Thousands of wolves have been killed for trophy in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming since 2011. The West may be wild, but its wildlife policies are sorely lacking.