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Idaho Fish And Game Commission Expands Wolf Hunting And Trapping Rules To Align With New State Law

A photo from 1995 shows a wolf leaping across a road into the Central Idaho forest.
Doug Pizac
In this Jan. 14, 1995, file photo, a wolf leaps across a road into the wilds of Central Idaho.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission expanded gray wolf hunting and trapping opportunities on Thursday based on a bill signed by Gov. Brad Little this past legislative session.

The commission previously extended the wolf hunting and trapping season when it set the rules in March. Then, the legislature introduced Senate Bill 1211. Conservation groups have said the bill could drastically reduce the state’s wolf population by up to 90%.

The Fish and Game Commission opposed the bill during the legislative session over concerns it would take management decisions out of their hands.

Now, it has moved to adjust the department's rules to align with the bill, which Little signed in May.

Fish and Game Public Information Supervisor Roger Phillips said the commission set a year-round wolf trapping season on private lands throughout the state and it will allow hunters and trappers to purchase unlimited wolf tags.

"There were also some enhanced or expanded hunting methods that the law calls for," Phillips said.

The commission approved the new wolf hunting methods the bill prescribes, such allowing night hunting with night vision devices and shooting from motorized vehicles.

Those expanded methods are allowed on private land year-round and on public land in 43 game management units where Fish and Game has identified chronic livestock depredations, or where elk are below population targets.

Fish and Game will post the official rule changes before the season begins July 1.

Senate Bill 1211 also allows Idaho’s Wolf Depredation Control Board to hire private contractors to kill wolves. However, the board hasn’t allocated any funds to private contractors thus far. This week it approved a regular contract with Wildlife Services through June 2022 to investigate, manage and control wolf depredations.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio

As the south-central Idaho reporter, I cover the Magic and Wood River valleys. I also enjoy writing about issues related to health and the environment.