Idaho Fish and Game to reimburse hunters for wolf kills

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 3:43 PM MDT
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Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Idaho Fish and Game made an agreement with the Foundation for Wildlife Management aiming to further control wolf populations in the Gem State by offering reimbursement for successful wolf harvests.

But the idea of financial incentives for hunts doesn’t sit well with the Center for Biological Diversity’s Andrea Zaccardi.

“Spitting $200,000 into a fund to kill wolves just, kind of, highlights and emphasizes their direct goal of killing as many wolves as possible and incentivizing others to do it,” Zaccardi said.

This isn’t the first attempt the Gem State has made to control the wolves, who prey on elk, deer and livestock.

Laws surrounding wolf hunts have been becoming more relaxed; longer hunting seasons, more tags and leeway when it comes to hunting on private property.

According to Terry Thompson of Idaho Fish and Game, those changes haven’t led to massive changes in hunting trends.

“What we’re seeing is our harvest level is much similar to what we’ve seen in years past,” said Thompson. “Now, are we going to see a dramatic increase in the level of harvest, time will tell, but right now it’s tracking at pretty much the same level.”

Zaccardi, however, worries that the way the program is established could lead to the wolf population decreasing, reversing the growth it’s seen since being removed from the Endangered Species Act.

“At this point, they don’t have mechanisms in place to protect the wolf population if it does drop as a result of the new legislation and the new laws,” said Zaccardi.

According to Thompson, that is not the case.

Fish and Game will continue to monitor the ways the wolf population is affected and make adjustments as necessary.

“We can track, over time, the level of harvest,” Thompson said, “and make adjustments as things go on.”

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