Idaho Fish and Game commissioners met Thursday afternoon in Salmon to vote on a plan for this year’s wolf hunting season.
Last year, wolves weren’t allowed to be hunted in the state because they were put back on the federal protection list. However, they have since been removed.
The commissioners’ spokesman Mike Heckler said that overpopulated wolf packs are costing farmers money by killing livestock and elk. In some areas, he said that they are a threat even to humans.
It’s been a heated debate for years, and now that a wolf hunting season will take place this fall, Idaho Fish and Game had to make the details of the hunting season official.
“Our goal here is to reduce the population that is somewhere over 1,000 right now, to somewhere above that 150 benchmark,” said Heckler.
The new plan allows for 10 wolves to be killed in the Beaver Head region and 30 killed in the Island Park region.
Wolves in Wyoming are still on a federal government protection list, but on Thursday, representative Cynthia Lummus of Wyoming issued this statement:
“Let’s trust our states; their wildlife biologists. Let’s trust my Wyoming Game and Fish Department that has been recognized as one of the best wildlife management agencies in the country. “
However, Andrea Santarsiere with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition said that Fish and Game is only attempting to wipe out the wolf population in Idaho.
“One hundred fifty is supposed to be the bare minimum we need, according to Fish and Wildlife Services, for recovery of wolf populations. We are not supposed to be managing for the minimum,” said Santarsiere.
Fish and Game also adds that despite selling 31,000 hunting tags in 2009, only 118 hunters actually harvested a wolf.
If wolves are not put back on a federal government protection list, the wolf hunting season is set to begin on Aug. 30.