The Idaho wolf hunt officially started on September 1st, 2009. I’ve blogged about Idaho’s misguided, misunderstood and uneducated views about wolves a few times in the past.
Essentially the state is issuing a ton of wolf tags in order to reach the kill threshold of 220 wolves. If just a portion of the tags are used, Idaho’s entire population of approx. 1,000 wolves could all be slaughtered. There are no stipulations regarding wolf pups and mothers nursing pups in addition to alpha male and female wolves. If too many of the wolves are killed, the grey wolves will return to the endangered species list and reintroduction efforts will begin anew… costing taxpayers a ton of money for reintroduction – again.
Here’s a couple quotes I pulled from a Defenders of Wildlife statement:
“No other endangered species has ever been delisted at such a low population level and then immediately hunted to even lower unsustainable levels. This clearly is not responsible wolf management.”
“Idaho’s wildlife agency has stated that its intent is to reduce the population to only 518 wolves, while the Idaho state legislature’s official policy is that all wolves be removed ‘by whatever means necessary.’”
- Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife
The Idaho wolf hunt sparked off the “Obama Tags” controversy with yet another example of stellar political representation of Idaho. Honestly, it is getting more and more difficult to tell people I live in Idaho. Read this NYT Opinion piece : Hunting Wolves, and Men for more.
The Bottom Line
Wolves are a natural part of a thriving, healthy ecosystem. Since their reintroduction to Idaho deer and elk numbers have actually increased. Many hunters mistakenly blame the devil wolves for killing off the deer and elk (and on occasion stealing their women and whiskey) available for hunting when in fact, their numbers are rising. Fear and lack of education is a dangerous mix.
Many of the anti-wolf crowd think wolves are going to eat their children – seriously. All things considered, one has a greater chance of being struck by lightning. Yes. Lightning.
My personal experience with wolves have all been positive. I’ve backpacked, hiked and camped all over Idaho in areas with wolves and have never once experienced a problem. Wolves do not like people – at all. Wolf encounters typically occur in areas where human habitation has overtaken wolf habitation. Meaning, they’ve got no place to go.
Bad News, Good News
Environmental groups were recently told by a federal judge that wolf delisting from endangered species act protections was likely illegal. Despite this, the judge won’t grant an injunction against the hunt, however, a future lawsuit may restore the wolves to protected status. As of this writing 8 wolves have already been killed.
Learn more about how to help wolves, visit SaveWolves.org!