Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission will consider a new plan Monday to reduce the wolf population in the state’s north central mountains. Idaho says that, even though the gray wolf is back under federal protection, the state still has the authority to manage wolves that prey on elk.
August 16th was to have been the day the Idaho Fish and Game Commission would decide the details of the state’s next wolf hunt.
Wildlife officials had hoped the hunt would lead to fewer wolves in the mountains between Lewiston and the Montana border. They say the elk there are disappearing and the wolves are partially responsible.
But with this year’s hunt cancelled, Idaho Fish and Game has developed a plan that allows the state to reduce the wolf population.
Conservationists like Jesse Timberlake say the state is making wolves a scapegoat.
Timberlake works for the group Defenders of Wildlife in Boise. He says the elk population has been dying off there for years, even before wolves were reintroduced in Idaho.
Jesse Timberlake: “They had some large fires there back in the day and the forests are growing back. The canopy is covering the area and that means less food for the elk. They’ve had some severe winters; that has seriously brought down the populations of elk.”
The Fish and Game Commission will decide whether to approve the wolf plan at its meeting in Idaho Falls.