Due to 2011 budget rider (Sec. 1713), gray wolves in Montana and Idaho lost federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. As a consequence of this, both States have allowed a hunting season on them. The season started on August 30, 2011 and in some sections won’t end until March 31, 2011. 7 months is unheard of. As Chris Kirby pointed out in our Wolf Forum, “Idaho does not hunt any big game animal for 7 months but that is the term for wolves in the Sawtooth zone.” They are also allowing trapping of Wolves this year.
It is written in the Wolf Conservation and Management in Idaho Progress Report 2010, that biologist estimated there were approximately 705 Wolves in Idaho at the end of 2010. As of today, November 1st, 2011, 95 of those Wolves have been hunted and killed in Idaho. In Montana’s 2010 Gray Wolf Program annual report the Wolf number was estimated at 566. So far this season 50 have been hunted and killed there. The season is long yet. It will be easier to spot Wolves when the snow is heavy on the ground. Now that rifle and trapping seasons are open these numbers will certainly rise significantly.
Wolves depend on the pack for survival. When members of the pack are suddenly taken from them, their job becomes increasingly more difficult or in some cases impossible. In some regions extending the season through the end of March will effect breeding and pregnant females will also be at risk. I am shocked by the insensitivity to their needs by wildlife management when they put these rules into effect.
If you would like to voice your opinion on this matter here are the numbers to the Governor’s offices.
Idaho - (208) 334-2100 Montana - (406) 444-3111
With Wolves being restored to such a small percentage of their historical range, it is the opinion of Wolf Howl Animal Preserve that there is no reason whatsoever for Wolves to be hunted in either of these States and all of the Northern Rockies.
You can keep track of the Wolf season in both States at this link on our Wolf forum. It is updated frequently.