Legislation aims to drastically reduce Idaho wolf population
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A house panel on Tuesday introduced legislation allowing the use of snowmobiles, ATVs, powered parachutes and other methods to hunt and kill wolves year-round and with no limits in most of Idaho.
The House Resources and Conservation Committee cleared the way for a public hearing on the proposed law backers say is needed because Idaho has too many wolves.
Wolves could be hunted year-round in the state with no limits in all but a rugged area of central Idaho extending from about Challis to Grangeville. Specifically, the legislation reclassifies wolves outside of that area from game animals to predators.
“When you make that reclassification to a predator, you still have to have a hunting license to shoot that predator, but there are no seasons, no limits,” said former Republican Sen. Jeff Siddoway, filling in for a senator who is out with COVID-19. He said wolves could also be hunted from helicopters and airplanes.
Siddoway said the plan is to reduce Idaho’s wolves from about 1,500 to 500.
The legislation says that once 500 wolves or fewer remain in the state, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission would be authorized to review wolf management policies to make sure there are at least 500 wolves and 50 packs.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game tracks wolf numbers using various methods, including cameras, and listed the 2020 population at 1,556 wolves, about the same as in 2019.
Wolves were protected in Idaho under the Endangered Species Act until being delisted in 2011.
Wolves are managed by Fish and Game under its Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.