Luke Cuenco 10.14.21
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game decided late in September of 2021 that up to $200,000 from their budget will be used to pay hunters for culling the States overgrown wolf population. Since 2011 when wolves came off of Idaho’s managed species list, the population has continued to grow and is now aggressively and chronically attacking local livestock as well as the local elk population. The bounty system is currently in effect and will last until June 2022.
Idaho Offers to Pay Hunters Up to 2,500 to Cull Wolf Population
This bounty system for wolves is one of the things that would contribute to the relisting of wolves. This was a foreseeable consequence that the Fish and Wildlife Service would take a close look at some of the changes that were made.
-Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League
The $200,000 that has been allocated by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be given to the state’s Wolf Depredation Control Board who will then distribute it based on proven kills from hunters. In addition to the bounty, laws enacted back in June also now allow hunters to not only hunt the wolves, but use other methods normally not allowed such as trapping, snaring, night hunting with night vision equipment, using bait, hunting with dogs, and even hunting from vehicles. The new law also authorizes hunters to hunt and trap the wolves unrestricted on a single tag throughout the year on private property.
Current estimates of the Idaho wolf population put their numbers up to around 1,500 with 90% of that possibly being killed before federal authorities would take over management of the wolf population. New population estimates for Idaho’s wolves could be made available as early as January 2022. The amount of the bounty on each wolf is entirely dependent on the location of the confirmed kill. At the higher end, $2,500 can be awarded for killing a wolf in an area where Fish and Game says wolves are “chronically preying on livestock” while wolves killed in the northern tip of the state will fetch $1,000 and all other parts of the state $500 per wolf. However, Idaho’s Wolf Depredation Control Board has said that if funds start to dry up before June 2022 these bounties may be cut significantly.