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F&G proposes extending wolf hunting and trapping

Idaho Fish and Game is seeking public feedback on a proposal to extend wolf hunting and trapping opportunities and enhanced methods of take. The proposed changes relate to Idaho legislative action that will take effect July 1.

Senate Bill 1211 recently passed into law and extends wolf hunting and trapping with foothold traps to year-round on private property with landowner permission. The law also expands the legal methods of take for wolves to include methods currently legal in Idaho for taking other wild canines, such as coyotes and foxes, but closed for taking other big game species.

Those expanded methods of take include:

Weapon restrictions (for hunting big game) do not apply
Exemption from shooting hours (written permission from the landowner is required on private land, and a permit from the Director of Fish and Game is required on public land, which is consistent with requirements for spotlighting coyotes at night.)
Hunting wolves over bait is allowed on private land
Motorized vehicle restriction for hunting big game do not apply
Dogs may be used to pursue wolves, and no hound hunter permit is required

These expanded methods do not currently include aerial shooting of wolves, which is subject to the Federal Airborne Hunting Act and not allowed in Idaho. If Idaho should allow aerial hunting of wolves, it would be specific to designated control actions and by permit from the Idaho Department of Agriculture, which is authorized through the Federal Airborne Hunting Act.

While the recent law establishes a year-round foothold trapping season for wolves on private land and provides the ability to allow expanded methods of take, the expectation of the Legislature was for the Fish and Game Commission to set seasons for snaring and expanded methods of take through proclamation.

Fish and Game proposes no change to the wolf snaring seasons currently in place on public and private land, and it also proposes no change to the foothold trapping seasons on public land.

The proposal allows expanded methods of take on private land year-round, provided landowner permission. The proposal also allows expanded methods of take for hunting on public land from Nov. 15 through March 31 in areas with a history of chronic livestock depredation, or where elk herds are below management objectives, including units 4, 4A, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10A, 12, 14, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 18, 19, 20, 20A, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 32A, 33, 34, 35, 36, 36A, 36B, 37, 39, 43, 44, 49, 50,62, 64, 65, 67.

Wolf hunting and methods of take would remain unchanged from currently established seasons on public land between April 1 through Nov. 14 in those same units. Wolf hunting seasons and methods of take on public land in all other units (those without a history of chronic livestock depredation or that are currently meeting biological management objectives for elk) will also remain unchanged.

A detailed summary of the current and proposed wolf hunting and trapping seasons and rules can be viewed on the public feedback webpage.