The Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee Jan. 22 voted to introduce legislation that would designate “wolf-free” and “chronic depredation” zones, creating more opportunities to hunt wolves year-round.
The vote paved the way for a bill to be printed for review.
Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, who proposed the legislation, said it aims “to try to start to get a handle on our wolf population and management of wolves.”
Big-game management units where depredations have occurred in 4 out of 5 years would be designated chronic depredation zones where year-round hunting of wolves would be allowed.
Units south of Interstate 84 would be designated wolf-free zones and opened for year-round hunting. Idaho’s wolf population is generally north of I-84.
Livestock depredation by wolves remains unacceptably high, Brackett said. He appreciates Idaho Department of Fish and Game efforts to manage wolves, “but more needs to be done. Ranchers’ livelihoods are being threatened by wolves.”
Between July 1 and Nov. 15, USDA Wildlife Services conducted 161 depredation investigations in the state and confirmed 75 of them were wolf-caused. The agency killed 30 wolves and radio-collared one, compared to 35 and two, respectively, during the same span of 2018.