Boise. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission met today amidst an audience dominated by wolf supporters, but no public comments were allowed.
They set a price of $26.50 for a wolf tag. In explaining the low fee for the tag the commission chair said that wolves may not ever generate money, “kinda like women’s sports.”
The commissioners were debating whether they could make money off of selling wolf tags, and the chair said “that’s a hook that we could somehow. . because I don’t ever see this critter ever being like some of our big game where it pays its own way. It’s kinda like women’s sports you know. You need football to kinda pay the bill.”
Update. Thanks to Brian Ertz, here is a video of the sexist commissioner’s comment on You Tube. The person speaking is Jim Caswell, head of the governor’s Office of Species Conservation. The species office is, according to some displacing the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. It being yet another forum for the extractive industry. The voice in background is Cameron Wheeler, head of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
There will be ten “commissioner’s tags” reserved. These will be special wolf tags for the commissioners.
Below is the news release from the Idaho Dept. and Fish and Game. The release does not mention that a special “governor’s tag” was also established.
Before any hunting can take place, the Idaho Legislature must change the law and the wolf must be delisted. The delisting rule will appear in the Federal Register on Monday, next week.
Here is the news release from Idaho Fish and Game.
Contact: Niels Nokkentved
For Immediate Release
Wolf Report: Planning for Wolf Hunts
If changes in state law, recommended by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, are enacted by the state Legislature, it would cost $26.50 for a tag to hunt wolves in Idaho once they are removed from the endangered species list.
The Commission will ask the Legislature to change state statutes to allow the commission to authorize wolf hunts, so if wolves are removed from the endangered species list the department would be prepared to set hunts and sell tags. The federal government has said it plans to initiate the delisting process this month. An actual hunting season on wolves could be months or years away depending on the outcome of that process.
Commissioners Thursday, January 25, approved recommended changes to three statutes that would authorize the commission to issue tags and set fees. The commissioners also agreed to ask for up to 10 special commissioners’ wolf tags, and to set the price of a resident wolf tag at $26.50 and a nonresident tag at $256.
Hunters also must purchase an Idaho hunting license.
In addition, the commissioners proposed an increase in the price of black bear and mountain lion tags to make them the same amount as wolf tags, and the same amount as lion tags were until 2000 – $26.50 for resident tags and $256 for nonresident tags.
For the changes to be approved this year in time for the possibility of wolf delisting this fall, the proposed changes must be submitted as proposed legislation by early February.
Meanwhile, Fish and Game officials are working on a wolf hunting and species management plan under the guidelines of the Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan that would reduce wolf numbers in areas of conflict and try to stabilize numbers across the rest of the state.
Any hunting seasons must be approved by the commissioners.
Large carnivore coordinator Steve Nadeau has assembled a planning team that includes the Fish and Game wildlife staff members and wolf specialist. The public will be involved at various levels throughout the planning process.
Fish and Game officials expect to have a final plan for hunting delisted wolves in Idaho ready for Commission approval in November.
Idaho has never had a hunting season on wolves. They were killed off across most of their range in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. By the time they were listed as an endangered species in 1974, they were reduced to a small population in the northeastern corner of Minnesota and Isle Royale, Michigan.
In 1995, a federal reintroduction program brought 35 wolves to Idaho. Today, officials estimate about 650 wolves in 71 packs, and 41 or more breeding pairs inhabit Idaho.
Reacting to the Commission meeting, Nate Helm, executive director for the organization “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife-Idaho” emailed his supporters:
In a quick and drama free way the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commissioners voted to set the pricing for wolf tags for sportsmen.
The Commission’s efforts come as an effort to ensure that when delisting comes they are prepared to offer the tags and have all of the authorization needed to do so.
They recommended statutory changes to include the wolf along side bears and lions in pricing. Their recommendations go to the legislature for that body’s opportunity to make it “official”.
In addition to the authority to sell tags the Commission will be asking for the authority to offer up to ten (10) “Commissioner’s tags” for use by them in offsetting their wolf management costs.
Steve Nadeau, State Large Carnivor Manager, told Commissioners that the first tag could have tremendous appeal.
The meeting was dominated by the pro-wolf crowd who used cameras to capture the meetings proceedures from a number of angles.
I expect we will hear more on this topic as the recommendation is printed and heard in legislative committees.
I think it goes without saying that SFW-Idaho is eager to transition from management under the ESA (no management) to state management where sportsmen can play a role.