Survey of non-resident hunters shows perception of wolf impact biggest factor in not buying elk tags-
As early as nine years ago, Idaho elk outfitters begin to tell the world that wolves had killed almost all the elk in the state. For the last two years Idaho Fish and Game Department honchos have joined in.
Today in an article* in Pocatello’s Idaho State Journal by Cody Bloomsburg, discovered an ID F & G survey of 2600 non-residents told that of those who did not return this year for an Idaho elk tag, 28 % blamed wolves, 13% blamed the recent non-resident fee increase, and just over 11% the bad economy.
This is the second year in a row that non-resident elk tag sales have declined (25% in 2008). A likely hypothesis is that the negative advertising barrage by the outfitters was not as effective as the ID Fish and Game officials following orders to poor mouth the state’s elk and deer prospects. ID Fish & Game did not begin to bemoan the supposed effect of wolves until two years ago.
The actual effect of wolves on Idaho elk populations is hard to measure. It is suspected that wolves are depressing or suppressing elk numbers in just two of Idaho’s 29 hunt areas. Most recently the Idaho elk population was estimated by Idaho Fish & Game elk surveys at 103,160 animals, at or slightly above the statewide objective.
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*The article by Bloomsburg is not on-line.