Carter Niemeyer: How many wolves will be killed in the hunt?

Wolf expert trapper, shooter, advocate, manager Carter Niemeyer writes special essay for this blog-

How many wolves will hunters kill in Idaho in the upcoming wolf season?

Copyright © Carter Niemeyer

We can all speculate on the number of wolves that hunters may kill if a wolf hunting season happens in Idaho, but the outcome will depend on a number of variables that are hard to predict. The quota for the state of Idaho is 220 wolves (I am not going to address the Tribal quota of an additional 35 wolves). I think that the full quota could be reached quickly if hunters start killing wolves early in the season with no consideration of age or size. Hunters who want to even the score for all of the elk that have been killed by wolves will probably be satisfied to kill any wolf they see. On the other hand, a real sportsman may wait until November when the the wolf pups have grown and all of the wolves have thick, prime winter pelts. Finding large, adult wolves that present themselves as easy targets will be a difficult task.

I predict that most wolves killed early in the season will be taken by hunters who have purchased a wolf tag and opportunistically encounter a wolf while hunting for other big game species. Many hunters report seeing wolves while on a deer or elk stand or bugling or cow-calling for elk. Hunters will be pre-positioned in a tree stand or other camouflaged situation and a wolf or wolves, hunting for their next meal, will come upon the hunter and be shot. I think this is how most of the wolves that are taken legally will die. Wolves’ encounters with people are often at very close range. With 10,000 or more hunters in the field carrying wolf tags the 220 quota could be attained in this manner. On the other hand, if hunters are more particular about the size and quality of wolf they want to kill, they may postpone killing one until they actually can kill a trophy. Wolf hunters are going to have to be very stealthy and surprise a wolf pack or they aren’t going to see them. Wolves, with their wary nature and keen senses, have the advantage over people.

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