Idaho F&G kills Lolo wolves from helicopter

Idaho politicians’ long hoped for campaign to kill Lolo wolves has begun with small “success”-

Idaho F&G kills Lolo wolves from helicopter. Lewiston Tribune.

“. . . the hunting has been halted because it hasn’t been as successful as expected, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game official says.”

After about decade, Idaho Fish and Game began their reduction of the number of wolves in the Lolo area in north central Idaho along the Montana border. They got five wolves. Their operation is already over for now.  Too expensive!!! They say they will rely on outfitters to kill wolves and a long and generous quota of wolves in the Lolo for the hunting season.

I have been writing about this plan, and it has been discussed on the blog for a long time. My position for a number of years has been that there are not as many wolves in the Lolo as commonly thought, and they are a minor reason at best why the elk herds in the area remain far below their previous numbers (prior to the 1990s).

Biologists, except one, who were part of the no longer required “peer review” by the ESA were very skeptical whether this action would increase elk numbers. This included a biologist who clearly did not like wolves. I suspect this will have little long term effect on wolves in the larger area because there are not many wolves, just like there are not many elk. Of course, the two logically go together, don’t they?

I see the wolf reduction  as a blood ritual with the intent to satisfy politicians in the local area and in Boise. Performance of ritual is vital to perpetuation of a myth — the myth being that wolves are holding back a return to halcyon elk hunting days of the 1950s.

Idaho Fish and Game Deputy Director Moore pegged to agency’s top job

Virgil Moore isn’t the candidate whom the anti-wolf crowd wanted to have directing the IDFG. I hope he does a good job but only time will tell. There are a lot of pressures on the IDFG to be very heavy handed with wolves if they get management authority.

He’s been with the IDFG for a long time.

Idaho Fish and Game Deputy Director Moore pegged to agency’s top job.
Idaho Statesman

Idaho Fish and Game feeding wildife in SE Idaho

Elk, deer, and pronghorn being fed since January 1-

Idaho Fish and Game doesn’t like to feed, but deep snow and frozen snow after a melt has prompted off and on feeding.  Some of it is to keep the wild animals away from farms.

Idaho Fish and Game news release.

Posted in Deer, Elk, pronghorn. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Idaho Fish and Game feeding wildife in SE Idaho

Idaho Fish and Game Commission suspends 2008-2012 Wolf Management Plan

Directs Department to prepare a new plan consistent with 2002 Legislative Plan.

The IDFG Commission voted unanimously to suspend the 2008-2012 wolf management plan, which maintains a wolf population of 518 wolves in the state of Idaho, and directed the Department to prepare “an appropriate wolf species management plan, consistent with the 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan approved by the Idaho Legislature and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

In other words, this means that the IDFG has abandoned all pretense of biological or scientific management of wolves in favor of a politically driven plan which only commits to maintain 10 packs minimum but would institute remedial management measures if the population falls below 15 packs.

IDFG Wolf Motion to suspend 2008 plan

Here is the language of the motion which was unanimously passed:

(1) Continue the pursuit of control actions under 10j for the protection of ungulate herds while wolves remain listed under the Endangered Species Act;

(2) Suspend immediately the 2008-2012 Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan; and

(3) Postpone consideration, until delisting resumes, as to the specifics of day-to-day state wolf management and upon delisting of gray wolves in Idaho; the Commission will direct the Department to prepare an appropriate wolf species management plan, consistent with the 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan approved by the Idaho Legislature and the u.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Youtube video of the meeting and more comment to come. Watch this space. Read the rest of this entry »

US Fish & Wildlife Service takes wolf management lead in idaho

News release from Idaho Fish and Game reporting on the result of Governor Otter’s abandonment of wolf management-

US Fish and Wildlife Service takes over wolf management in Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game will immediately work to transfer wolf management to federal government

New news story has an important change-

Unlike the original story today on Otter’s decision, the story late tonight (Oct. 18) says “Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers will continue to collect information about illegal wolf kills, as they would for any endangered species and transfer it to federal law enforcement officials.” [emphasis mine]

Idaho Fish and Game will immediately work to transfer wolf management to federal government. By Roger Phillips. Idaho Statesman.

– – – –

Opinion from the Idaho Statesman. Our View: Wyoming has earned Gov. Butch Otter’s ire, not the feds.  My view is you won’t win votes bashing Wyoming. That’s what the governor figures.

Reminder: Comments Due on IDFG’s Bighorn Sheep Plan Tomorrow

I posted this at the end of August. It’s time to get your comments in.

Don’t color outside the lines

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has released its Draft Bighorn Sheep Management Plan which essentially draws lines around existing bighorn sheep populations and prevents recovery to historical habitat. This is a big problem because the bighorn population has been in steep decline due to diseases spread by domestic sheep.

A population that recovered from over hunting and disease in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s started to increase after hunting regulations and reintroductions took place but the recovery was short lived and now the native and reintroduced populations have suffered from repeated contact with diseased domestic sheep and goats. The population numbered around 5000 in the 1990’s but is now about 2900 and continuing to decline.

Two areas, the Pioneer Mountains west of Mackay, and the Palisades east of Idaho Falls, are areas where dispersing sheep are commonly seen. Under this plan these areas have been essentially written off due to the presence of Federal sheep grazing allotments. Another area that isn’t included as a priority area for sheep recovery is the Sawtooths and the Boise and Payette drainages. These areas contain very suitable habitat yet there are domestic sheep allotments there as well.

The Management Plan is not likely to curb the declines in bighorn sheep populations and the IDFG is afraid to advocate for bighorn sheep conservation. They hold the power to really make the Federal agencies pay attention and close sheep grazing allotments but the IDFG is a captured agency that depends on the good graces of the livestock industry dominated legislature.

Comment on the Bighorn Sheep Management Plan.

The Comment Period Ends September 30, 2010.
Read the rest of this entry »