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CURRENT WOLF POPULATION
746 (12/31/2011) – this number does not reflect the second half of the hunting season.
GOAL FOR WOLF POPULATION
In an anti-wolf rally held January 12, 2007, Idaho Gov. "Butch" Otter stated that his plan was to kill all but 100 wolves in the state, reducing them to 10 packs, which would leave the species hovering above the federally mandated minimum which would put wolves back on the Endangered Species List.
While such talk could be political rhetoric, the sad fact is that Idaho is indeed doing a great job of demolishing their wolf population. Indeed their 2012 hunt will continue to expand by increasing bag limits.
Current Wolf Management plan: The 2012 raised one limit in a region where there even are limits. They expanded trapping to 7 regions. The hunt will run from August 31 through March 31 for all but the Lolo region.
Some of the most powerful and influential businessmen in the United States during the 19th century were the wealthy livestock owners. These beef barons had already pushed for the legislators in Washington, D.C. to give them free access to public lands for use as grazing ranges – this practice continues today, by the way – and the powerful livestock lobby didn't stop there.
In 1885 the federal government established the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey. This innocent sounding division was created to research insects and birds. However, it didn't take long for the powerful livestock owners to subvert the bureau and turn them against wolves.
Livestock owners described "their" public lands as being infested by wolves. The ranchers demanded that the federal government secure the land so that they could safely put their livestock on those pastures.
Publicly-owned land used by private individuals to operate for-profit companies demanded that the government spend tax payer many to destroy an entire species. Sounds unbelievable doesn't it?
But in 1906, the U.S. Forest Service did EXACTLY this. And thus did the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey become a wolf-extermination unit.
While this section is listed as "history," don't assume that anything has changed all that much. You won't find record of a U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey in the federal government today. This is because the name was changed – Today, the division is now called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and they are closely related to the U.S.D.A.'s Wildlife Services.
This decision came from the very top as President Roosevelt gave the go ahead.
As with the rest of the 48 states, this government extermination program killed off all wolves in Idaho by the mid-20th century.
In 1973, the Nixon administration signed in to law the Endangered Species Act, which protected gray wolves, but they only existed in very small pockets near the Canadian border.
Idaho was one of three states which were involved in the 1994 Yellowstone wolf reintroduction program. The wolf reintroduction was a true success, and Idaho became home to the largest portion of the resulting population. However, Idaho is also home to the most rabid of the anti-wolf interests.
Idaho and Montana wolf populations were removed from the endangered species list by a rider attached to a budget bill in 2009 by Montana U.S. Senator Jon Tester.
Idaho's first wolf hunt was in 2009 and had a quota of 220 wolves. This represented about 25 percent of their wolf population. The state fell short of its goal, which made Idaho get far more aggressive with their 2011 wolf hunt. The 2011 wolf hunt only had quotas for certain regions of the state and introduced trapping. They killed 379 wolves, which represents about 40 percent of the state's wolf population.