From the Lexington Herald Leader:

Legislation sending just under $400,000 to a state board to use to kill problem wolves in Idaho headed to the governor’s desk on Wednesday.

The Senate voted 26-4 to approve the budget bill that taps money in the state’s general fund to kill wolves that prey on livestock or wildlife.

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From The Lewiston Tribune in Idaho:

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced Monday that it killed 17 wolves in the state’s remote Lolo Zone last month as part of a long-running effort to help struggling elk herds there.

The agency has carried out wolf control operations there for eight of the last nine years. This year, like last, the agency used a private contractor to kill the wolves by shooting them from helicopters. In previous years, the agency partnered with the U.S. Wildlife Services agency to carry out the work.

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From the Idaho State Journal:

USDA Wildlife Services has reached a settlement with five conservation organizations agreeing to temporarily stop using lethal methods to target gray wolves on certain public lands and to suspend its use of M-44s, also known as “cyanide bombs.”

The new restrictions will remain in place until the federal agency completes an environmental review of the impacts of killing wolves.

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From the Idaho Statesman:

An appeals court on Monday handed down its decisions pertaining to a 2016 helicopter operation in which the Idaho Department of Fish and Game violated the National Environmental Policy Act by attaching radio collars to four wolves.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed parts of a 2017 ruling by an Idaho federal judge and overturned other parts, according to court documents.

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From the Idaho Mountain Express:

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission formally expanded wolf hunting and trapping opportunities across the state via conference call on Thursday, opening up year-round wolf hunting in a majority of Idaho’s game units and approving 11-month hunting seasons in others.

The ruling, primarily enacted to decrease wolf predation on livestock and elk herds, followed the commission’s Jan. 23 vote to raise Idaho’s wolf hunting and trapping tag limit from five to 15 wolves per person.

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BOISE — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission on Thursday extended wolf hunting and trapping seasons.

The unanimous vote put nine proposals into effect that extended the wolf hunting and trapping seasons in much of Southwest Idaho, where wolves are fairly rare. The commission’s consideration of the topic brought in an enormous amount of public comment with 27,076 electronic statements pouring from people worldwide.

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MOSCOW, Idaho — University of Idaho researchers say they’ve found success using a more efficient and cheaper way to estimate the number of wolves living in the Gem State.

The team’s secret tool? DNA.

Using DNA from wolves that were killed by hunters or were killed for other reasons, the UI study identified wolf sibling groups and provided estimates for breeding pairs in Idaho.

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A new tool to determine how many breeding pairs of wolves live in Idaho doesn’t rely on collars, cameras or visual observation.

Researchers at the University of Idaho have been using genetic material from harvested first-year wolves to pinpoint how many breeding pairs of wolves live in the Gem State.

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More wolf hunting and trapping tags are available in the Salmon region this winter than in the past, according to a press release from Idaho Fish and Game Public Information Specialist Brian Pearson.

The number of permits in each category was increased last month to 15, from 10, by action of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. Pearson said the increase will not be reflected in the Idaho Big Game 2019-20 Seasons and Rules brochure, but has been updated online.

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The Idaho Department of Fish and Game recently published a new statewide wolf population estimate based on an improved model incorporating remote camera surveys and other monitoring efforts. The estimate indicates Idaho’s wolf population remains robust through fluctuations of births and mortality over the year—an estimated peak of 1,541 wolves in summer 2019 after the annual birth cycle.

Since the federal government lifted Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in 2011, the Fish and Game Commission has expanded wolf seasons in a stepwise manner in response to increases in depredations on livestock and predation on other big game species. Despite the Commission’s systematic progression of wolf hunting and trapping seasons, the 2019 wolf population estimate is still at levels well above federal recovery criteria of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs statewide.

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