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Idaho at a glance
Gray wolves once existed throughout Idaho; however, persecution and, eventually, poisoning began shortly after European settlement. Wolves were reintroduced to central Idaho in 1995 and 1996 in an effort to facilitate recovery of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies states. Wolves continue to be controversial, and public attitudes vary. Main prey for wolves there are elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and beaver. Most wolves occupy the central part of the state.
Idaho’s wolf management plan includes an annual hunting season. Additional information
The state is considering a plan to reduce its population of approximately 1,500 wolves by 90 percent, down to approximately 150 wolves. More information about that can be found in this article.
Idaho residents are asked to report wolf sightings through this link.
Common Name: gray wolf, northwestern wolf, Rocky Mountain wolf
Latin Name: Canis lupus
Current Wolf Population, Trend, Status
Number of wolves: Approximately 1,500.
Population trend: Increasing
Legal status: State managed as of May 5, 2011
Recovery and Management
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s News, Information and Recovery Status Reports for the Northern Rockies
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service page on gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains
- Wolves and Climate Change
- Grizzlies and Wolves in the Northern Rockies
- Yellowstone After Wolves – Will Gray Wolves Restructure the Ecosystem?
Prey and Predation
- From the Idaho Department of Fish and Game: On May 5, 2011, wolves in Idaho were removed from the list of endangered species, and management reverted to the state under state code 36-1107, and guided by Idaho’s 2002 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. [pdf, 662 kb]Livestock and domestic animal owners may take nonlethal steps they deem necessary to protect their property. The Utah State University Extension’s brochure Lines of Defense: Coping with Predators in the Rocky Mountain Region [pdf file] provides a great resource for nonlethal management options.A permit must be obtained from the director to control (remove) wolves not molesting or attacking livestock or domestic animals. Control is also permitted by owners, their employees and agents pursuant to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game harvest rules.Idaho Code states that wolves molesting or attacking livestock or domestic animals may be controlled (killed) by livestock or domestic animal owners, their employees, agents and animal damage control personnel. No permit from Fish and Game is necessary. The incident must be reported to the Fish and Game director within 72 hours (although additional time may be allowed if access to the site where taken is limited). Wolves taken in this manner remain the property of the state.To report suspected wolf depredations on livestock or pets, contact: USDA Wildlife Services, toll-free: 866-487-3297 or 208-373-1630
- Barber, S. M., Mech, L. D., and White, P. J. 2005. Yellowstone elk calf mortality following wolf restorations: Bears remain top summer predators. Yellowstone Science 133:37-44.
- Cook, R. C., Cook, J. G., & Mech, L. 2004. Nutritional Condition of Northern Yellowstone Elk. Journal of Mammalogy, 85(4), 714-722.
- Effects of wolf removal on livestock depredation recurrence and wolf recovery in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming