by Justin King
Boise – Ranchers in Idaho are asking the state government to help eliminate some of the state’s elk population. The state is halfway through the wolf season, which was said to have been introduced to stop the wolves from attacking elk.
A group from Mayfield claims that Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game has been unable to protect their livelihoods from elk herds which they say are trampling their fences, crops, and causing other problems. The department currently allows a small group of hunters to participate in “depredation hunts,” in which the hunters are allowed to kill animals while hoping to drive the herds away.
Elk hunters have actively encouraged thinning the wolf population. Some have established co-ops to shoulder the cost of trapping wolves that are eating the prized trophy animals. Wolf trappers are paid up to $500 per kill.
Conservationists unsuccessfully attempted to stop the wolf hunts and predicted an explosion in the elk population if the wolf, an apex predator, was hunted. Tim Preso, an attorney representing the conservationists said of the wolf hunting efforts last week:
There is every reason to believe that this is not going to be a one-off, they have set a goal of inflating the elk population by removing wolves. According to their own plan that’s a multi-year undertaking. So I see every reason to believe that this is going to be a recurring activity.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, almost 900 wolves have been killed since they lost federal protection.
One of the proposed solutions to Mayfield’s problem is to move the herds closer to the areas where wolves roam.