The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is planning to expand the wolf trapping season and to open private lands to trapping. On Jan. 27, a poster appeared on Facebook offering expense reimbursement of up to $1,000 from the Foundation for Wildlife Management. The payments are funded by a grant from Fish and Game’s Community Challenge Grant and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and are supported by the Fish and Game Commission, the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association and Idaho Farm Bureau.
Wolves were reintroduced in 1995 because a whole lot of people cared about wolves taking their proper ecological role in ecosystem health. The Legislature and the commission have made it clear that wolves, and other predators, are not welcome in Idaho. Fish and Game wildlife biologists and conservationists understand that predators are the most important piece of the ecosystem puzzle. Instead, the commission has teamed up with the Foundation for Wildlife Management to manage wolves with increased trapping. The commission is setting policy according to the wishes of the legislators, trappers, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Cattlemen’s Association, the Farm Bureau and their partner, Wildlife Services. There is no consideration of conservation whatsoever when it comes to predators.
Wildlife are so vulnerable in the winter. A baited trap, a snow machine or an ATV have nothing to do with sportsman-like hunting and are inhumane and unethical. The Wood River Wolf Project, a group of conservationists, has worked for years with ranchers to implement non-lethal methods for keeping livestock safe. The commission is ignoring its mandate to set policy based on good science.
The Department of Fish and Game has stated that since people like me don’t pay their salaries, I should not have a say about how wildlife is managed. But there are many Idahoans who care deeply for conserving wildlife and are willing to pay for conservation of wildlife. Please let the department and the commission hear from you.
Christine Gertschen, Sun Valley