Idaho Officials Propose Wolf Baiting to Save Elk Population

Daniel Xu | February 14, 2014


Idaho officials are looking for ways to reverse the decline in the state’s elk numbers, which is caused partly by wolf predation.
Image from Derek Bakken on the Wikimedia Commons

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (DFG) proposed this week that hunters be allowed to use bait to hunt wolves in the northern part of the state. According to The Spokesman-Review, officials hope that more wolf harvests will decrease the impact of the predators on elk in the upper St. Joe River drainage. The DFG stated that wolves are partly responsible for population decline and strange behavior in elk, including a migration to southeast Idaho that farmers and ranchers are calling an “invasion.”

The Associated Press reported that DFG biologists are increasingly worried about calf ratios. Recent aerial surveys found that the number of elk calves have dropped drastically. The animals are also showing up in habitats unused to supporting elk.

“One of the things that has changed is elk distribution,” Fish and Game program coordinator Toby Boudreau told Boise State Public Radio. “Over the past 15 years we’ve seen elk populations increase in places that we really didn’t have elk in the mid to late 90s.”

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