Idaho Tax Dollars would have been better spent on educating our Children, rather than wasting it to insure Ranchers get to line their pockets. Even with Wolves not being the top predator as stated by IDFG of Elk, theyd still lead the public to believe that they are… Until they get put on front street with statements they have made in the media.
What has Idaho’s Tax money gotten us?
Since 2014, Wildlife Services has killed 136 wolves after livestock deaths, and another 41 wolves from helicopters in the Lolo country to aid elk. During that time, 207 cattle and sheep were confirmed killed by wolves.
The money spent for that work included $1.2 million provided by Idaho taxpayers through the Wolf Control Board.
Another $255,300 for wolf killing came from hunting licenses, while livestock producers paid $294,400, according to the board’s records. It still has $1,064,724 unspent.
The board is expected Jan. 26 to ask the Legislature’s joint budget panel for another $400,000 from Idaho’s general fund for the coming year. It also will ask to continue its program past June 2019 — repealing the sunset provision — and settle into a permanent yearly funding structure of $220,000 from taxpayers and $220,000 from hunting license sales, sportmens’ groups and the livestock industry.
Without that money, Wildlife Services’ response to depredations would be severely stretched, said Todd Grimm, the federal agency’s Idaho director.
“Everything about wolves costs money,” he said.
The number of confirmed wolf kills of livestock has risen in part because Grimm’s agents have learned more about the different ways wolves kill them. They’ve found bite marks and bruises on the faces and tails of larger cattle, over 700 pounds, that were not eaten.
“They are so stressed out, they have a heart attack,” Grimm said.
Idahoans since 2011 have been able to hunt and trap the predators in seasons that are liberal and long. Hunters and trappers have killed 200 to 250 wolves annually over the last several years.
Hunters have also killed more than 20,000 elk a year since 2014. Last year may have been their best season yet.
Fish and Game biologists in recent years have supported additional efforts to kill wolves by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency. That’s especially true in wild places like the Lolo country of North Idaho and the Frank Church River of No Return that are so remote, few wolf hunters or trappers travel there. The biologists believed that high wolf numbers, along with mountain lions and bears, kept the elk population from bouncing back from habitat losses and fires.
Elk numbers have largely grown along the agricultural edge of their range. But even in remote areas, the survival rate for cows and calves has risen. Wildlife Services hasn’t been used to kill wolves in the Lolo for the last two years, but Fish and Game biologist Jim Hayden said his agency still believes killing wolves has helped the elk.
“There’s a possibility that there’s a cause and effect relationship there,” Hayden said. “We can’t confirm that. We can say that hunting and trapping have reduced and stabilized wolf numbers.”
Wolves aren’t actually the top predator for cow elk and calves, he said — that’s mountain lions and bears, respectively. Statewide, 93 percent of cow elk are surviving now absent hunting.