Get Paid to Trap Wolves in Idaho

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

FW4M offers up to $1,000 per wolf, and you can keep the pelt. Success rates remain low

The gray wolf population in Idaho is estimated at around 1,000 animals. ©Jim Cumming-Shutterstock

Depending on who you talk to, there are either too many wolves or not enough of them in the lower 48 states. But The Foundation for Wildlife Management (FW4M) says there are definitely too many wolves in Idaho, and they are paying trappers up to $1,000 per kill to help manage the population. Trappers also get to keep the pelts. 

FW4M is a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting ungulate population recovery in areas negatively impacted by wolves. To be eligible for the payment, you have to be a member of the group ($35 membership fee), which claims to assist the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in meeting its wolf-management objectives, promote youth in the outdoors and educate the general public on the negative impact the successful reintroduction of wolves has had on elk and moose populations. Regular Idaho Fish and Game rules still apply. 

The latest report from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game estimates approximately 1,000 wolves roam the state. According to the report, the wolf population peaked early in the summer of 2019 at about 1,500 following the birth of pups, but the population has moderated to around 1,000 animals, thanks in part to hunting and trapping efforts. 

On the heels of this new population estimate, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission has voted to increase the maximum number of wolf tags for individuals to 15 hunting tags and 15 trapping tags for the 2020-2021 season. These changes apply statewide, simplifying the wolf hunting and trapping seasons and rules.

In 2019, more than 45,000 wolf tags were sold in Idaho, and hunters harvested 188 wolves — a success rate of 0.4 percent.

The Commission has also proposed extending the hunting and trapping season on public and private land across the state. Last week, Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, introduced a bill that would offer increased opportunities for wolf harvests in areas with chronic wolf depredation on livestock. It would also allow for year-round wolf hunts in proposed “wolf-free zones” across southern Idaho.

According to Idahostatesman.com, the legislation contains a provision that if wolf numbers in Idaho fall below 200 and 20 packs, state officials would review the wolf-management policies.

According to IdahoNews.com, the hunting harvest rates on gray wolves are generally very low. In 2019, more than 45,000 wolf tags were sold in Idaho, and hunters harvested 188 wolves — a success rate of 0.4 percent.

Success rates tend to be slightly higher for trappers who harvested more wolves (200) than hunters did in 2019. There were only five people in Idaho in 2019 who harvested more than 10 wolves each, which included hunting and trapping.

The Department is asking for public input on the potential changes to wolf hunting and trapping seasons to reduce conflicts from wolf predation and to consider additional proposals submitted to the Commission. 

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