Hunting

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt a wolf- and coyote-hunting derby set for early January in east-central Idaho.

WildEarth Guardians, Cascadia Wildlands and the Boulder-White Clouds Council filed the lawsuit late Thursday in federal court in Idaho against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

The groups contend the BLM violated environmental laws on Thursday by issuing Idaho for Wildlife a special use permit to hold the competitive derby on BLM land.

stonebraker
University of Idaho Library

William Allen Stonebraker worked and played in the rugged central Idaho wilderness at the turn of the 20th century and he's left behind a unique legacy of photographs to tell his story. That photo collection has just been released by the University of Idaho Library.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Federal officials are going through some 38,000 comments concerning a proposed wolf- and coyote-hunting derby on public land in the east-central part of the state.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's extended comment period ended last Thursday concerning Idaho for Wildlife's request for a Jan. 2-4 competitive event near Salmon.

If the agency grants the permit it will be good for additional derbies for five years.

BLM officials are analyzing the impacts of an estimated 500 hunters on about 3 million acres of BLM land over a three-day period.

Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park | Flickr Creative Commons

Federal land managers in Idaho project minimal environmental damage from allowing a predator hunting derby to take place in the north-eastern part of the state.

That’s the finding of an environmental assessment released Wednesday. It’s part of a controversy that started last winter when hunters competed to kill wolves and coyotes during a two-day event.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

A group that overcame a court challenge last winter to hold a wolf- and coyote-shooting derby is seeking a permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to roughly double the area for a second event this winter.

Steve Alder of Idaho for Wildlife says the tentative dates for the derby in the east-central part of the state are Jan. 2-3.

The BLM plans to make public an environmental analysis Thursday and take public comments for 15 days. The agency says about 1,500 square miles are involved.

Environmental groups say they will contest the permit.

Gary Beck / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Fish and Game Department is cracking down on an illegal hunting practice known as "jacklighting." Hunters pull over to the side of a road at night, get out of the car and shine a high powered spotlight on a hillside. Any dear or elk are frozen in place by the sudden glare. Then the hunters shoot.

Fish and Game says the practice is dangerous and unethical, so the department is taking further action to catch and prosecute perpetrators.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Organizers of a disputed predator derby aimed at killing wolves in central Idaho are asking for a five-year permit to hold the contest.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports in a story on Thursday that the group called Idaho for Wildlife applied with the Bureau of Land Management for a special recreation permit.

The hunt went ahead last year after a U.S. District Court ruled against an environmental group that filed a lawsuit to stop the event.

Elk
GoCyclones / Flickr Creative Commons

State wildlife officials in northern Idaho say poachers are killing far more game animals than wolves.

Officials tell the Lewiston Tribune that last year in northern Idaho they confirmed poaching of 30 elk, four moose, 13 mule deer and 57 whitetail deer.

Officials say a realistic detection rate is 5 percent, meaning poachers are likely killing about 600 elk, 80 moose, 260 mule deer and 1,000 whitetail.

Idaho Fish and Game / Screengrab

If you've watched much cable TV recently, you may have seen this spot promoting Idaho Fish and Game's 75th anniversary.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Hunters and trappers in Montana killed 230 wolves during the recently concluded wolf season.

That's only five more wolves than the prior year's wolf harvest despite the lifting of quotas on the animals across most of the state and a higher bag limit for individual hunters.

Hunters took 144 wolves during a season that started in September and ended Saturday. Trappers took 86 wolves.

Gray Wolf
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

Idaho wildlife officials say it cost $30,000 to kill 23 wolves last month in northern Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game announced earlier this week the money is coming from licenses the agency sells.

The agency last month said USDA Wildlife Service agents killed the wolves using a helicopter in the Lolo elk zone near the Montana border to improve elk survival in the area.

It's the sixth time the agency has taken action to kill wolves in the Lolo zone in the past four years. Forty-eight wolves have been killed in all.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Idaho wildlife managers called off a professional wolf hunter who has been killing predators inside a federal wilderness area.

Department of Fish and Wildlife Monday said it was halting the hunt after nine wolves were killed.

It had planned to keep hunter Gus Thoreson of Salmon in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness this winter as it sought reduce wolves and bolster low elk populations there.

Wolf advocates initially lost their bid for a court order to force Thoreson to quit hunting wolves from his base on U.S. Forest Service territory.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

A group of hunters in Salmon, Idaho is being criticized for a two-day "coyote and wolf derby" its sponsoring next week.

Idaho for Wildlife's organized hunt is December 28 and 29. The event is focused on young hunters. Sponsors have put up two $1,000 prizes for teams that kill the biggest wolf and the most coyotes. 

The contest has once again highlighted the divide between wolf hunters and wolf advocates.

Elk
GoCyclones / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho director for the wildlife advocacy group Greater Yellowstone Coalition has pleaded guilty to poaching two elk.

The Idaho State Journal reports Marv Hoyt is currently on vacation and will retire from his post at the end of the year. Hoyt pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor charges of unlawful taking of game and wasteful destruction of wildlife. Prosecutors said Hoyt only had one elk tag but that he killed three cow elk during a November hunting trip in Caribou County.

State wildlife officials have hired a hunter to eliminate two wolf packs in a federal wilderness area in central Idaho because officials say they are eating too many elk calves.

Fish and Game Bureau Chief Jeff Gould tells the Idaho Statesman that hunters are having a difficult time getting into the Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness, so the agency hired hunter-trapper Gus Thoreson of Salmon to kill the wolves in the Golden and Monumental packs.

Washington Fish and Game

Idaho’s wolf hunting season begins Friday and runs through the end of March in parts of the state, and through the end of June in others. It’s Idaho’s longest hunting season. A few spots in Idaho’s panhandle have year-round wolf hunting. Trapping season starts in November for most of the state.

Hunters and trappers killed more than 300 wolves in Idaho during the 2012-2013 season. 

If Teddy Roosevelt were to go big game hunting today, he might bring home slightly less-impressive trophies. That's because, according to a new analysis, the horns and antlers of North American wildlife have shrunk over the last century.

Idaho Fish and Game

The head of Idaho’s Fish and Game Department went before state lawmakers this week to make the agency’s annual budget request.  Virgil Moore told lawmakers the sales of Idaho hunting and fishing licenses haven't kept pace with the state's population growth.  We spoke with Moore about that trend and how it's affecting his agency's budget. Moore says he's seen the biggest decline in out of state hunting licenses.  Click 'Listen' to hear our interview from Morning Edition Friday.

Creative Commons Courtesy: @thekevinchang

A constitutional amendment to protect the right to hunt, fish and trap has been approved by a wide margin by Idaho voters.

With nearly 50 percent of precincts reporting, HJR2 earned support from 74.4 percent of voters early Wednesday morning.

Idaho now joins 13 other states that have added similar language into their state constitutions.

Idaho Voters To Decide Right To Hunt Amendment

Oct 30, 2012
Creative Commons Courtesy: @thekevinchang

House Joint Resolution 2 is less than two pages long and adds hunting, fishing and trapping to Idaho’s Constitution.

Governor “Butch” Otter says the authors of the measure wanted to protect these outdoor activities for future generations.

“I think the motivation was to make sure that there was a continuum in that tradition that we have in Idaho," says Otter. "I think the only danger and I warned them about this, that the only danger that we run is what if it fails? What's that going to tell us?”

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