As of yesterday, the first modern-day wolf trapping season in Idaho is open.
The season, which goes through March 31, is open for the north-central and northern mountain regions of Idaho near the Montana and Canadian borders. With roughly 1,000 wolves in the state and no hunting/trapping quotas in place this year, wildlife officials hope to reduce the wolf population considerably.
But trappers will have to experiment with their techniques in order to be effective, according to John Miller of the Associated Press:
In Alaska, where wolves can also be legally harvested, trappers account for more than half of the roughly 1,500 wolves killed annually, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game statistics.
But trapping wolves in Idaho will differ significantly from Alaskan and Canadian methods, experts say. In those colder climates, trappers can bury foothold traps in the snow, then lure wolves with scents like wolf urine or even skunk paste.
With Idaho’s rain-and-snow cycle, however, such traps can freeze shut just hours after they’re placed.
Davis, whose company manufactures trapping gear in St. Anthony, located west of Yellowstone National Park, recommends Idaho trappers use snares, setting a line of these steel loops along a known wolf trail leading to bait of beaver carcass.
“You can set snares up to kill the animals quite rapidly,” Davis said. “In about five to seven minutes, they’ll be dead.”
With the new season, the state has issued new regulations and education initiatives, including a required eight-hour class on wolf trapping for any would-be wolf trappers, according to a story by Perry Backus in the Ravalli Republic.
“In the class, they get pounded about not setting traps in areas frequented by the public,” Idaho’s regional conservation educator, Mike Demick said. “We’re hoping the focus will be trapping wolves in remote areas like the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.”
You can buy three Idaho wolf tags this year at a cost of $11.50 for resident trappers and $31.75 for non-residents. You can also buy two wolf hunting tags per year. So far, 114 wolves have been shot and registered with hunting tags in Idaho this year, according to the Ravalli Republic story.