BWCC COMMENTS ON WOLF HUNTING
Boulder-White Clouds Council,
Stanley ID 83278
May 15, 2008
Cal Groen, Director
Boise, ID 83707
SUBJECT: Please accept the
comments of Boulder-White Clouds Council (BWCC), a 501(c)3 non-profit
conservation group whose members live and work in the heart of central
Idaho’s wolf country. We have seen and admired Idaho wolves scores of
times, photographed them and want the same opportunity for our children
BWCC was formed in 1989 to gain
Wilderness designation for the 500,000 acre Boulder-White Cloud Mountains.
We have worked on public land issues for nearly 20 years. Our five-member
board has over 200 years of experience on wild lands and wildlife issues
in Idaho. We have 750 members who share our concerns and support for gray
wolves in Idaho. We have an extensive website with information about
wolves so that the public can learn and understand them.
We were enthusiastic to see wolves
restored to Idaho in 1995 and 1996. Since then, BWCC has hosted dozens of
field trips to educate Idahoans about gray wolves and their importance
within our natural ecosystem.
have these specific comments.
Wolf Ecotourism is in Jeopardy due to
IDFG hunting plan. Just last weekend, BWCC hosted over two dozen Sierra
Club members and their families who came to Stanley to see the Basin Butte
wolf pack, which happened to be on an elk kill in view. Children were able
to see the wolves through spotting scopes. There are few places in the
world that there is such an opportunity to see wolves.
This weekend, the ICL conference at
Redfish Lake will bring 150 Idahoans to this area and there are three wolf
outings scheduled. BWCC will organize these outings. For over a quarter of
a century, conservation leaders have gathered at Wild Idaho! as the
conference is called. For the past ten years, a wolf outing has been added
to the agenda. It’s the highlight of the conference for many attendees.
Many come back during the summer months to camp with their families to see
and hear wolves.
Last summer, at the Sawtooth Society
auction, IDFG donated a day with a wolf biologist, which was auctioned for
$12,000. The purchaser, who lives in the Sawtooth Society, said he wanted
to have his grandchildren see an endangered species - gray wolves.
Yet, if your wolf plan is allowed to go
through, then this will be the last Spring and Summer that people will be
able to observe and photograph live wolves. Once wolves are hunted, they
will be on the run from humans.
So, it is with great disappointment that
we read IDFG’s proposed wolf hunting plan that reads like a throwback to
frontier days. We realize the political factions that rule the IDFG’s
actions -- the outfitters and guides, trophy “sportsmens” groups, ranchers
and the legislature.
However, we would expect IDFG to
acknowledge that wolves are highly intelligent and social animals that
rely on the pack structure for rearing young, hunting and overall
survival. Wolves are not like black bears or mountain lions, yet IDFG
continues to say wolves will be managed in the same way as bears and
have these additional comments:
We oppose any wolf hunting season at
this time. Your plan is premature, overzealous and driven by politics and
not science. IDFG totally ignores Idahoans who wish to have an opportunity
to see wolves alive, rather than shot, skinned and beheaded, and paraded
through Idaho towns draped over an ATV.
Minnesota has 3000 wolves and has no
plan for a wolf hunt within the next five years. We urge IDFG to back off
wolf hunting for at least five years, and then it should be a carefully
controlled draw hunt, that is a once in a lifetime tag.
Idaho has only 700-800 wolves and is
proposing a wolf hunt that could last seven months. From now until
December 31, 2008, you are proposing to allow a mortality of 328 wolves.
Most would come through a rifle season where a wolf tag is a cheap $11.75.
The tag price alone indicates how little respect IDFG has for gray wolves
in our state. We are very disappointed in this. Less than 14% of Idahoans
buy a hunting license. A BSU poll showed that over 50% of Idahoans support
having wolves in our state. Your plan scrapes any economic benefits that
wolves could bring from ecotourism, rather you are opting for the $11.75
Alternatives 3 and 4, propose wolf
hunting for seven months from August 30 through March 31. It’s hard to
believe you would even propose this. All over the state, starting Labor
Day weekend, wolves would be shot at including pups that are just over
four months old. If the adult wolves in the pack are killed, then it
leaves pups that are not ready to be on their own. On the other end of the
seven month hunt, February and March is the time when wolves start to
return to traditional denning sites. These areas are well known to anyone
who has worked with IDFG or Wildlife Services. Plus outfitters and
ranchers. With winter snows deep on the ground, it won’t be hard for
“sportsmen” to follow the wolf tracks to the den sites and slaughter the
wolves there. “Sportsmen” can fly around in planes and spot wolves, just
as IDFG and WS does, and then go in on the ground. Wolves killed in March
could include pregnant alpha females, within days of whelping pups.
Killing collared wolves - we find it
incredulous that IDFG is giving the ok to kill collared wolves. If a
hunter is close enough to shoot at a wolf, he/she is close enough to see
the collar and not squeeze the trigger. Killing collared wolves is a waste
of thousands of hours and dollars of staff time.
72 Hour Report System. Part of the
absurd regulations around wolf hunting includes the stipulation that a
hunter has three days to report the kill. In the meantime, other hunters
are killing wolves, and the quota that IDFG has set up in different areas
could well be exceeded.
In closing, we urge you to back off on
your hunting plan. If it goes forward, then it will provide an opportunity
for wolf advocates to document the barbaric killing that IDFG is
unleashing. Just as cameras have documented the bashing of harp seal pups,
dolphins in tuna nets and wolves run to exhaustion and executed in Alaska.
Idaho already has a reputation of the bunny bopper and skin head state,
and now is ready to plunge into the slaughter of wolf families.
We have other concerns regarding
management of gray wolves in Idaho, but those have been well detailed by
Earthjustice in the lawsuit now in front of Judge Molloy.
Lynne K. Stone, Director