Wolf advocate Lynne Stone tried to find a way to get Idaho Fish and Game to count the wolves they shoot for killing livestock towards the hunting total. She knew where officials shot down the alpha female of the Basin Butte pack in November. So she bought a hunting tag ($11) and claimed it has her own, the Times-News of Magic Valley says, hoping it would count towards the region’s total.
One more wolf claimed for the hunting total means one less wolf cold be legally shot. Not so fast, Fish and Game said. They confiscated the wolf and gave Stone a warning. Because hunters enjoy a great deal of legal protection, they had to sell her another tag. (She had asked permission beforehand to use the tag like that and only got unclear answers.)
Stone heads the Boulder White Clouds Council, which wants permanent protection for the area, so she obviously isn’t going to go hunting for real. Stone is so well known in the area and the frequent subject of harassment from anti-wolf activists. Isn’t it derogatory to call them anti-wolf? No, amazingly, that’s what they call themselves. And they vow to eradicate the “Canadian gray wolf” like it was some illegal immigrant taking jobs away from American wolves.
Idaho hunters are about two-thirds of the way to bagging this year’s quota of 220 wolves. The Sawtooth region where this wolf lived has a hunting quota of 55, with 30 already dead and 15 more allowed to be shot by March 31. This area has the biggest wolf population and legal and illegal kills. They did count one illegal kill against the quota.
At minimum they should count all the illegal kills against the quota so that legal hunters have an incentive against poachers. In a state that hunts Sandhill Crane I don’t really expect much revulsion at someone hunting wolves out of season.
Stone’s clever plan is more provocative because she was willing to pay to have a wolf not killed. Hunters have long claimed that they support conservation and wildlife departments through their hunting tag dollars. America’s 71 million wildlife watchers far outspend versus the 12.5 million hunters, ($46 billion versus on animal watching versus $23 billion on hunting), according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.What if we all were allowed to pay $11 to save a wolf?
Idaho Wolf Population: about 800
Dead in 2009: 273
State Control Action: 87
Illegally Hunted: 13
Other (such as natural causes or car accidents): 8
Shot in Defense of Livestock: 6
Source: Idaho Fish and Game
Where to Go to See Wolves and Coywolves Near You