Wolf hunting on private land is now legal in some Idaho areas all year round, continuing a recent push by lawmakers in the state to administer funding for wolf hunting and lessen regulations on the practice. Just last week, Idaho passed a bill creating a new "Wolf Depredation Control Board" that allows for the species' numbers to be reduced from 650 wolves to as little as 150 in the entire state.
According to the Associated Press, the rule now extends to all of northern Idaho's Clearwater Region:
The commission in 2012 approved year-round wolf hunting on private land in the Panhandle Region. Adding the Clearwater Region means wolf hunting on most private land from the Canadian border to the Salmon River is legal in Idaho.
Proponents of the rule change say that it's meant to give private landowners the ability to kill wolves to protect property -- not to hunt.
"It gives them an opportunity to help themselves if that is what they need," said Dave Cadwallader, supervisor of the Fish and Game Commission's Clearwater Region. "In the end, I don't think you are going to see an active hunting effort."
The new measures also extended the start of wolf-trapping season, moving from Nov. 15 to Oct. 10 in some Idaho hunting units. Conservationists say that the once-endangered species still desperately needs protection, and that Idaho is creating a "war on wolves" to protect its livestock.
"Political leaders in Idaho would love nothing more than to eradicate Idaho's wolves and return to a century-old mindset where big predators are viewed as evil and expendable," said Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity last week.
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