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Fish and Game Commission amends wolf hunting and trapping seasons to start on July 1

The amended seasons will take effect on July 1. That's consistent with the effective date of Senate Bill 1211 approved by the Idaho Legislature.

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved some changes to the wolf trapping and hunting seasons.

The commission met Thursday during a conference call to amend the seasons in response to recent legislative direction.

The amended seasons will take effect on July 1. That's consistent with the effective date of Senate Bill 1211 approved by the Idaho Legislature.

Fish and Game says the changes will not be reflected in the current printed 2021 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure, but an updated brochure with the changes will be available on their website by July 1.

Senate Bill 1211 established a year-round trapping season for wolves on private property, allowed for unlimited purchase of wolf tags, and allowed for any method used for taking any wild canine in Idaho (foxes, coyotes) to also be available for taking wolves.

Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever said the Commission's action provides a "meaningful balance" that focuses on providing hunters and trappers with additional tools to address conflicts between wolves, livestock and other big game. 

"It's been widely, but inaccurately, reported that the new law will reduce Idaho's wolf population by 90 percent, however, the Commission's action will reduce wolf conflicts while maintaining a viable wolf population that is not subject to relisting under the federal Endangered Species Act," Schriever said.

Wolf hunting seasons on public land remain unchanged, except expanded hunting methods apply from Nov. 15 through March 31 in areas with a history of chronic livestock depredation, or where elk herds are below management objectives.

On private land, expanded hunting methods are allowed year round with landowner permission.

Here are some on the changes under SB 1211:

  • Weapon restrictions do not apply for wolf hunting.
  • There is an exemption from shooting hours and allowance for spotlight or night vision equipment. 
  • Hunting wolves over bait is allowed on private land with landowner permission.
  • Motorized vehicle restrictions for hunting big game do not apply for wolf hunting.
  • Dogs may be used to pursue wolves, and no hound hunter permit is required.