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Ensuring ungulate populations recover in areas negatively impacted by wolves

 

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  • 8 Apr 2021 7:29 AM | Anonymous

    The 2021 F4WM Presidents Club patch is available HERE to members only!

    Join the Presidents club to make a larger impact on wolf control, and you will receive a 2021 collectable Presidents Club patch! This patch depicts an angry bull elk that has had enough, and is standing his ground against the cowering wolf, which represents F4WM’s goal of pushing wolf numbers into submission, so our back country elk have a chance to rebound. By joining this exclusive club, you will assist F4WM in accomplishing our mission, helping our struggling ungulate populations, and educating the public on effective wildlife management.

    F4WM has saved more than 30,000 Elk this season alone (more than 215 wolves removed), and 150,000 Elk total, by removing nearly 1100 wolves to date.

    As President of F4WM, I’m personally asking you to go the extra mile. For $50 YOU, can become a member of this elite club. Your contribution will definitely make a difference.

    Thank you for going the extra mile… Thank you for making a difference!


    Your F4WM President,

    Robert Roman

  • 8 Mar 2021 3:34 PM | Mike Hoagla (Administrator)

    Original Article Posted Here

    BOISE, Idaho — A house panel on Tuesday introduced legislation allowing the use of snowmobiles, ATVs, powered parachutes and other methods to hunt and kill wolves year-round and with no limits in most of Idaho.

    The House Resources and Conservation Committee cleared the way for a public hearing on the proposed law backers say is needed because Idaho has too many wolves. 

    Wolves could be hunted year-round in the state with no limits in all but a rugged area of central Idaho extending from about Challis to Grangeville. Specifically, the legislation reclassifies wolves outside of that area from game animals to predators.

    "When you make that reclassification to a predator, you still have to have a hunting license to shoot that predator, but there are no seasons, no limits," said former Republican Sen. Jeff Siddoway, filling in for a senator who is out with COVID-19. He said wolves could also be hunted from helicopters and airplanes.

    Siddoway said the plan is to reduce Idaho's wolves from about 1,500 to 500.

    The legislation says that once 500 wolves or fewer remain in the state, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission would be authorized to review wolf management policies to make sure there are at least 500 wolves and 50 packs.

    The Idaho Department of Fish and Game tracks wolf numbers using various methods, including cameras, and listed the 2020 population at 1,556 wolves, about the same as in 2019.

    Wolves were protected in Idaho under the Endangered Species Act until being delisted in 2011. 

    Wolves are managed by Fish and Game under its Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. 


  • 9 Dec 2020 2:26 PM | Anonymous

    We've been trying to increase the number of exciting raffles near the end of the year here and we're excited to share the winners of the raffles with you!

    $600 Sportsmans Warehouse gift card- Drawing took place on Facebook Live on 12-8-20. Congratulations to Matt Anderson! Thank you again to Troy and Wendy Hahn for your contribution!


    Bergara B-14 Ridge 7mm Raffle Winner- Drawing took place on 11-21-20. Congratulations to James Aston, who is a Treasure Valley Chapter F4WM volunteer! 


    Stay tuned for more! We have ongoing raffles here!

  • 23 Oct 2020 4:08 PM | Anonymous

    Original article here.
    B
    y Andrew McKean

    Ryan Williams wants to be clear. He’s not a wolf-­hunting expert. Though he spends the majority of the year around wolves and hunts them nearly all winter out of his family’s lodge in the remote Idaho wilderness, he says he’s more a perpetual student than a knowledgeable teacher.

    “You could hunt these things for a lifetime and never learn all there is to know,” says Williams, who works as a U.S. ­Forest Service smoke jumper during the summer, bowhunts elk in the tangled pine jungles of Idaho’s high country through the fall, and then calls wolves all winter.

    “Even when you think you have them figured out, they’ll pull some shenanigans that make you second-guess what you know. My friends have gotten so used to me coming back with a one-that-got-away story that they call me ‘Chances with Wolves.’”

    But Williams has an advantage that most of us don’t: a 2-million-acre classroom where he’s learned the behaviors and responses of wolves and developed a library of experiences about which hunting tactics work, which need refinement, and which are definitely not effective.

    “I can tell you with more certainty about what doesn’t work than what does,” says Williams, who lives and hunts west of Missoula, Montana, on the Idaho side of Lolo Pass. “Most prey-in-distress calls don’t work. Also, one of the best ways to not kill wolves is to rely on a single gun for all setups.”

    Idaho has had an established wolf-hunting season since 2012, just months after the carnivores were removed from federal protection. The population threshold that allows the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to hold a managed hunt is 150 wolves; in its last census, the department estimated the state’s population at about 1,500. Last spring, Idaho Fish and Game approved year-round hunting for wolves on private land in the northern half of the state—­including Williams' area—and established an annual bag limit of 15 wolves per hunter.

    A hunter extracts a tooth from the mouth of a wolf.Extracting a tooth that will be submitted to the Idaho Fish and Game Department.Matt Arkins

    Idaho’s experience is likely to be replicated by other Western states. While Montana and Wyoming have long and liberal wolf seasons, Utah, Washington, and Oregon have documented wolves within their borders but don’t have designated seasons. Colorado voters will decide this fall whether to reintroduce wolves west of the Continental Divide.

    Because so few of us have experienced wolf hunting, the frontier of knowledge follows pack distribution and the establishment of seasons, and makes even “nonexperts” like Williams leaders in our accumulated understanding of how to hunt these very adaptable canines. For Williams, whose family has operated a remote lodge on the upper Lochsa River for three generations, wolves are a relatively new presence in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

    “When I’m at our smoke-jumping base [in Missoula], I can look across the tarmac and see the very plane that brought the first U.S. wolves from Canada back in 1995,” says Williams. “It’s amazing to me how widespread and established they’ve become” in the intervening 25 years.

    As a diehard archery elk hunter, Williams has seen his success decline as wolves have diminished elk populations or pushed them out of his area, which once held the highest elk densities in Idaho. But he’s also seen wolf packs decline in size as their prey base shrinks. Instead of seeing packs of a dozen, packs now number five to seven wolves. The predators cover hundreds of square miles, and they’ve become extremely wary of hunters.

    “A lot of people around here hate wolves,” says Williams. “I don’t hate them. In a lot of ways, I wish they weren’t here. But they are here, and they’re not going away, as much as many people would like them to go. So I figured I’d learn as much about them as I can so I can manage their numbers. Along the way, they’ve taught me how to be a better hunter.”

    Here’s a glimpse at Chances with Wolves' playbook, based on his years of successful—and unsuccessful—wolf hunts.

    A hunter kneels behind a large wolf next to his hunting rifle.Williams’ wolf-hunting arsenal.Matt Arkins

    Pattern and Locate

    “Wolves are actually extremely easy to pattern,” says Williams. “That’s why trapping is so effective. They’ll use the same trails and roads all winter, and even year after year. But once they detect danger, they’ll change their patterns instantly until they sense the danger has dissipated. In the winter, which is mainly when I’m hunting them, they’ll gather on high, open ridges in the daytime. I can see them with optics from a mile away, but these places are hard to reach, especially when I’m busting deep drifts in snowshoes, so I’ve learned that you need to intercept them coming or going from those secure lookouts.”

    Read Next: Finding a Middle Ground on Wolves and Wolf Management

    Listen and Respond

    Williams says the ideal wolf-hunting scenario is one in which they reveal their location without prompting. “I like to drive or hike to a spot and then listen. If I can hear them howling, then I’ll figure out an approach and work in on them, then set up and use a prey-distress call when I know they’re fairly close. I don’t really want to start off howling, because that immediately lets wolves know that I’m in the neighborhood, and it puts them on alert. More often than not, once I howl, wolves will move away, not ­toward me.”

    Blow the Right Call

    Williams uses both mouth and electronic calls, using a selection of distress calls and howls, but he’s concluded that entry-­level electronic calls aren’t worth using. “The speakers don’t sound realistic, especially for howling,” he says. “Once I went to higher-end Foxpro calls, I got better results, mainly because the speakers are better and the more powerful remote control lets you set the unit farther away from the shooter.” He has had mixed luck with the Alpha Wolf Howler from Rocky Mountain Game Calls, based down the mountain in ­Kamiah, Idaho. “I’ve talked to a lot of wolves with it, but it’s huge and I keep bending the mouthpiece. The best mouth howler I’ve used is the E.L.K., Inc. Power Bugle. You can change tone and do a lot of different howling variations.” But Williams says the one response you never want to hear from a wolf is a bark. “It’s just like when an elk barks. It means the wolf is onto you, and your hunt is done.”

    A large gray wolf walks through the snow in the Montana wilderness.A gray wolf on the hunt in Montana.ImageBroker/Alamy

    Get Aggressive

    Calling wolves is just like calling other wild animals. You want to initiate a conversation and unlock some response. “When I first started calling, I’d just sort of call without purpose,” says Williams. But after an all-day conversation with a pack of wolves that held up in cover no more than 200 yards away without approaching, Williams finally had enough. “I had laid out in the snow for eight hours on a wolf-killed moose carcass, just howling back and forth with the pack. Finally I got so cold and so mad that I moved toward the pack and started cutting their howls off with my own howls, just getting in their faces. That was what it took to unlock them. They started getting mad right back and it unlocked them from their cover.”

    Hunt with a Buddy

    Borrow a tactic from elk and turkey callers and put a shooter in front of a caller. An incoming wolf that may hold up out of range of the call may be well within range of the hidden shooter. The same tactic can work for solo hunters who use electronic calls: Simply put the call 100 yards or so behind you. Wolves are so perceptive that you must use cover, minimize movement, and ensure that neither shooter nor caller is seen or winded by incoming wolves.

    Guns: Go Long and Short

    Williams says that for his first decade as a wolf hunter, he was badly undergunned. “I hunted with my elk rifle, a .30/06 that had trouble grouping beyond about 200 yards. I wasn’t able to reach out to distant wolves, but I also couldn’t get on wolves in the thick stuff. So I’ve gone with a 7mm STW on a chassis stock with a scope that I can dial for shots out to 1,000 yards. That’s a great dead-winter, long-distance setup. But I also have a shotgun with an 18-inch barrel and Federal FliteControl buckshot loads that will put all 9 pellets in a pie plate at 50 yards. More of my shots, especially when I’m elk hunting, are in thick stuff inside 100 yards and often inside 50 yards. So I also have a semi-auto, folding-stock carbine with a low-power scope that I have set up in either 9mm or 40 S&W that I’ll carry for wolves during elk bow season.”


  • 21 Sep 2020 12:44 PM | Anonymous

    Original Article Here

    The Diamond M Ranch has moved to defend itself against allegations that it’s to blame for wolves mauling and killing its cattle for more than a decade in northeast Washington.

    The family-owned operation, based in Stevens County, filed a motion Friday in U.S. District Court in Eastern Washington to take part in a lawsuit brought by three environmental organizations against the U.S. Forest Service.

    The suit claims the Forest Service idly stands by as the Diamond M refuses to avoid conflicts with wolves in the Colville National Forest. The Diamond M says it’s been “called out” and wants to join the court battle.

    Other lawsuits by wolf advocates in state courts against Washington Fish and Wildlife have criticized the Diamond M. Until now, the ranch has not defended itself in court.

    “We’ve been dragged through the mud and abused with no chance to redeem ourselves whatsoever,” Diamond M partner Len McIrvin said Monday. “We want to at last clear our name.”

    For many years, the Diamond M has been the bete noire of some wolf advocates, who say that if it weren’t for the ranch only a handful of wolves would have been killed by Fish and Wildlife.

    WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project and Kettle Range Conservation Group sued the Forest Service in June, alleging the federal agency’s indifference to Diamond M grazing practices violates the National Forest Management Act.

    Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson on Monday granted Diamond M’s motion, allowing the ranch to participate in the lawsuit. The ranch argues its business is at stake, an interest not shared by the Forest Service.

    “Even though they’re good people, we’re not number one in their lawsuit,” McIrvin said.

    The Diamond M has Forest Service permits to graze 736 cow-calf pairs. The ranch has been grazing in the Colville National Forest since 1945 and has never violated its permits, according to the ranch’s court declaration.

    Wolves began attacking the ranch’s cattle in 2008. Wolf packs saturate the region, according to Fish and Wildlife. The department has defended Diamond M, saying the ranch has tried to prevent attacks with non-lethal measures.

    No measure, or combination of measures, will stop all attacks, according to the department.

    The Diamond M has refused to apply for state compensation for cattle losses. The payouts are temporary and entice ranchers to accept an overpopulation of wolves, according to the ranch.

    “Their big criticism of us is we won’t take their money,” McIrvin said.

    Diamond M was one of three ranches that had cattle attacked this year by the Wedge wolf pack. In response, Fish and Wildlife eliminated the pack, killing the three members.

    Since then, the cattle have thrived, McIrvin said. “Those cattle are fat and sassy and behaving like they’re suppose to.”

  • 28 Aug 2020 9:06 PM | Anonymous

    Original Article Here

    By Jennifer Bruns, Regional Communications Manager

    Friday, August 28, 2020 - 9:20 AM MDT

    Trapper and wolf trapper education classes are being scheduled.  Anyone that needs to take either or both classes in order to purchase a trapping license or wolf trapping tags are encouraged to visit the Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) website to find and register for a class in their area or contact their local regional office. Anyone who has not taken Idaho trapper education or held an Idaho trapping license prior to July 1, 2011 is required to take trapper education before purchasing a trapping license. All wolf trappers are required to take wolf trapper education in order to trap wolves.

    trapping_photo

    IDFG

    Idaho Department of Fish and Game temporarily halted all hunter and trapper education courses in March, due in response to COVID-19. Hunter education is available as an online course and the field day requirement has been temporarily waived until further notice. However, there is no online alternative in Idaho for trapper or wolf trapper education. With the opening of trapping seasons on the horizon, courses are being offered so that first-time trappers and wolf trappers are able to purchase licenses and tags. In order to safely provide the classes, the department will adhere to health department guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Students are asked to wear masks throughout the class, class size is smaller to aid social distancing, and class duration is shortened to reduce potential exposure times of students and instructors. Most classes will be held at IDFG regional offices throughout the state.

    Follow the links on the IDFG website or contact your local regional office for information about classes in your area.

    A complete list of classes can be found at:

    Trapper Education: https://register-ed.com/programs/idaho/149-trapper-certification-instruc...

    Wolf Trapper Education: https://register-ed.com/programs/idaho/148-wolf-trapper-certification-in...


  • 1 Jul 2020 3:55 PM | Anonymous

     In effort to increase harvest efforts on wolves, to promote elk management objectives, and in areas where landowner/wolf conflicts are occurring, F4WM was awarded $10,000 for the Panhandle Region, & $1220 for the Clearwater Region, $2000 for the Southwest Region, and $10,000 to be used Statewide, from the 2020 IDFG Commission Community Challenge Grant funding. These funds will be used as matching dollars ($500 grant funding /$500 F4WM funding ) to increase reimbursement amounts to $1000 per wolf in the areas where IDFG data shows that additional wolf harvest is needed to promote healthy ungulate populations in the select areas specified by IDFG. The select areas are listed below.

    IDFG COMMUNITY CHALLENGE GRANT FUNDING INCREASED REIMBURSEMENT AMOUNTS TO $1000 PER WOLF IN THE FOLLOWING UNITS EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 10TH 2020 AND WILL REMAIN UNTIL THOSE GRANT FUNDS ARE DEPLETED FOR EACH SPECIFIED REGIONAL AMOUNT.

    Regional priority areas include:

    A. Within the Panhandle Region GMUs 7, 9; that portion of Unit 6 w/in the NF St. Joe drainage; that portion of Unit 4 north of Forest Highway 9; and that portion of Unit 4A south of the Clark Fork River and west of Forest Road (FR) 278 to its junction with FR 1066, west of FR 1066 from its junction with 278 to its junction with FR 332, and west of FR 332.

    B. Within the Clearwater Region GMUs 10, 12, 15, 18

    C. Within the Southwest Region GMUs 20A, 22, 23, 24, 26, 31, 32, 32A, 33, 39

    D. Within the Magic Valley Region GMUs 43, 44

    E. Within the Upper Snake Region GMUs 50, 62

    F. Within the Salmon Region GMUs 28, 29, 36A, 36B, 37

     IDFG employees are ineligible for reimbursement under this agreement and with Commission Challenge Grant funds. They are eligible for reimbursement under F4WM stand-alone program if meeting F4WM criteria for reimbursement.

    ​This increase will continue until all Community Challenge Grant Funding has been depleted, and is available to both members and non-members alike, as required by IDFG. Please see the “Reimbursement Process” page for more information regarding reimbursement requests.


  • 21 Feb 2020 12:39 PM | Anonymous

    Original article here

    BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Thursday approved nine proposals to extend wolf hunting and trapping seasons following a two-week public comment period in which the commission received more than 27,000 responses from across the world.

    In a news release, the Department of Fish and Game said the changes take effect immediately.

    The commission approved seven hunting proposals and two trapping proposals during the Thursday conference call meeting. The move allows wolf hunting from Aug. 1 to June 30 across much of the state, and year-round wolf hunting in southwest and south-central Idaho.

    Year-round hunts are also in effect in 19 hunting units with “chronic” wolf depredation on livestock, meaning incidents in four of the past five years.

    Wolf trapping is now legal in parts of southeast Idaho, and snare traps can be used in some hunting units. For more details, visit idfg.idaho.gov.

    Fish and Game commissioners proposed the season changes late last month after unveiling new population data that estimates there are more than 1,500 wolves in Idaho. Federal criteria for wolf recovery require only 150 wolves in the state.

    During the 14-day public comment period on the proposals, Fish and Game received more than 27,000 responses, the overwhelming majority of which were negative. (For context, agency spokesman Brian Pearson said most proposals receive between 200 and 2,000 comments during the same time period.)

    However, officials noted that more than 80% of the responses came from outside of Idaho; in many cases, they were from outside of the United States.

    “Among Idaho residents who commented, about 55% supported each of the proposals, and about 45% opposed,” the Fish and Game news release said.

    Most respondents favored all or opposed all of the proposals.

    When the commission debuted the proposals in January, commission chair Jerry Meyers told the Statesman that he expected the comments to be “polar opposites.”

    “There’s not really any middle ground (on wolves),” he said.

    Nicole Blanchard


  • 6 Feb 2020 12:34 PM | Anonymous

    Original article here.

    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks proposes to extend the wolf hunting and trapping seasons in northwestern Montana.

    The agency is currently setting hunting seasons for the 2020-2021 biennium. Its Region One office, which covers Lincoln, Flathead, Sanders and Lake Counties, announced the proposals in a press release Wednesday. If approved by the rule-making Fish and Wildlife Commission, they would:

    Extend the general hunting season from Sept. 15-March 15 to Aug. 15-March 31.

    Extend the trapping season’s end date from Feb. 28 to March 15.

    Increase the individual limit from five wolves per person to 10.

    Outside Region One, Fish, Wildlife and Parks also aims to maintain the quotas in Wolf Management Units 313 and 316, just north of Yellowstone National Park, at two each. An earlier version of their proposal would have dropped that to one each.

    During a public-comment period on the hunting season that ran from Dec. 5 to Jan. 27, “we heard from a substantial number of people attending the public meetings throughout northwest Montana who requested additional opportunity for wolves,” said Neil Anderson, the agency’s regional wildlife manager, in a statement.

    The minimum count of wolves in Montana has increased from less than 100 in 1998 to over 600 in 2017, according to FWP. Models indicate the total population may have reached 800 or higher in 2018. Montana’s wolves were removed from Endangered Species Act protections and placed under state management in 2011. Hunters and trappers harvested 254 wolves statewide in 2017.

    “We would be very supportive of those expanded seasons and larger amount of take,” said Blake Henning, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s chief conservation officer. He said that the hunting and conservation group’s members “would support these additional opportunities, and we want to support our members.”

    Wolf management has long been a controversial topic in Montana, with hunters calling for more hunting opportunities out of concern for deer and elk numbers, and some environmental groups opposing these measures and calling on the state to protect wolves and their place in the ecosystem.

    “The Kalispell area ... every year, is hammered. They kill a ton of wolves up that way,” said Marc Cooke, president of Stevensville-based group Wolves of the Rockies. In 2017, FWP recorded 84 wolves killed in Region One. “There are so many positives that wolves bring to the table ... that the only thing I can say is that the department is mismanaging an asset that is on the ground 24/7 in the state.”

    Sarah McMillan, conservation director at WildEarth Guardians’ Missoula office, wrote in an emailed statement that “Guardians opposes the hunting of wolves and all trapping,” and predicted that “Increasing the general season by six weeks and the trapping season by two weeks will result in more inhumane and pointless killing of wolves.”

    The Fish and Wildlife Commission will hear a presentation on the rules at its February 13 meeting in Helena, which will be live-streamed to all regional Fish, Wildlife and Parks offices. The agency plans to recommend extending the comment period for these rules through March 16, and for the commission to hold a vote on adoption at its June meeting. For the meeting agenda and draft proposal, visit fwp.mt.gov and under “Quick Links” click “Commission.”


  • 27 Jan 2020 12:36 PM | Anonymous

    Original article here

    A new bill proposed in Idaho could open the door to year-round wolf hunting and “wolf-free” zones. The bill, which was proposed by Sen. Bert Brackett (R-Rogerson), was introduced last week before the Senate Resources and Environment Committee. According to Brackett, it would “manage a growing wolf population and assist in efforts to reduce depredation,” Big Country News reports.

    “Livestock depredation remains at an unacceptably high level,” said Brackett. “More needs to be done. Ranchers’ livelihoods are being threatened by wolves.”

    According to Big Country News, the “wolf-free” zones would be established within 11 existing big game management units south of the Snake River. While there are “few” wolves that live within these areas, the point of creating the “wolf-free” zones are to keep them that way. The bill would also classify units where depredation happened during four of the last five years as “chronic depredation” zones. There are currently 19 zones in central Idaho that qualify for this classification.

    “In both of those designations, wolves may be taken year-round by any hunter provided they have a valid hunting license and a wolf tag,” said Brackett.

    However, according to Big Country News, wolf hunting is already allowed during most of the year and even Brackett acknowledged that the state has a “good wolf management plan” in place. The bill would require state officials to review that plan should the population drop to under 20 packs or 200 wolves. Additional language within the bill includes an emergency clause “that would make it effective immediately following approval from the Legislature and governor.”

    The bill was met with opposition by both Democrats on the committee.


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