Tuesday 28 February 2012

318 wolves killed in Idaho – Because they eat deer - Its Elkonomics

Elkonomics in Idaho
February 2012. The poor hunters of Idaho couldn't find enough deer to kill, so to make life easier for them the Idaho Fish and Game Department (At least, unlike many states, they don't pretend to be a wildlife department) has killed more than 300 wolves to allow humans to buy licenses to kill the deer instead. Last year humans shot more than 16,000 elk alone, but that wasn't enough, and, apparently it is because wolves kill so many elk that they don't leave enough for humans to kill. So the obvious answer, according to Idaho, is to kill the wolves, so then the hunters can kill even more elk.

Deputy Director Jim Unsworth said. "We'd like to see one of Idaho's premier elk populations recover as much as possible." Perhaps they could just stop people shooting them instead.
42 wolves killed recently
In cooperation with Idaho Fish and Game, the USDA Wildlife Services has completed a ‘wolf control action' in northern Idaho's Lolo zone. Over three days in early February, Wildlife Services agents killed 14 wolves from a helicopter. In the Lolo zone, hunters have taken 11 wolves, trappers have taken 11, control efforts earlier in spring 2011 took six, and the most recent control effort took 14 for a total of 42 wolves. The cost of the action is estimated at $22,500 in license funds. As of February 22, hunters and trappers have taken a total of 318 wolves across the state.
In recent years wolves have been identified as the primary cause of death in female elk and calves over six months old. But the habitat in the area is capable of supporting an increased population, Deputy Director Jim Unsworth said.
"We'd like to see one of Idaho's premier elk populations recover as much as possible," he said.
Idaho Elk
In 2011 the Idaho elf population was estimated at 103,000, (See here) and hunter hunter success was 19 percent
According to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation : "The statewide population actually broke a long plummet and rebounded 2,000 animals from last year. That growth likely came, at least in part, from fewer hunters. Tag sales went from 92,565 in 2008 to 84,765 in 2010-a decline of about 8 percent.

So 84,765 tags were sold, with a 19% success rate, so that equates to 16,105 successful elk kills.
In Idaho, a resident must pay $30.75 for a license to kill an elk, and a non resident some $416.75. They also have to purchase a hunting license as well. So (If I understand correctly) if 90% of the 84,765 tags sold were to residents, the income from elk shooting was some $4-5 million. No wonder Idaho Game and fish want more people to kill elk and other wildlife.

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