The wolf population in Salmon area is largely unchanged after controversial Idaho hunting derby.
The event was organized in an effort to curb the growing populations of wolves in the Salmon area. 30 coyotes were harvested but zero wolves were killed.
The executive director of the Idaho hunting derby, Steve Alder, said he hopes the event will also be an opportunity to learn survival skills and raise awareness about the wolves in Idaho.
In the event’s two years there have been numerous complaints filed regarding animal rights. This year 50,000 complaints were sent to local officials after the Bureau of Land Management granted the Idaho hunting derby use of its land. According to BLM official James Townley, the land was later revoked due to “uncertainties about the details of the Predator Hunt” and “operational changes.” As a result the Idaho hunting derby took place on U.S. Forest Service lands and private property.
Idaho allows each hunter to kill five wolves and trap an additional five, but this year no wolves were claimed and the $1,000 prize awarded for most wolf kills will instead be donated to a local food bank.
“Nobody even saw a track,” Alder told reporters. “We had fresh snow, and we were just in shock. No sightings, no tracks.” Alder spoke of a 4.9 magnitude earthquake felt in the Salmon region that may have made the wolves hard to find, “After the earthquake, it was difficult to call in the animals.”
Philip Jackson, owner of Salmon Woodworks, participated in the Idaho hunting derby, and was also unsuccessful. He told reporters, “I was looking for both coyotes and wolves, but because BLM pulled their permit, we were forced to hunt mainly in the forest and that is more difficult. The BLM territory is less wooded, more open and on a lower elevation more conducive to hunting wolves.”
Although the wolf harvests were nonexistent the number of coyotes harvested increased by nine from last year. One team killed 12 coyotes, claimed the $1,000 prize for most coyotes killed, and sold some furs to buyers at the event.