CO & ID Wolf News Roundup
A Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist and CPW district wildlife manager each independently reported visual confirmation of multiple pups with wolves M2101 and F1084. While these observations were necessarily made at long distance, CPW staff have recorded three separate, but similar, sightings of pups on the ground in Colorado.
Between June 4 - 8, staff conducted three separate observations of the den site from a safe distance approximately two miles away. Each of the three sightings included both M2101 “John” and F1084 “Jane”, collared wolves known to reside in the state, along with their three pups. While three pups have been observed over the past week, it is not yet confirmed that these are the only pups. A typical wolf litter consists of 4 - 6 pups.
“Colorado is now home to our first wolf litter since the 1940s. We welcome this historic den and the new wolf family to Colorado. With voter passage last year of the initiative to require re-introduction of the wolf by the end of 2023, these pups will have plenty of potential mates when they grow up to start their own families,” said Governor Jared Polis.
“We are continuing to actively monitor this den site while exercising extreme caution so as not to inadvertently jeopardize the potential survival of these pups,” said Libbie Miller, CPW wildlife biologist. “Our hope is that we will eventually have photos to document this momentous occasion in Colorado's incredible and diverse wildlife history, but not bothering them remains a paramount concern.”
Despite the significant distance, staff have the experience and equipment to make affirmative observations. All three observations of pups have been made at dawn or dusk in low light conditions, and featured quite a bit of movement of M2101 and F1084 with the small pups during brief observation windows.
As the pups grow larger and spend more time outside of the den, biologists and area staff will have additional opportunities to observe the animals. Staff are working with landowners in the area to implement practices to minimize the potential for conflict.
“It’s incredible that these two adult animals have traveled the distance and overcome the challenges they have to get here, and to now have pups in Colorado,” said Kris Middledorf, area wildlife manager for CPW. “It’s our priority to ensure that they have the chance to thrive, so even as we have exciting news, we want to remind everyone that these animals remain endangered in Colorado.”
As a state endangered species, killing a gray wolf in Colorado results in a fine of $100,000, jail time, and a loss of hunting privileges. Harassment of wildlife is also illegal in the state.
For additional information on how to stay informed about wolves in Colorado, visit cpw.state.co.us and sign up for Gray Wolf Reintroduction eNews.
Idaho Fish and Game is seeking public feedback on a proposal to extend wolf hunting and trapping opportunities and enhanced methods of take. The proposed changes relate to Idaho legislative action that will take effect July 1.
Senate Bill 1211 recently passed into law and extends wolf hunting and trapping with foothold traps to year-round on private property with landowner permission. The law also expands the legal methods of take for wolves to include methods currently legal in Idaho for taking other wild canines, such as coyotes and foxes, but closed for taking other big game species.
Those expanded methods of take include:
• Weapon restrictions (for hunting big game) do not apply
• Exemption from shooting hours (written permission from the landowner is required on private land, and a permit from the Director of Fish and Game is required on public land, which is consistent with requirements for spotlighting coyotes at night.)
• Hunting wolves over bait is allowed on private land
• Motorized vehicle restrictions for hunting big game do not apply
• Dogs may be used to pursue wolves, and no hound hunter permit is required
These expanded methods do not currently include aerial shooting of wolves, which is subject to the Federal Airborne Hunting Act and not allowed in Idaho. If Idaho should allow aerial hunting of wolves, it would be specific to designated control actions and by permit from the Idaho Department of Agriculture, which is authorized through the Federal Airborne Hunting Act.
While the recent law establishes a year-round foothold trapping season for wolves on private land and provides the ability to allow expanded methods of take, the expectation of the Legislature was for the Fish and Game Commission to set seasons for snaring and expanded methods of take through proclamation.
Fish and Game proposes no change to the wolf snaring seasons currently in place on public and private land, and it also proposes no change to the foothold trapping seasons on public land.
The proposal allows expanded methods of take on private land year-round, provided landowner permission. The proposal also allows expanded methods of take for hunting on public land from Nov. 15 through March 31 in areas with a history of chronic livestock depredation, or where elk herds are below management objectives, including units 4, 4A, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10A, 12, 14, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 18, 19, 20, 20A, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 32A, 33, 34, 35, 36, 36A, 36B, 37, 39, 43, 44, 49, 50,62, 64, 65, 67.
Wolf hunting and methods of take would remain unchanged from currently established seasons on public land between April 1 through Nov. 14 in those same units. Wolf hunting seasons and methods of take on public land in all other units (those without a history of chronic livestock depredation or that are currently meeting biological management objectives for elk) will also remain unchanged.
A detailed summary of the current and proposed wolf hunting and trapping seasons and rules can be viewed on the public feedback webpage. The deadline for feedback is June 13.