Consider allowing bait for hunting gray wolf during specific seasons

Develop rules to allow use of bait to hunt wolves in game management units and seasons to be set by Commission proclamation


The purpose of this rulemaking is to consider changes to the allowed use of bait for hunting gray wolf. Currently gray wolf may be taken incidentally to permitted black bear baits, where hunting seasons are open for both black bear and wolf, but big game rules do not allow use of bait specific to hunting wolf. The Commission allows or prohibits use of bait for black bear on a game management unit basis in big game season proclamations. There may be management circumstances for which the Commission may want to allow use of bait for hunting wolf at times and places where bait use is not allowed or seasons are not open for black bear, such as winter hibernation time, or to otherwise adjust use of bait specific to hunting gray wolf. The rulemaking may consider the elements defined in IDAPA for use of bait for hunting black bear, such as timing, placement, type of bait, and marking of site location, as well as other elements.

Notice of Intent Filing

Notice of Intent Posted:
Monday, June 5, 2017

Supporting Documentation

Attachment Size
PDF icon rev-rule-hunt-wolves-w-bait-06262017.pdf 236.8 KB


Comment Period:
7/5/2017 to 7/26/2017

Contact Information

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Primary Contact:

Jon Rachael
State Game Manager
Idaho Fish and Game
600 S. Walnut
PO Box 25
Boise, Idaho 83707
(208) 334-2920
Fax (208) 334-2114

Trophy hunter slays son of Cecil

July 21, 2017 
by Wayne Pacelle, President HSUS

This week, Vietnam agreed to the rescue and relocation of 1,000 bears who live on bear farms. These Asiatic sun bears are held in deplorable settings and “milked” in extraordinarily inhumane ways for their bile (used in tonics and in traditional Chinese medicine). The shut-down of this industry is a big moment in the global campaign to protect these predators, and we salute the Vietnamese government and also Animals Asia Foundation, which drove the outcome. We hope this policy advance creates more pressure on China to replicate the policy.

In Africa, on the other hand, there’s jarring news on the treatment of predators. There’s been an eerily familiar slaying in Zimbabwe: a trophy hunter shot and killed Xanda the lion, whose primary range consisted of a portion of Hwange National Park. Xanda was the son of Cecil, who was also killed two summers ago after a hunting guide lured him outside of Hwange as a set-up for his fee-paying client.

Xanda was four years old when Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil with an arrow, wounding him and allowing him to suffer through the night before finishing him with a second shot approximately 10 hours later. No one knew what would become of Cecil’s progeny, since trophy hunting disrupts social relationships among family members. Lions live in communities where males sometimes work together to protect their mates and cubs; when a dominant male is lost, new male coalitions may seize the moment and try to take over prides. When they succeed, they are known to kill the cubs to ensure the females continue only their lineage. Xanda survived the loss of his father and grew into a mature male who mated and had cubs of his own.

The professional hunter who led his client to kill Xanda handed over his collar to Oxford University biologists, who were tracking Xanda. His death has the potential to disrupt the pride again. What will become of Xanda’s cubs, Cecil’s grandchildren? Will they, too, share the same fate as their father and their grandfather?

The scientists at Oxford University, who have been studying the lions in Hwange for decades, have data to show that lion hunting is not sustainable in the Hwange area, and have pressed for lower hunting quotas and, more recently, a no-hunting buffer zone, around the park. The scientists’ data reveal that trophy hunters are exploiting the lions who live most of their lives in the park. They lure the lions from the park, baiting them with prey species who are strung up in trees as a setup for the kill.

Treating our national parks as incubators for trophy animals is also happening in the United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is aligned with state fish and wildlife officials in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, and with the trophy hunting lobby to delist grizzlies so that hunters can shoot them outside of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. And a recent study in and around the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve showed massive mortality among wolves who spent most of their time in the preserve but then occasionally wandered outside, where they were shot or trapped. Conversely, a study of wolves in the United States, in Denali and Yellowstone national parks, found that sightings of wolves increased significantly in the years that trapping and hunting buffer zones were created around Denali and when no hunting was permitted in Wyoming.

Throughout all of Africa, perhaps as few as 20,000 lions survive – their number halved in the last two decades. Trophy hunting is, without question, one of the greatest threats to lions. Most lion trophy hunters are American and until last year, these Americans imported an average of nearly 600 lions a year into the United States. That stopped when, in response to a petition from The HSUS and Humane Society International to list the lions under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) prohibited lion trophy imports, including imports from Zimbabwe. Now the USFWS may be buckling to Safari Club International, which is clamoring to resume such imports. Our best tribute to Xanda right now would be to ensure that we keep this ban in place. American trophy hunters should create no more mayhem, and must stop shooting lions as a headhunting exercise, including lions living in the supposed, protected confines of national parks.





Mexican wolves desperately need your voice. The long overdue plan to guide recovery efforts in the coming decades was just released and it falls woefully short of actually recovering lobos.

Please sign our citizens’ comment letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the flawed draft plan by August 28th.

The draft “recovery” plan reads more like a draft extinction plan dreamed up by the wolves’ most hostile opponents. It’s so fundamentally flawed that we cannot possibly include all of our concerns in this short email.

The plan gives away decision-making authority over vital releases of captive-bred wolves into the wild to the anti-carnivore states of New Mexico and Arizona. It actively prevents lobos from reclaiming historic habitats, and artificially caps the wild population at just 320-380 wolves when the best science shows we need at least 750 wolves to declare the species recovered. And it settles for lobos recovering only in Mexico.

Sign our citizens’ comment letter and tell the Service to put science and the law ahead of political pettiness. Then take a few moments to write your own comments here.

Fewer than 113 lobos remain in the wild in the U.S., and those struggling survivors are facing a severe genetic crisis and devastatingly high rates of human-caused deaths. Mexican wolves need all the help they can get to successfully recover. Let’s tell the Service to embrace a recovery plan that places science and the lobos’ best interests first.

We will not sit idly by while our federal officials surrender the fight for Mexican wolves. Please join us in telling the Service to support welcoming lobos home to the American Southwest.

For the wild,


Bethany Cotton
Wildlife Program Director
WildEarth Guardians

2 young grizzlies euthanized after killing livestock, seen farther east than any in 100 years

  • Gazette Staff
  • Jun 26, 2017

Two sub-adult male grizzly bears were euthanized by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Monday morning after they killed livestock over the weekend west of Stanford.

FWP bear managers also captured and relocated two young female grizzlies that were getting accustomed to being in people’s yards in northwest Montana’s Yaak Valley last week.

The two males near Stanford mark the farthest grizzly bears have been seen east of the Rocky Mountain Front in more than a century. Stanford is located in Judith County on the plains between the Highwood, Little Belt and Judith mountain ranges.

The two bears were siblings and had been seen south of the Missouri River, southeast of Great Falls, several times during the past few weeks. The bears killed four calves late Friday night or early Saturday morning. This was the first time the two bears had killed livestock.

When the depredation was reported, FWP and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services responded to capture the bears. One bear was caught in a snare. The other bear was darted in a field. Both were handed over to FWP. That agency’s officials proposed euthanizing the bears to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is the federal agency with oversight responsibilities for grizzly bears.

The two bears are part of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population, which is still listed on the Endangered Species List, though populations in the region have surpassed recovery goals set by the USFWS. Grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in and around Yellowstone National Park have been slated for delisting from the ESA next month.

Grizzly bears in the NCDE have been moving from the Rocky Mountain Front and onto the plains west of Great Falls for the past few years, with some bears pushing farther east each year. About 1,000 grizzlies are estimated to live in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, Glacier National Park and the Mission Mountains and Rattlesnake Wilderness areas comprising the NCDE.

The bears were 2.5 years old and weighed a little less than 300 pounds each. As the public reported sightings of the bears over the past few weeks, FWP biologists and wardens visited with landowners and ranchers inquiring about conflicts and advising people to keep attractants out of the bears’ reach.

Last Thursday about 14 miles west of where the bears killed the four calves, FWP biologists set traps trying to capture the bears. The effort was unsuccessful as the two grizzlies moved farther east.

In the Yaak incident, a pair of sibling females had been grazing on new grass in people’s yards and raiding bird feeders. The bears were initially trapped in the Creston, British Columbia, vicinity on June 5 after approaching homes there. Canadian wildlife officials relocated them near the Montana border near the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, where U.S. authorities are trying to re-establish a grizzly population.

However, once the bears got in trouble again on June 20, British Columbia and Montana bear managers decided to split up the pair. One sow was released in the White Creek tributary of the St. Mary River in B.C., while the other was turned loose in a remote area northwest of Yaak. Both grizzlies were fitted with GPS tracking collars.


Vaquitas May Go Extinct in Just Months – Sign to Save Them!

Petitioning Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo Gutiérrez

Petition by Lady Freethinker
One of the world’s rarest and most cherished animals, the vaquita porpoise, is on the brink of extinction. With just 30 — or possibly even fewer — of these marine mammals left in the entire world, they could be gone forever within months, according to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).

Vaquitas are the smallest cetaceans (a type of marine mammal that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises) on Earth, and exist only in the Gulf of California in Mexico. To lose this special species would be heartbreaking.

Why is the vaquita in so much danger? Fishing nets.

The tiny cetaceans are dying in rapid numbers because they get caught in gillnets at fisheries. And since they only reproduce every other year, the vaquita population cannot afford to lose a single more member.

Fortunately, the solution to save the beloved vaquita is clear: Ban the gillnet. Indeed, this may be the only hope this species has left.

Please save the vaquita from extinction. Sign this petition to urge the Mexican ambassador to the United States to outlaw the gillnet immediately — before we lose the vaquita forever.



Image may contain: bird, text and outdoor

Meet the Waved Albatross, the most endangered Albatross out of the twenty one species within the genera known. Identified back in 1883, listed as [critically endangered] the species is known scientifically as Phoebastria irrorata. Since 2007 the Waved Albatross has been bordering complete extinction throughout its range. Endemic to Chile; Colombia; Ecuador (Galápagos); and Peru the bird is also a vagrant in Panama too. populations are still decreasing – and fast! On Española, the breeding population was estimated at c. 12,000 pairs in 1970-1971, 15,600-18,200 pairs in 1994 and at least 34,694 adults in 2001. On Isla de la Plata, there are probably fewer than 10-20 pairs. Unfortunately its now highly likely we may see yet another bird extinction occur within the next 5-8 years should conservation efforts not improve and threats decline rapidly.

Recent studies indicate lower adult annual survival during 1995-2005 than estimates from the 1960s, as the species is suffering mortality within some inshore fisheries through intentional harvesting for human consumption and incidental bycatch. This is supported by reports, which suggest that the level of harvesting by fishers to supply food and feather markets has increased dramatically in recent years. Around the Galápagos Islands, the transition from traditional to more modern fishing techniques such as longlining may pose a threat, as there is recent evidence of an increasing propensity for the species to follow fishing vessels. Longline fishing operations along the Peruvian and Ecuadorian coasts may therefore also threaten the species.

Rates of bycatch incidence in the artisanal fishing communities off the coast of Ecuador have been estimated at 0.11 albatrosses/1,000 hooks. Analysis of birds caught as intentional and incidental take in inshore fisheries has revealed that a disproportionate number of males are taken, and this appears to be at least partly responsible for a female-biased sex ratio (1.188 females per male) in adults. The tiny population on Isla de la Plata is threatened by nest-predation by rats and cats, as well as the illegal collection of eggs and young. Movement of eggs by parents (frequently resulting in death of the egg) and mass desertions of eggs are yet to be fully explained. An oiled albatross was found on Española during 2001 too.

The species has shown susceptibility to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, perhaps owing to increased adult mortality or increased negative interactions with fisheries under these conditions. Plastic ingestion appears to be a relatively minor threat in comparison with some other albatrosses. Increased abundance of mosquitoes during warm El Niño events has caused the mass abandonment of eggs in the past. Two hillside colonies disappeared entirely by 1994 due to dense vegetation, and overall declines in populations in other inland areas have also been attributed to habitat loss associated with vegetation regrowth since goats were eradicated in 1978. During the breeding season the species is affected by introduced mosquitoes.

If you would like to help save this species from extinction please donate to the Galapagos Conservation Organisation or contact them via their website below.

Alternately you can also contact them on Facebook here > Galapagos Conservation Trust

Thank you for reading.

Dr Jose (Director) PhD. MEnvSc. BSc(Hons) Botany, PhD(NeuroSci) D.V.M. Environmental, Botanical & Human Scientist.

Alaska murre die-off led to near-total reproductive failures in Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea

The massive die-offs that left Alaska beaches coated with tens of thousands of murre carcasses in 2015 and 2016 also took a big toll on the birds’ next generation when survivors failed to breed.

There was a near-total reproduction failure last year at all of the monitored breeding sites in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, federal biologists report.

At about 20 of the rocky outcroppings where common murres nest, lay eggs and hatch chicks, almost no fledglings were found, said Heather Renner, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Murres are black-and-white seabirds related to puffins and auks, are better at diving than flying, and look a bit like penguins. They are plentiful in Alaska’s waters, normally numbering about 2.8 million, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

“All of the colonies that I’m aware of in the Gulf of Alaska had complete failures, and also the Bering Sea,” said Renner, who is based in Homer and works at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

Biologists had never documented such a widespread reproductive wipeout for common murres in Alaska, she said. Exactly why such a failure occurred is not yet known but is believed to be linked to lack of food connected to the “long, extended period of warm water,” she said.

Normally, about half of common murre nests successfully fledge chicks, she said. And murres in the Aleutian Islands and Chukchi Sea reproduced normally last year, despite the problems in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, she said.

The grim news about the Gulf and Bering Sea murres’ reproductive failures was reported last week at the Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference and Forum held in Unalaska.

The common murre die-off of 2015 and 2016, linked to unusually warm conditions in the marine environment, was the biggest on record in Alaska. Nearly 42,000 carcasses were collected, and far more dead birds went uncollected, Renner said. Starving but still-alive murres were found in inland spots, far away from their marine habitat, an indication of fruitless searches for food.

The die-off coincided with the presence of a large mass of warm water in the North Pacific that lingered from late 2013 to 2016. Nicknamed “the Blob,” it combined with another phenomenon that also warmed the region’s waters, one of the most powerful El Nino systems on record.

Several other animal die-offs during that period were also linked to the warm conditions. Dozens of large whale carcasses were found floating or beached in the Gulf of Alaska, and toxins from warm-water-stimulated algal blooms are leading suspects in those deaths, now classified as an “unusual mortality event” being investigated by scientists. Hundreds of emaciated puffins turned up dead on St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea last year, and warmth-related lack of food is considered the likely cause.

Mass strandings of starving sea lions and seals occurred on the U.S. West Coast, a phenomenon also blamed on warm water. Hundreds of dead and dying sea otters were found in Kachemak Bay off the Kenai Peninsula during the period, though the cause of that die-off remains unknown.

As for Alaska’s common murres, they are now making their spring return to Alaska from southern wintering grounds, Renner said. Murres flew into Kachemak Bay about two weeks ago and they appear to be healthy, she said.

“I’ve seen them arriving at the right time and looking normal, so fingers crossed,” she said.

Although the North Pacific has cooled back to about normal, the possibility of more warm water next winter still remains. The National Weather Service, in a report updated on Monday, says there is about a 50 percent chance that another El Nino system will develop by this fall.

Washington lawmakers seek to shield wolf-plagued ranchers from threats


The Senate joins the House in passing a bill that stems from threats made to ranchers last summer as the state shot wolves
by Don JenkinsCapital Press

Published on April 10, 2017

A wolf walks in the snow in this photo from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. State lawmakers are moving a bill to withhold records that identify ranchers who help state wildlife managers investigate and prevent attacks by wolves on livestock. The bill stems from threats against ranchers from people angry with state’s use of lethal control to stop depredations.


A wolf walks in the snow in this photo from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. State lawmakers are moving a bill to withhold records that identify ranchers who help state wildlife managers investigate and prevent attacks by wolves on livestock. The bill stems from threats against ranchers from people angry with state’s use of lethal control to stop depredations.


OLYMPIA — The Washington Senate and House have approved legislation to withhold records that name ranchers who report that wolves are attacking livestock or sign agreements to prevent depredations.

House Bill 1465 stems from threats ranchers and public employees received last summer as the Department of Fish and Wildlife shot wolves preying on cattle in the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington.

The region’s senator, Shelly Short, R-Addy, said she hoped holding back the identity of ranchers would encourage producers to work with WDFW.

“I don’t take lightly that this bill allows this information to be exempt from the Public Records Act,” she said. “What this bill doesn’t do is (prevent) folks from having access to department decisions.”

The Senate passed the bill 40-7 on Friday after making minor changes to a version the House passed last month.

Ranchers along with state and local officials reported being harassed and receiving death threats from people angry with the shooting of seven wolves in the Profanity Peak pack. No suspects were identified or arrested.

The bill originally proposed withholding records that would identify state wildlife managers or contractors connected with responding to depredations.

The original bill also would have allowed WDFW to withhold where wolves were attacking livestock, beyond citing the pack’s territory. Washington wolfpacks range over territories as large as 635 square miles, according to WDFW. The department now reports the township where attacks occur. Townships are normally 36 square miles.

The bill was narrowed to focus on withholding WDFW records that identify ranchers who report depredations or have signed agreements specifying how they will prevent conflicts between livestock and wolves. The agreements make ranchers eligible for state funding.

WDFW reported entering into 54 agreements with livestock producers in 2016 and spending $410,000 to help them guard their animals.

Some ranchers who work informally with WDFW to prevent depredations say they’re concerned that signing an agreement implies they’re satisfied with the state’s policy of encouraging wolves to recolonize the state.

WDFW estimates the state has at least 115 wolves and anticipates the population will grow by about one-third a year. Most wolves are in Ferry, Okanogan, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.

Short said lawmakers whose constituents support having a stable and widespread wolf population should back the bill.

“I believe this bill becomes an important tool to increase the willingness of folks who are dealing with recovering populations,” Short said. “It will encourage them to work more directly with the department.”

Russian Conservationists Launch Survey of Elusive Snow Leopard


SAYLYUGEMSKY NATIONAL PARK, Russia — If you fly to the most remote corner of Siberia, drive for nine hours, cross another 60 miles of ice and hills in a sturdy Soviet jeep and climb a mountain, you just may see a snow leopard. Or maybe its footprint.

The endangered snow leopard is one of the most elusive and understudied of all big cats on the planet.

But this may change, thanks to a pioneering survey launched last month that aims to compile an exact headcount of all snow leopards in Siberia, down to the last cub.

Scientists Discover New Way to Research Snow Leopard 2:31

It could be a crucial step in saving the felines, which are threatened by shrinking habitats, poachers’ snares and guns and Asian traditional medicine.

“All of us like cats, of course. But it’s not just a cat, it’s an indication of the health of an ecosystem,” said Dmitry Burenko, director of development at WWF Russia, speaking to NBC News in the Saylyugemsky National Park in the Altai mountains.

If that’s true, the ecosystem of Altai — a Russian republic in southern Siberia — is definitely in trouble.

Its arid, windswept ridges host a population of 200,000 people in an area the size of Indiana. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one million tourists flock here every year to ride horses, kayak or hike.

Image: Bianca, a female snow leopard
A female snow leopard at a zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Ilya Naymushin / Reuters

But between winter temperatures of minus 40 degrees, cutting winds and elevation of up to 14,000 feet, it’s an inhospitable place for humans — which is exactly how the snow leopard likes it.

“The leopard favors hard-to-reach areas,” said Alexander Karnaukhov, a leading expert with the World Wildlife Fund Russia.

The big cat is found in 12 countries but there are only an estimated 3,000-6,000 worldwide. The biggest populations are in China and Mongolia. Russia, the northernmost edge of the habitat, is thought to have no more than 60-70.

“No exhaustive surveys are held, and many countries exaggerate their numbers,” Karnaukhov said.

The Science of Poop

Conservationists have been complaining for years about the lack of reliable leopard numbers. Countries use different counting methodologies, including the counting of traces which are easy mixed up with lynx and wolverines, and the figures are never compatible.

The Russian method being tested in the Altai starts with careful computer modeling of potential habitats.

Image: Mountainous region of Altai, Russia
The farmer in this region of Altai told NBC News that he has seen a snow leopard prowling the ridges. Mitya Solovyov / NBC News

Rangers, who know area well, place cameras on game trails. This is far more dangerous than it sounds: The snow leopard prefers the tops of mountain ranges, from which it can see its prey — ibex and argali sheep.

An NBC News crew following a ranger to one camera location had to scramble 700 feet up a frozen mountain river where one misstep would send climbers sliding down to the steppe on the horizon.

The most important part is not pictures, but poop. Leopard excrement collected and placed into “zip bags” on game trails is analyzed for DNA that identifies not only individual leopards but their kinship.

The method is not entirely unique — it is being used in another form to track tigers in India — but Russian scientists hope to perfect it so that it can be used for all snow leopard surveys from China to Tajikistan.

“We’ll hold an international meeting on this method in May, and hope that other countries will adopt it,” WWF’s Karnaukhov said.

Ensnared Cats

Humans have been killing off snow leopards for a century, though not always deliberately.

Climate change affects some habitats and hunting remains a problem, though poaching is low in Russia, said Denis Malikov, deputy director of the Saylyugemsky National Park.

Leopards can also incur the wrath of sheep herders if the