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“We want every wolf blasted!” and “Kill them ALL!” As hunting season opens, pro-wolf groups rally with equal vehemence and inflammatory language, decrying the state’s management plan: “It’s not management. It’s killing; it’s slaughter.” To be fair, as with other controversies, the loudest and most strident voices get the most press but do not necessarily represent the majority of opinion holders. Despite their efforts to reduce the wolf population, ranchers and hunters agree that the wolves are never likely to go away completely. “Wolves are here to stay, there’s no doubt about it; it’s just a matter of trying to keep their numbers in balance with other animals,” said Coeur d’Alene hunter Rich Gerhard. And Compton, who was thrilled with his wolf encounter in the wild, nevertheless sees the necessity of a hunt: “I don’t know how they thought they could introduce them successfully and not have them managed by hunting,” he said. The target number of 150 wolves remains controversial. As Sydow pointed out: “The wolf was out of the picture for 70 years. All of a sudden it’s back, and people don’t know what’s going to happen.” The wolves are not coming back to the same Idaho they left: Old-growth trees have been cut in some areas; new growth has filled in others; and far more people live now in remote areas that overlap with wildlife habitat. Nevertheless, Wakkinen feels that resistance to hunting wolves may be dying down to a degree. “As we continue to have a harvest season on them and as we continue to show that wolves are at viable numbers throughout the

state of Idaho, it takes the ammunition away,” he said. At some point, if the wolf population stabilizes, and if wolf advocates believe the population is big enough, and if ranchers and hunters feel that livestock are protected and game populations are adequate, wolves could come to be considered just another predator – albeit the elite one – in the wild landscape of northern Idaho.

Distribution of Wolves in Northwest

Green circles show documented wolf packs as of 2012; asterisks mark locations where the 1995-96 wolf transplants were made in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. Purple shows range of wolves prior to those transplants. SUMMER 2013

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Yellowstone’s Lamar Pack. Writes photographer Jerry Ferrara: “They had just gotten up after sleeping for several hours and were ‘greeting’ and making contact with each other, something they do regularly to maintain the social status of the pack. After nosing, rubbing and contact, they all trotted off probably to either hunt or to feed on a kill.”

SANDPOINT MAGAZINE

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5/8/13 8:52 AM

Profile for Keokee :: media + marketing

Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2013  

Arts, entertainment, lifestyle and recreation for residents and visitors of Sandpoint, Idaho. Feature the cover story on wolf revival; inter...

Sandpoint Magazine Summer 2013  

Arts, entertainment, lifestyle and recreation for residents and visitors of Sandpoint, Idaho. Feature the cover story on wolf revival; inter...

Profile for keokee