Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Hired hunter eliminates two wolf packs in Idaho
First Published Jan 29 2014 08:17 am • Last Updated Jan 29 2014 11:59 am

Ketchum, Idaho • A professional hunter has been called out of a federal wilderness in central Idaho because he succeeded in killing all the wolves in two packs, a state agency spokesman said.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Mike Keckler tells the Idaho Mountain Express in a story on Wednesday that the hunter killed eight wolves with traps and a ninth by hunting.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Gus Thoreson of Salmon started hunting and trapping in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in mid-December as part of a state plan to eliminate wolves to boost elk numbers. The state agency had planned to keep Thoreson hunting through the winter.

"He had been pretty effective early on, but it had been two weeks since he had taken any wolves, so we decided there was no reason to keep him in the area any longer," Keckler said.

Keckler said the average size of a wolf pack in Idaho is five wolves, so the agency determined it had reached its goal of eliminating the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek packs. Officials announced Monday that Thoreson was coming out.

Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore’s acknowledgement that Thoreson’s hunt relied on the use of the U.S. Forest Service’s backcountry airstrips and cabin had prompted strong emotions, including from wolf advocates who sued in federal court to force him to quit.

Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project and Wilderness Watch filed the lawsuit Jan. 6 asking the judge to stop the plan immediately to give the case time to work through the courts. The environmental groups were joined by Ralph Maughan, a former Idaho State University professor, conservationist and long-time wolf recovery advocate from Pocatello.

They lost their initial bid on Jan. 17 when a federal judge rejected their request for a temporary restraining order. The conservation groups argued that Thoreson’s activities violated the 1964 Wilderness Act and other federal acts.

The groups had appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tim Preso, an attorney for Earthjustice representing the groups, said Wednesday that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game faced a Tuesday deadline to file a legal brief concerning the appeal, but pulling the hunter made that unnecessary.


story continues below
story continues below

"Instead they were able to sidestep all that," he said, adding the groups are considering their next move.

"I am happy that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has relented, but it is unfortunate that so many wolves have been taken in this senseless plan to manhandle wildlife in an area that Congress recognized as a wilderness," said Ken Cole, National Environmental Policy Act coordinator at the Boise office of Western Watersheds Project.

Wolves were reintroduced to Idaho in the mid-1990s and have since flourished in backcountry regions, including the Frank Church wilderness.

Last year, state game managers estimated Idaho’s wolf population at 683, an 11 percent drop from 2012. The highest total was in 2009, when it estimated 859 wolves were in the state.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.