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Gray Wolf Harvest in Idaho

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Regulated harvest is a relatively new phenomenon for gray wolves (Canis lupus) in the contiguous United States. Most studies of wolf harvest have been conducted in northern latitudes where wolf populations are large and human densities are low. Insights from wolf harvest in northern North America may not accurately describe wolf harvest in the lower 48 states. I assessed the efficacy of the recently (2009, 2011–2014) reinstated wolf harvest in Idaho, USA, to test whether it was selective for certain characteristics of individual wolves. I predicted that males and females would be harvested at similar rates, pups would be more common in trap than rifle harvest, most harvest would be from trapping, and harvest effort would not decline over time. Additionally, I predicted that black wolves would be selected as trophies and more frequent in rifle than trap harvest. Male wolves were more vulnerable to rifle harvest than females, pups were not more vulnerable to trapping, trapping did not comprise most of the harvest, and effort did not appear to change over time. Lastly, black wolves were not effectively targeted as trophies. I recommend continued monitoring of wolf harvest to further test harvest-related predictions that provide insights specific to wolves and ecological systems of the conterminous United States.

Document: Ausband_2016_Idaho_wolf_harvest.pdf  PDF icon

Author(s): David E. Ausband

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