After they were nearly wiped out in the lower 48 states, wolves
in Idaho were declared endangered in 1974 under the Endangered
Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 1987 recovery
plan for wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains included
reintroducing them in central Idaho in 1995 and 1996.
Since then, Idaho has been involved in wolf management as
directed by the Legislature, which in 2002, adopted the Idaho Wolf
Conservation and Management Plan. Under the plan Idaho Fish and
Game would be responsible for wolf management following
In February 2005, the Fish and Wildlife Service revised the
rules that govern the experimental non-essential population of
reintroduced wolves in Idaho south of Interstate 90. The change
eased wolf management rules and gave Idaho a greater role in wolf
In January 2006, an agreement between Idaho and the U.S.
Department of Interior designated the state as an agent for
day-to-day wolf management for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
On October 18, 2010, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter returned
responsibility for wolf management to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. Efforts to renew the 2006 agreement giving day-to-day
management to Idaho Fish and Game have been unsuccessful.
On April 15, 2011, Congress passed the federal budget, which
included a rider sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sen.
Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
to republish the 2009 delisting rule within 60 days and remove
wolves in Montana, Idaho, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and
north-central Utah from the endangered species list and turn wolf
management over to the states. Wolves would continue to be managed
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Wyoming until the state
has a USFWS-approved regulatory framework for wolf management.
Wolves were removed from the endangered species list on May 5,
2011. Idaho Fish and Game has taken over management under the 2002
wolf management plan. Wolves will be managed as big game animals,
similar to black bears and mountain lions. Hunting seasons will be
set by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.