The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Division has been pursuing a pair of wolves in the Boise Foothills for almost three a month now, after the wolves killed at least 11 sheep grazing the Upper Hulls Gulch area.
Wildlife services has been using a fixed-wing plane and ground shooters with wolf calls to locate and kill the two wolves, after the Idaho Department of Fish and Game authorized the action on May 5, according to Assistant State Director George Graves.
"Most of the time when we confirm livestock predation, most of the time, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game gives us authorization to use lethal means," Graves told Citydesk.
The two suspected wolves, not part of any established packs, took eight lambs and three ewes, and there is the possibility of three more still unconfirmed kills. The attacks happened in four separate depredation incidents, Graves said, the most recent of which was on May 24. Frank Shirts, who grazes on the Boise Front, owned all of the lost sheep.
While the Idaho Conservation League has supported delisting wolves and state management of the species, ICL Program Director Justin Hayes said that Wildlife Services has been "overzealous" in its wolf control efforts and that he is hearing lots of complaints about the agency.
“Using aerial gunning to kill wolves in sight of the state capitol is a crazy, and very bad idea,” Hayes said.
There have been established wolf packs in the Boise Foothills for at least a decade now. The map below shows named packs as of 2009 and the "+" symbols indicate confirmed sightings.