Love em or hate em&&we got em! Since we don't have a lot of free-ranging livestock up here in northern Idaho most of the concern is from sportsmen and the impact wolves are having on our big game herds. We need to all keep in mind that just like the other large predators (bears and mountain lions, both of which greatly out-number wolves in the Panhandle) wolves kill deer and elk. The real question is to what degree are they impacting the status of our herds.
Probably the easiest thing to look at is hunter success. If you look at the number of elk harvested in the Panhandle compared with the number of hunters it will give us a good idea how our elk are faring. If we look at the number of elk checked through the Panhandle Mandatory Elk Check clear back through 1982 compared with the hunter numbers the average hunter success rate over all those years is a little over 13%. Using the same method the hunter success rate in 2003 was just over 17%. That doesn't sound very high and there are lots of places to hunt elk that typically produce higher hunter success rates. But that's the reality of hunting elk in the Panhandle where we have some of the thickest cover of any place that has an elk season.