By Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer
Question: "What are the laws about what citizens can do to protect themselves and their property from wolves?"
Answer: The answer is spelled out in Idaho Code 36-1107(c).
In part this law says: "Wolves may be disposed of without permit by livestock or domestic animal owners, their employees, agents and animal damage control personnel when they are molesting or attacking livestock or domestic animals."
The law goes onto require anyone who kills a wolf while protecting their property to report the incident to Fish and Game within 72 hours. All wolves killed remain property of the state.
The public may take any nonlethal steps necessary to protect their property. If wolves are not attacking or molesting domestic animals, a permit must be obtained in order to kill a wolf.
For the purposes of this law "molesting" means the "actions of a wolf that are annoying, disturbing, or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injurious effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animals."
The bottom-line is:
- Nonlethal measures, such as scare guns, are allowed any time to protect domestic animals.
- If domestic animals are being attacked, pursued, stalked, or if the domestic animals are responding to the presence of a wolf, such as running in flight or fight, lethal measures are allowed without a permit or authorization.
- If the wolf is not in hunting mode and the domestic animals show no concern by the presence of a wolf or if the wolves move off and run away, they cannot be pursued and shot without a permit or authorization from Fish and Game.
- A person may protect his or her property, but once the immediate threat of injury is over they may no longer kill the wolf.
If you have any further questions you may call the Magic Valley regional office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at 208-324-4350 or contact us at the Fish and Game Web site at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.