Idaho's wolf population decreased by 13% last year, leaving an estimated 1,337 gray wolves in the state. Wildlife managers attribute this to a concerted effort by Fish and Game staff, hunters, trappers, and other partners and agencies to reduce wolf conflicts with livestock and bring the population in balance with prey species.
Furthermore, a law passed during the 2021 legislative sessions loosened the state's already permissive wolf hunting and trapping regulations, allowing for the hiring of private contractors to hunt wolves, which is believed to have contributed to the decline. Despite hunters and trappers killing 438 wolves in 2021, the number killed this year is on pace to be the lowest in the past five years.
However, not all environmental groups agree with the population decline, with some citing Idaho's "horrific laws that allow the widespread slaughter of wolves" as the cause. The Center for Biological Diversity is pushing for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore federal protection of wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming in order to protect the species from further decline.