Saturday, May 14, 2011

Five wolves shot in Lolo from helicopter

By Rocky Barker


Aerial gunners killed five wolves in the Lolo region of northcentral Idaho since Wednesday.
Shooters for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services quit Friday, saying weather conditions were no good for shooting wolves from a helicopter, Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials said.
Fish and Game biologists have recommended wolf numbers be reduced in the Lolo to help struggling elk populations. But the steep, heavily forested wild area is a hard place for shooters to locate wolves, even though some of the predators have radio collars.
Wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains were removed from the federal endangered species list more than a week ago and Idaho once again has authority to manage the animals. The Fish and Game Commission is expected to set its goal for the wolf population at somewhere below 500 next week.
Biologists estimate there are from 705 to 1,000 wolves in the state. But no one knows how many are in the Lolo area.
Fish and Game hopes to reduce wolf numbers to between 20 and 30 wolves in the two big game units that make up the Lolo zone.