Sunday, June 26, 2011

Plan to kill N. Idaho wolves having little success


A plan by state officials to kill up to 60 wolves in north-central Idaho to protect elk herds has had little success so far, after aerial gunners and now state officials and hunting outfitters report limited results.
A reported six wolves have been killed so far, five by aerial gunners in May before that method was abandoned because of low success due to the wolves being in thick timber.
An Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officer shot another wolf near Powell on July 18.
"I would have thought we would have had more, but that is it," Dave Cadwallader, supervisor of the department's Clearwater Region, told the Lewiston Tribune.
State officials want to kill up to 60 wolves in the region, leaving about 20 or 30, after the Obama administration removed the predators from Endangered Species Act protections earlier this year.
With the aerial gunning from a helicopter having less success than officials hoped, officials have turned to hunting outfitters and their guides in the Lolo Zone. They were authorized to shoot wolves during the spring bear hunting season, but that hasn't panned out.
"Most of the outfitters I have talked to just aren't seeing any wolf activity," Cadwallader said.
State officials near Elk City have also been authorized to shoot wolves after numerous complaints, but Cadwallader said the wolves aren't being seen as frequently.
"I think it's the time of year," he said. "The elk have moved out and are calving and the wolves have moved on."
Estimates put Idaho's wolf population at 705, but officials with Fish and Game said the number after this year's litter of pups may exceed 1,000.
In May, Fish and Game began selling wolf hunting tags for $11.50 to Idaho residents, one day after the predators were taken off the endangered species list. Out-of-state hunters will have to shell out $186 for a wolf permit.
Idaho officials are in the process of setting quotas and rules for this season's wolf hunt.
Hunters took to the backcountry two years ago to hunt wolves after the predators were delisted the first time. Hunters killed 188 wolves during that first public hunt, short of the state limit of 220.
Officials in Montana are also gearing up for a wolf hunt this fall.
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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com