Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Dead Wolf is a Dead Wolf is a Dead Wolf--This is Congress at Work

Idaho wolf hunters have more options, targets than Montanans

Idaho wolf hunters have more options and opportunities, as well as more wolves, than Montanans will see this fall.
Multiple tags, electronic calling, baiting and trapping are all OK, according to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
All are illegal in Montana.
Idaho also retroactively reduced its nonresident wolf tag price from $186 to $31.75, sending refunds to out-of-staters who bought the higher-priced permit. And Idaho has no quota on how many wolves can be shot, while Montana has limited its season to 220 wolves.
But there's little concern about over-hunting, according to Idaho Fish and Game spokesman Niels Nokkentved.
"In practice, it's pretty speculative," Nokkentved said, "especially if you think of how hard it was to hunt a wolf."
Only 1 percent of the roughly 30,000 Idaho license buyers actually killed a wolf in 2009, and that year's quota of 220 was missed by 32. Montanans killed 72 of the allowed 75 wolves that year, and the season was called off with a month left to run.
This year, Idaho Fish and Game has sold about 4,300 wolf licenses as of the end of July. Its resident tag costs $11.50, and hunters are allowed to buy two per season.
Idaho trappers must also buy a wolf tag in addition to their trapping license. They are allowed to buy three wolf trapping permits in addition to two wolf hunting tags, and may use their hunting tags during the trapping season if they haven't filled them already.
Montana's wolf licenses don't go on sale until Aug. 8. The cost is $19 for resident hunters and $350 for nonresidents. Montana allows only one wolf tag per hunter.
Wolf hunting in Montana will follow the same limitations as other big-game animals, according to state Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim. That includes prohibitions on electronic calls, baiting and trapping.
"It was intentional," Aasheim said of the fair-chase format. "We're going to learn how effective the hunter is first."
Montana's wolf management plan assumes a minimum total of 566 animals. The proposed hunting quota of 220, plus the addition of new pups this year, should put next year's population around 425 wolves.
Both states want to remain above 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs, although the actual federal threshold is 100 and 10, respectively.
"It's not a management number," Nokkentved said. "It's the point where it goes from managing wolves to crisis. Our intent is that we do not get close to that number."
The hunting plans assume the 2011 season goes forward. A lawsuit challenging Congress' removal of wolves from Endangered Species Act protection awaits a decision by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula. Michael Garrity of Alliance for the Wild Rockies, one of the plaintiffs challenging the government, said there were no updates from Molloy's office as of Monday.