Idaho wolf hunt quota set; tags go on sale Monday
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has set a quota of 220 wolves for the inaugural wolf hunting season, scheduled to begin next month.
Tags will go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. at Idaho Fish and Game offices, online and at private outdoor retailers. The cost is $11.75 for state residents and $186 for non-residents. All hunters must also possess an Idaho hunting license, which costs $12.75 for residents, $154.75 for non-residents.
The commission rejected a more aggressive option, which called for a quota of 430 wolves -- 49% of the state's wolf population.
Idaho joins Montana as one of the first Lower 48 states to legally participate in gray wolf hunts. Last month, the neighboring state set a quota of 75 wolves, with hunting season also scheduled to begin in September.
The plan continues to draw protests, though. Several lawsuits by environmental groups regarding the predators' removal from protection under the Endangered Species Act are pending, and could block the upcoming hunt.
"The heavy-handed wolf hunt now scheduled by Idaho, together with the hunt planned by Montana, demonstrates precisely the kind of irresponsible state management that should have precluded taking the wolf off the endangered species list at this point in time,” Defenders of Wildlife president Rodger Schlickeisen said in a statement.
In an article in the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review, Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance spokesman Stephen Augustine said, "We fear that under the guise of wolf management, what's about to happen is a wolf massacre."
"It is really astonishing that you could have an animal on the endangered species list at one point, and a bare five months later they're being hunted," said Augustine. "To my knowledge there isn't another animal that has had this happen to them."
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo courtesy of National Parks Conservation Assn.
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