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Wolf hunting continues in Montana and Idaho, with each state reaching quotas and closing another zone

November 10, 2009 | 11:14 am

Silhouetted wolf in Yellowstone National Park.

Wolf hunting continues in both Idaho and Montana, with each state announcing the closure of a second zone on Monday after reaching quotas.

Idaho Fish and Game has announced the closure of the McCall-Weiser zone in west-central Idaho, where the limit of 15 wolves has been reached. This is the second area closed in the state, with the Upper Snake zone meeting its quota of five earlier this month.

Thus far, 98 of the statewide quota of 220 wolves have been reported killed in Idaho.

In northwest Montana, the North Fork sub-unit, a small area located in what is called Wolf Management Unit 1, reached its limit of two wolves and will close to further hunting today at sunset. The rest of Unit 1 remains open, with 14 wolves left in the total zone quota of 41.

This is the second zone to end its wolf hunting season in Montana. WMU 3, which includes the northern border of Yellowstone National Park, quickly met its quota of 12 within a month of the hunt's opening Sept. 15.

The statewide quota of 75 is nearly met, with only 19 wolves remaining to end the season.

"We couldn't have scripted a better wolf hunt so far," Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife manager Jim Williams said in a news release. "The distribution of harvest, hunter participation and the rate of wolves taken in WMU 1 have all met expectations for a well designed wolf hunt."

Animal rights groups have so far been unsuccessful in efforts to halt the hunts in Montana and Idaho and have the predators placed back on the endangered species list.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Silhouetted wolf in Yellowstone National Park. Credit: Joel Sartore / National Geographic/Getty Images

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