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Idaho's first wolf hunting season comes to a close

April 2, 2010 | 11:35 am

Wolves

Idaho's first wolf hunting season came to a close on Wednesday, with state Fish and Game officials calling it a success.

"The season has succeeded in halting the growth of Idaho's wolf population," said Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen. "It showed that Fish and Game is capable of monitoring and managing a well-regulated wolf hunt."

Fish and Game reported that at the end of 2009, the wolf population in the state was 843 animals -- about the same as at the beginning of 2008.

During the seven-month season, 188 of the statewide quota of 220 animals were reported to department regional offices or conservation officers, with seven of the 12 zones reaching their quota and closing prior to the March 31 season-end date.

Officials are already looking at changes for the 2010-11 wolf hunting season, including expanding quotas, changing zone boundaries and allowing hunters to use electronic predator calls.

However, it remains to be seen if there will be another season this year. Environmental groups have cases pending in court, likely to be ruled on this spring, attempting to return wolves to the endangered species list and stop legal hunting of the animals.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo credit: National Parks Conservation Assn.

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