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Gray wolf delisting a step closer to reality; Idaho hunting season scheduled

April 7, 2009 |  9:50 am

Grey wolf

The decision to remove some gray wolf populations from protection under the Endangered Species Act is a step closer to actually happening.

The federal rule to delist packs in some Northern Rockies and Western Great Lakes states was published in the Federal Register last week and is scheduled to become effective May 2.

This will mean that wolf management will become a job for state and tribal wildlife agencies instead of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Idaho Fish and Game commissioners have already adopted dates for the wolf hunting season in the state and will set quotas once delisting takes effect.

"We have to move on and manage them similar to other big-game animals," Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said. " This is good news for wolves, elk, rural communities and hunters. I believe this action will help defuse the animosity and anger associated with wolves when we can manage wolves in concert with our other big game species."

The Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor the delisted wolf populations for a minimum of five years to ensure that they continue to sustain their recovery.  At the end of that time, it will be decided if relisting, continued monitoring or ending service monitoring is appropriate.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Tracy Brooks/USFWS