7 Feb 2010, 2:28pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Wolf Packs Increase Despite Hunt

By JON DUVAL, Idaho Mountain Express, February 5, 2024 [here]

With about two months left in Idaho’s wolf hunt, half of the state’s dozen hunting zones have been closed due to filled limits. A total of 146 wolves have been killed to date.

On Monday, the sixth wolf hunting area, the Middle Fork zone, was closed after its quota of 17 wolves was reached.

As of Thursday, 74 legally allowed wolf kills remain before the state’s limit of 220 is filled. The hunt will close March 31, regardless of whether the quota is reached.

Despite the hunt, wolf numbers calculated by state wildlife officials indicate that the predator is fairing well.

In a year-end report from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game on wolf management, preliminary wolf population estimates for 2009 show 94 packs present in the state, up from 88 packs the year before. Of those packs, reproduction was confirmed in 62, with 50 packs believed to be “breeding pairs,” meaning at least two pups are surviving. By contrast, in 2008 there were 39 breeding pairs.

The report did not address numbers of individual wolves.

According to the report, 15 new packs were documented in 2009 while three packs responsible for livestock depredations were eliminated in control actions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services.

Over the course of last year, Wildlife Services killed 87 wolves and another six were killed legally by people protecting livestock or dogs.

The preliminary numbers show that wolves were responsible for killing or injuring 76 cows, 295 sheep and 14 dogs. Of the seven years included in the report, the number of wolf depredations has increased during all years except one, rising from 140 in 2003 to 385 in 2009.

The report also noted that Fish and Game sold 26,428 wolf tags, with 25,744 going to Idaho residents. According to Fish and Game spokesman Ed Mitchell, the sales of the tags, which cost $11.50 for Idaho residents and $186 for nonresidents, brought in about $400,000 in revenue to the department. … [more]

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