Here’s the 4:45 p.m. total of wolf hunting tags sold today in Idaho: 4,196, of which 61 were to non-residents. All the rest went to Idaho hunters. There’s no limit on the tags, and they continue to be sold both at vendors like sporting good stores and online. Fish & Game spokesman Ed Mitchell said it was busy, but “we’ve had crazier days.” He recalled years ago when Fish & Game had an emergency hunt for deer after a large swath of winter deer habitat burned, and the Boise headquarters had lines down the street for those tags, which enabled hunters to take a second deer the same season. “This was never like that,” he said.
Today, some tag buyers had the mistaken impression that the wolf hunt tags - which give hunters a shot at up to 220 of Idaho’s wolves, about a quarter of the population - were limited. They’re not. “Nobody ever said that; it was just inferred by some people,” Mitchell said. As a result, some wolf advocates came in “to buy tags so they could save one wolf’s life.” Said Mitchell, “The kill is limited, the tags are unlimited.” Earlier, Sagle Fish & Game Commissioner Tony McDermott estimated that Idaho will sell about 70,000 wolf tags; that’s half the number of folks who hunt for big game in the state each year. Said Mitchell, “Hunting is still a very big deal here, even on a subsistence basis.” Particularly in the state’s rural areas, he said, “There’s a whole lot of Idaho people who really count on a deer or elk … to supplement the year for ‘em.”
As to whether Idaho’s wolf hunt actually will go forward or not, there’s a hearing scheduled in federal court in Missoula on Monday on a request for an injunction to block the hunt, brought by 13 environmental groups that sued over wolf delisting. The hearing is before Judge Donald Molloy, the same judge who in July 2008 issued an injunction that blocked Idaho from holding a wolf hunt last year.