Eye On Boise

Idaho wolf hunting season ends, Panhandle private-lands season begins

Idaho's wolf hunting season ended Saturday, but a summer season with wolf hunting allowed on private lands in the northern Panhandle region opened the same day. It's the first phase of the 2012-2013 season; wolf hunting in the rest of the state doesn't open until Aug. 30. Anyone wanting to hunt wolves during the summer season must have a permit and landowner permission in advance; click below for a full report from the AP and the Missoulian.

Idaho wolf hunt continues on private lands

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Idaho's wolf hunting season ended Sunday, but the hunt continues this summer on private lands in the northern panhandle region.

In the 2011-2012 season, hunters shot 255 wolves and trapped 124 others. Biologists estimated Idaho had 746 wolves at the end of 2011.

The new season started Sunday, with hunting allowed on private lands through the summer. Idaho Fish and Game spokesman Niels Nokkentved said anyone wanting to hunt wolves in the summer must have a permit and landowner permission in advance.

"We've got plenty of wolves, and we want to try and keep them a safe distance from populated areas," Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Tony McDermott told the Missoulian. "We're not seeing a lot of livestock loss there, but wolves are getting close around densely populated areas like Coeur d'Alene."

The next wolf season on public lands begins Aug. 30, with wolf trapping beginning Nov. 15 in six regions.

Idaho wolf tags cost $11.50 for residents and $31.75 for nonresidents. During the general season, Idaho hunters are allowed to buy up to five tags. There are no harvest limits.

In Montana, wildlife regulators are expected to set the dates and regulations for this year's hunt at its July 12 meeting.

The state's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission has tentatively approved a plan to eliminate most quotas, expand the season and allow trapping.

Last winter, hunters in Montana killed 166 wolves out of a 220-animal quota and the wolf population rose in 2011 by 15 percent. That increase has angered ranchers and hunters who want the state to impose stricter management practices

Montana and Idaho must each keep at least 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs within their borders to maintain state authority over the predator. Otherwise, the federal government may move to return gray wolves to threatened or endangered status under the Endangered Species Act.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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