ENDANGERED SPECIES -- Wolf hunting has arrived in Washington.
Although gray wolves are still listed by the state as an endangered species, the Colville Confederated Tribes have opened a wolf hunting season for tribal members on a portion of their reservation, according to the 2012 Tribal Member South Half Gray Wolf Regulations posted on the tribe's website.
Tribal officials aren't answering calls from the media, but Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman magazine has put together a detailed report on this milestone in wolf management.
The Tribal Council approved a season that opened last week on the south half of the 1.4 million-acre reservation in Okanogan and Ferry Counties where at least two and possibly three packs roam.
At least 12 wolf packs have been identified across Eastern Washington.
The minimum number of wolf packs have not been formed to trigger steps toward a hunting season in Washington outside the reservation, according to the state's Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.
Nine permits are available to Colville tribal members, according to the online regulations. The season is posted to run through Feb. 28 or until hunters have met the quota.
This fall, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers set another milestone in the process of wolves reestablishing themselves in the state by killing an entire wolf pack that had been attacking cattle in northern Stevens County.