PREDATORS — State senators questioned the accuracy of Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s report on the number of wolves in Idaho during a hearing today in Boise.
Officials say there were 683 wolves in the state at the end of 2012 and preliminary numbers for 2013 point to populations falling below 600.
Several members of the Resources and Environment Committee contesting Wednesday that wolf numbers are actually much higher, according to the Associated Pres.
Fish and Game agreed the count skewed low, calling the numbers a “minimum,” but said it accurately depicts population trends.
Officials say the numbers will inform control policies. That’s been a contentious issue in Idaho, pitting ranchers and hunters worried about effects on elk and livestock against wildlife activists who argue the species has a right to live and hunt in the woods without being killed.
Washington also is working on pegging the number of wolves and packs in the state at the end of 2013. Fish and Wildlife officials say they won't have the surveys and numbers crunched until early March.