August 24, 2009 in Idaho, Outdoors

Thousands buy Idaho wolf hunting tags

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Betsy Russell photo

J.D. Dennis of Kuna purchases the first wolf-hunting tag sold at the Idaho Fish & Game headquarters in Boise on Monday morning.
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BOISE - The first hunter to buy a wolf tag at Idaho’s Fish & Game headquarters in Boise this morning, J.D. Dennis of Kuna, arrived 55 minutes before the sale started.

“Fortunately, I was in the neighborhood,” said Dennis, who stood at the head of a line of about two dozen hunters waiting for the state’s first-ever sale of wolf tags to begin.

Tags also are being sold online and at Fish & Game offices and private vendors statewide, wherever Idaho big game tags are sold. By noon, the state had sold about 2,500 wolf tags, officials said.

Dennis, 57, an avid hunter for most of his life, said he wanted a tag “to assist in the reduction of the amount of wolves we have - they’re taking away way too many elk and deer.”

He said, “I originally was a proponent of bringing them here, and after hunting for 10 years, I’ve seen them deplete the herds.” The idea of wolves in the state seemed appropriate, he said, “just to complete the outdoor experience. Hearing a wolf howl when you’re in the tent completes the outdoor experience. They were here before we were. But now there are too many of ‘em.”

Dennis said he doesn’t know if he’ll bag a wolf. “They’re pretty elusive,” he said, but, “I’ll be up elk and deer hunting anyway.” When he got his tag, he held it up and shouted to the crowd waiting behind him, “There’s one, guys!” and was met with applause. A deep-voiced man in the crowd shouted back, “Save a hundred elk!”

Idaho’s wolf hunt is giving hunters from both in and out of state a shot at up to 220 of the state’s wolves, about a quarter of the wolf population. The hunt starts in September - unless a federal court steps in with an injunction. Thirteen groups that sued over the removal of wolves from the endangered species list are seeking an injunction to stop the hunt; Montana also plans to have a wolf hunt this fall for up to 75 of its wolves. If an injunction comes down before Idaho hunters have had their shot at wolves, Idaho Fish & Game said, it’ll give refunds for the wolf tags.

A tag to shoot a wolf costs $11.50 for an Idaho resident, or $186 for a non-resident. That’s in addition to the cost of a hunting license, which runs $12.75 for residents and $154.75 for non-residents.


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