August 25, 2009 in City, Idaho

Wolf hunting sparks plans for demonstrations

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Idaho’s proposed wolf hunt will draw both opponents and supporters to Friday demonstrations at the Idaho Fish and Game office.

Members of the Sandpoint-based North Idaho Wolf Alliance will protest the state’s first public wolf hunt from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the office. Hunters who support the wolf hunt also plan to gather.

“We wanted to make sure that both sides of the argument were represented,” said Todd Hoffman of Post Falls, an elk hunter who supports the wolf hunt. “We’ll show our support for Idaho Fish and Game and the science behind wolf management.”

Members of the North Idaho Wolf Alliance, meanwhile, believe the state is moving too aggressively to its cull wolf population, said Stephen Augustine, who is organizing the alliance’s demonstration.

Neither Hoffman nor Augustine could predict how many people will attend. If either group exceeds 25 people, a permit from the city would be required.

“Folks have a right to free speech,” said Chip Corsi, Fish and Games’s regional manager. “There are also expectations that these folks will respect other people’s right to go in and out of the building and do business.”

Idaho’s wolf population has grown to 1,020 animals, according to Fish and Game estimates. The state’s goal is return to its 2005 population of 520 wolves. As part of management plans, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission authorized hunters to shoot up to 220 wolves this season.

A group of 13 environmental groups is trying to block fall wolf hunts in both Idaho and Montana.

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