Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Idaho has suspended wolf tag sales in the wake of today’s federal court decision in Montana placing wolves back on the endangered species list and suspending wolf hunting in Idaho and Montana, where hunters took 188 and 73 wolves last year, respectively. Idaho Fish & Game Commission Chairman Dr. Wayne Wright called the decision “a major setback for responsible wildlife management in Idaho,” and Gov. Butch Otter said he was “thoroughly disappointed and frustrated” and termed the decision “ill-advised.” Click here for more on this story, and click below to read a full news release from Idaho Fish & Game, Otter’s full statement, and a joint statement from Idaho’s “disappointed” congressional delegation.
This AP file photo provided by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks shows a gray wolf pup from the Calder Mountain pack along the Montana and Idaho borders west of Troy, Mont. Tens of thousands of gray wolves would be returned to the woods of New England, the mountains of California, the wide open Great Plains and the desert West under a scientific petition filed with the federal government Tuesday. AP story here. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Question: Would you like to see the feds share the wealth by restoring tens of thousands of gray wolves to New England, California, Great Plains, and desert West? Or do you consider the reintroduction of wolves in Idaho, Montana, & Wyoming an experiment gone wrong?
An Eagle man who admitted poaching a young wolf in 2009 has been sentenced to $1,064 in fines and costs; six months in jail with five months and 28 days suspended and the option for 40 hours of community service instead of jail; one year of unsupervised probation; and suspension of his hunting privileges for one year. Randy R. Strickland of Eagle shot the young female wolf Sept. 6, 2009 while standing in the road at the back of his pickup truck in a zone in Valley County that was closed to wolf hunting at the time; he then reported that he’d shot the wolf in a different zone that was open for wolf hunting. He initially pleaded innocent to misdemeanor charges of taking a game animal illegally and shooting from or across a public highway, but last month changed his plea to guilty. Click below to read the full announcement from Idaho Fish & Game.
No one can predict how the endangered Selkirk woodland caribou will fare if another animal extirpated in large parts of its historic range — the gray wolf — moves back into their territory. In the last two or three years, wolves (likely moving south from BC or possibly east from Montana) have been documented on both the British Columbia and Idaho sides of the Selkirk Mountains near caribou recovery areas, Wakkinen said. That could be good — or bad — for caribou, depending on how things play out. If wolves get established, stick primarily to eating white-tailed deer, and run off the mountain lions that have been preying on the Selkirk herd, that would be good for the woodland caribou. Or wolves could might drive the mountain lions to higher elevations, even deeper into caribou strongholds. Or the wolves could start preying on the caribou themselves/Jennifer Langston, Sightline Daily. More here. (AP Photo/British Columbia Forest Service. Garry Beaudry)
Question: Should Idaho take steps to protect endangered woodland caribou from endangered wolves? Or let nature take its course?
POST FALLS - Jim Beers believes the wolf controversy will jolt urban centers after all.
And, when it does, it won’t be pretty.
Beers, a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and wolf expert from Minnesota, told about 50 people attending his talk on “The Wolving of America” on Wednesday that disease-carrying wolves will wander along recreation paths on the outskirts of cities and the diseases will spread to homes through dogs.
“Sniffing feces is the perfect place to pick up tapeworms,” Beers said, adding that disease can also spread in other ways such as saliva and blood. “That’s what dogs do. They’re always smelling for other dogs and canines.”
Beers spoke at the Greyhound Park and Event Center during an event sponsored by the Spokane chapter of Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights. Brian Walker, Cda Press, Full Story
The Idaho Fish & Game Department is planning a “wolf control action” in the Lolo Zone, to be carried out by four licensed outfitters, each of whom will be authorized to kill up to five wolves by June 30; the “agency control action is not open to hunters,” F&G said. Click below to read the full announcement.
Montana plans to at least double the number of gray wolves it’ll allow hunters there to target in that state’s next wolf-hunting season, the AP reports, though Montana’s limit this year was just 75. Idaho set its wolf hunting limit at 220 this year, but just 188 were taken by hunters; Idaho’s Fish & Game Commission plans to consider limits for next year in August, though a federal court case could affect wolf hunt plans in both states. Here’s the Montana news item from the Associated Press:
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission plans to at least double the number of gray wolves hunters can kill this year. Commissioners voted Thursday to accept a staff recommendation to increase the quota of wolves in this year’s hunting season. After a public comment period, they will vote in July whether that final number will be 150, 186 or 216 wolves. Last year’s quota was 75. The proposed quotas would reduce the state’s wolf population between 8 percent and 20 percent from last year’s minimum count of 524 wolves, according to state wildlife computer models. The proposed quotas do not include wolves killed by wildlife officials responding to complaints of attacks on livestock. Some 145 wolves were killed that way in 2009.
The question of whether Idaho will have another wolf-hunting season next year is up to a federal court, which is weighing challenges to the removal of the gray wolf from the endangered species list - the move that permitted state wolf management including regulated hunts. Thirteen conservation groups sued over the delisting of the wolf in Idaho and Montana, and while a federal judge in September cleared the two states to hold hunting seasons this year - with Idaho’s opening first - he strongly suggested the groups could win their overall case, which still is pending.
“The hunts are not our primary concern - it is the federal wolf management plan that we feel is the most significant threat to wolves in the future, because that allows the states to kill off most of their wolves in the future,” said Suzanne Asha Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife, one of the 13 groups. “Even though Idaho and Montana started off conservatively, they are allowed to kill most of the wolves in the future.”
Idaho Fish and Game said the state had a minimum of 843 wolves at the close of 2009, in 94 packs, including 49 breeding pairs. But Stone said the federal plan could allow that to drop to just 150 wolves in the future. During Idaho’s season, 185 wolves were taken compared to a limit of 220, though that could change as the season ran through sunset Wednesday and hunters have 24 hours to report their kills. Montana’s wolf season set a limit of 75 wolves. Idaho state sold 31,393 wolf tags, all but 684 to Idaho residents. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Today, Idaho closes the first-ever regulated wolf-hunting season in the lower 48 states, and state Fish & Game officials are calling it a success. “I’d be severely disappointed if we don’t have a hunting season next year, because we played by the rules, we worked hard, it’s been a long time coming, and I think we demonstrated that we did a good job with state-managed hunting,” said Fish & Game Director Cal Groen. “We need a hunting season to manage the wolves just like our other big game animals.”
So far, 185 wolves were taken, though that could change as the season runs through sunset today. In 2009, wolves were responsible for the deaths of 385 livestock in Idaho, up from 333 the year before and including cattle, sheep and stock dogs. “We don’t want to take the wildness out of wolves,” Groen said. “They shouldn’t be around towns, they shouldn’t be creating livestock problems and social problems.”
Idaho’s hunting season was divided into 12 zones with specific limits. But some, like the remote and rugged Lolo zone where wolf impacts on elk herds have been a big problem, proved tough hunting. “In the back country, it’s rugged, they’re cunning, they’re smart,” Groen said, “We’ll be looking at other tools.” Those might include changing bag limits to allow a hunter to take a second wolf in a year; partnering with outfitters; trapping; looking at zone boundaries; and possibly allowing the use of electronic wolf calls to give hunters an advantage. Groen said the Lolo zone was a premier elk hunting zone in North America with a herd of 16,000 elk, but it’s dropped to just over 2,000. Many issues, including habitat, bears and mountain lions, were involved and are being addressed, he said. “Now we can finally manage wolves - they were unmanaged. They’re the primary reason for mortality now.”
A federal court will decide whether Idaho can have a wolf season again. For now, Groen and other Fish and Game officials said the wolf hunt has been good for Idaho and good for wolves, in many cases dissipating hunter anger over wolf impacts on game herds. Idaho’s wolf population, which had been growing at 20 percent a year and is well beyond recovery target levels, has stabilized. “When you pursue something fair chase, and something very challenging, a respect develops,” Groen said. “We’ve seen that with bears and lions. … There’s a hunting relationship there, very different, very challenging.” He also noted that new legislation just passed this year will allow out-of-state deer and elk hunters to also take a wolf, which could help attract out-of-state hunters whose numbers have dropped since their fees were sharply hiked. The idea that a hunter could come to Idaho on an elk hunt and also go home with a wolf means “we’re special, we’re unique,” Groen said.
Wolves, when you get down to it, are a lot like us. They are powerful, aggressive, territorial, and predatory. They are smart, curious, cooperative, loyal, and adaptable. They exert a profound influence on the ecosystems they inhabit. Nevertheless, we have problems with wolves, no doubt about it. Maybe we can’t wrap our minds around both the big bad wolf and the close relative with the adoring gaze that follows us around the house. Or maybe it’s because gray wolves are the planet’s most widespread large land mammals after humans and their livestock and—in the Northern Hemisphere—have long been our most direct competitors for meat/Douglas Chadwick, National Geographic. (Cover photo: Jess Lee). See full story in March issue of National Geographic here.
Question: Do you subscribe to National Geographic?
The Idaho Fish & Game Commission today extended the state’s wolf hunting seasons in all of its still-open zones to March 31; all but two had been scheduled to close Dec. 31, while the Lolo and Sawtooth zone hunts already were scheduled to go to the end of March. Three of Idaho’s 12 wolf-hunting zones already have closed because their limits have been reached; those are the Dworshak-Elk City zone, the McCall-Weiser zone and the Upper Snake zone in eastern Idaho. Three more zones are nearing their harvest limit, Fish & Game said; those limits haven’t changed. The Palouse-Hells Canyon zone is two short of its limit of five; the Southern Mountains zone is three away from its limit of 10; and the Middle Fork zone is four short of its limit of 17. Statewide, 110 wolves have been shot since the season started; the statewide limit is 220. Hunters are being asked to call (877) 872-3190 to check whether a zone is still open before heading out. Montana ended its wolf hunt on Monday after its limits were nearly reached in all zones and exceeded in one.
Idaho Fish & Game says the wolf hunting season is closed as of today in the McCall-Weiser zone, where the limit of 15 wolves was reached. It’s the second of 12 zones in the state in which the wolf hunt has closed; the first was the Upper Snake zone, which closed Nov. 2 when its limit was reached. As of today, a total of 97 wolves have been killed during the unprecedented wolf-hunting season; the statewide limit is 220, but it’s divided into specific limits by zone. Fish & Game advises hunters to call to check whether a zone remains open, (877) 872-3190. In the Lolo zone, only five of the limit of 27 wolves have been killed; just two have been shot in the Salmon zone, with a limit of 16; and eight have been taken in the Panhandle zone, where the limit is 30.
Idaho’s wolf hunting season has closed in the Upper Snake zone in eastern Idaho, where hunters have now taken the limit of five wolves. It remains open in the remaining 11 zones, but two others are nearing their limits: In the McCall-Weiser Zone, with a limit of 15 wolves, 14 wolves have been taken, leaving one; and in the Palouse-Hells Canyon Zone, with a limit of five, two have been taken, leaving three. As of today, according to Idaho Fish & Game, 86 wolves have been killed statewide in the state’s first designated wolf hunting season; the statewide limit is 220.
The zones that are farthest from their limits, at this point, include the Lolo zone, where hunters have shot five wolves and the limit is 27; the Salmon zone, with a limit of 16, where hunters have taken two; and the Panhandle zone, where hunters have taken eight and the limit is 30. Fish & Game advises hunters to call (877) 872-3190 for the most up-to-date information on whether a zone is open or not; there’s also information online here.
Here’s a news item from AP: State wildlife officials say the first wolf hunting tag ever printed in the state has sold for $8,000 to the highest bidder. The high bid came from North Carolina resident Jonny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops. Morris bought Wolf Tag No. 1 last week in an auction sponsored by the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation. Morris says he will give it to his son, who is planning to hunt in Idaho later this year. The auction is one of six held by nonprofit groups around the nation to help raise money for wolf conservation. The special tags are good for bagging one wolf, but also commemorate the first public wolf hunt in Idaho history. Tag No. 3 went for $1,700 at an event hosted by the Mule Deer Foundation, while tag No. 5 sold for just $350 at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation auction.
Those commemorative wolf tags that Fish & Game has authorized to be auctioned off to the highest bidders won’t be offered just to Idahoans - one of the six auctions by nonprofit groups, which will be for Tag No. 1, will take place in North Carolina, and three will be on the Internet, including one on eBay. The Mule Deer Foundation will have the first auction Sept. 30, with sealed Internet bids, to sell tags nos. 3 and 8. A day later, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife will hold an auction for tags nos. 4 and 10. Then, on Oct. 3, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will hold a live auction in Mackay for tags nos. 5 and 9.
On Oct. 15, the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation will put tag No. 1 up for bid in a live auction at the “Wine, Wheels and Wildlife” event in Lexington, N.C.; and Nov. 15, the Safari Club International, Treasure Valley Chapter, will have tags nos. 2 and 7 up for bid on eBay. The commemorative tags are being called “Wolf Conservation Tags,” because proceeds go to wolf conservation and management activities. Because a hunter can have only one wolf tag per calendar year, those who’ve already purchased a regular tag will be allowed to turn it in if they secure one of the special tags. Bidders also must hold 2009 Idaho hunting licenses.
Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on how the Idaho Fish & Game Commission is planning to authorize the auction of 10 “special wolf tags” to the highest bidders - even if they may not be all that special, considering that 15,339 wolf tags has been sold as of the end of the day yesterday. The special tags will, however, be those numbered sequentially 1 through 10, which weren’t sold earlier. “I think there’ll be some value in the novelty,” said Jim Unsworth, deputy director at Idaho Fish & Game. But, he said, “We don’t expect this to be a big fundraiser.” That could change in the future, he noted, if the department opts to hold controlled hunts - which means limited tags - for wolves in certain areas.
Gov. Butch Otter, who’s said for the past two years that he wanted to be the first to bid on a chance to shoot a wolf, already has a tag. The governor bought his wolf tag on Aug. 26, according to department records. That was during the first week the tags went on sale; he purchased the tag at a Boise sporting goods store. “He said he wanted to get a wolf tag, he’s got a wolf tag,” said Otter spokesman Jon Hanian. “I don’t know if he’s going to bid at the auction or not.” But Hanian said Otter “thinks it’s great” to hold the auction.
Idaho’s Fish & Game Commission will hold a meeting, via conference call, tomorrow morning to authorize “special wolf tags” that would be auctioned off as a fundraiser for wolf management and conservation. “The way we look at it here, it’s a chance for folks to own a piece of Idaho hunting history, being as it’s the first time we ever issued tags for wolves,” said Fish & Game spokesman Niels Nokkentved./More here at Eye on Boise
Question: Is this a good idea?
Idaho’s Fish & Game Commission will hold a meeting, via conference call, tomorrow morning to authorize “special wolf tags” that would be auctioned off as a fundraiser for wolf management and conservation. Like special tags for bighorn sheep, the special wolf tags would be auctioned off through a nonprofit organization. “They’re actual tags - you could take one out and use it if you shoot a wolf,” said Fish & Game spokesman Niels Nokkentved. “It would entitle you to shoot one wolf.” So what’s special about the tags? They’ll be the the first ones, those numbered 1 through 10. The tags that are being sold to hunters now on an unlimited basis, for $11.50 apiece on top of the cost of a hunting license, started with No. 101.
“It’s a fundraising thing,” Nokkentved said. “The way we look at it here, it’s a chance for folks to own a piece of Idaho hunting history, being as it’s the first time we ever issued tags for wolves.”
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo has sent out this statement on the federal court decision to allow the state’s wolf hunt to continue:
“Idaho has thoroughly traveled the path toward delisting wolves. The state has a plan that is acceptable to the Federal government and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is already demonstrating its capability of managing the wolves in an effective and sustainable way.”
The wolf killed by a poacher east of Cascade on Sunday was described by Fish & Game as “a small female, still a pup.” F&G chief of law enforcement Jon Heggen said, “Our officers seized the wolf, but I don’t know that it was aged by the biologist yet. We’re guessing that it was last spring’s litter, so (it was) within 6 to 8 months old.”
Jon Heggen, chief of law enforcement for Idaho Fish & Game, says, “We want to treat the wolf hunt like we do any other big game hunting season, no different than we would bighorn sheep or an elk or a deer case.” And what they’ve done - issued two poaching citations, with serious penalties - is exactly that, he said. Way back, Heggen used to work as a game warden out of Yellow Pine, covering the very area where the wolf pup poaching occurred. “I have issued citations 15 years ago in that same area for people hunting elk doing the same thing - claiming they were in the open area and being on the closed side,” Heggen said.
He noted the offense of shooting from a public road is simply a crime, it’s not even necessarily a poaching offense. “It’s not even necessary to be hunting - just shooting a firearm from a public road would be a violation,” Heggen said. He added, “That’s not hunting. You know, a hunter’s going to know where they are, they’re going to follow the rules and they’re not going to do things like shoot from the road and shoot in areas that are closed. That’s not hunting. In layman’s terms, it could be being lazy, not wanting to follow the rules. It’s wrong, is what it is.”
The only reason the poacher hasn’t yet been named is because the charges haven’t yet been turned over to the prosecutor and filed in court, at which point they become public record. “It’ll happen by the end of the week,” Heggen said. “It’s just a matter of tidying up some loose ends and getting a report written.”
Here are the penalties for the two poaching offenses for which an Eagle man was cited, after shooting a female wolf pup about 30 miles east of Cascade on Sunday:
Shooting a firearm from a public road, a standard misdemeanor, carries possible fines of $25 to $1,000, and up to six months in jail.
Shooting a wolf in a closed season also is a misdemeanor, but because it involves a big game animal, it carries a minimum fine of $200 and maximum of $1,000, a $400 civil penalty, and a loss of hunting, fishing and/or trapping privileges for one to three years, along with up to six months in jail.
Idaho 2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson met with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam Hamilton today, and then released this statement about the federal court decision today on Idaho’s wolf hunt:
“The judge’s decision to uphold Idaho’s wolf hunt was welcome news. In a conversation with Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam Hamilton this morning, I again expressed my support for the decision to delist the wolves and put management in the hands of capable state agencies. Idaho’s hunters have acted responsibly and I want to commend them for doing so in the face of uninformed and undeserved criticism. I also want to commend Governor Otter for setting reasonable limits in order to manage these animals effectively.”
Ironically, Simpson’s statement came out within minutes of the news that an Idaho man has been cited for poaching a female wolf pup in a public road, then falsely reporting that he shot the animal in an open hunting zone. The poacher faces what could potentially add up to thousands in fines, loss of hunting and fishing privileges, and possible jail time.
Idaho Fish & Game has issued two poaching citations to an Eagle man for illegally shooting a small female wolf pup on Sunday evening. The shooting was in the McCall-Weiser wolf zone, which is not yet open for wolf hunting. The man shot the wolf from a public road; witnesses told officers he shot it while standing in the road at the back of his pickup truck. He called the 24-hour wolf harvest reporting line on Tuesday morning and reported that he’d killed a wolf in the Sawtooth hunting zone, which is open for wolf hunting. But later in the day, when he checked in at the Fish & Game office in Nampa, he said he’d thought he was in the Sawtooth zone, but looked back at a map Sunday evening in camp and discovered he was actually in the McCall-Weiser zone.
Fish & Game officers seized the wolf hide and skull, a rifle, camera and tag; their investigation is ongoing. They issued two citations to the man: Shooting a wolf in a closed season, and shooting from a public road. Because Idaho’s wolf hunt has specific limits on the number of wolves that can be taken in each hunting zone, one will be deducted from the limit for the McCall-Weiser zone to account for the poached wolf.
Suzanne Asha Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife, said, “We’re disappointed that the injunction wasn’t granted, and I think that right now we feel that a hunting season for wolves at this point still poses a threat to the regional wolf population.” But she said the group, one of 13 that sued over the delisting of the gray wolf in Idaho and Montana, is “hopeful that the court recognizes that we’re likely to prevail on our legal claim, that the Fish & Wildlife Service acted illegally by delisting wolves in Montana and Idaho. We’re encouraged that our ultimate goal of restoring a healthy wolf population to the region and making sure that it remains so after delisting is still very much a viable goal.”
Stone said there’s been a “missed opportunity” in the debate over the wolf for all the stakeholders in the region to come together and find compromise. “I think that’s been the one missed opportunity that has just really plagued this issue over the long term,” she said. “The conflicts have been so polarized, based on mostly misinformation, emotion and politics rather than on science and true negotiations on resolving these issues. We have another opportunity to try that again.”
The 13 conservation groups that sued over the delisting of the wolf in Idaho and Montana and sought to stop wolf hunting in the two states lost their bid for a preliminary injunction, but the judge’s ruling suggests strongly that they could win their overall case - and wolves could be put back on the endangered species list. “This Order is not a final determination of any issue in the case,” U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy wrote in today’s ruling. “The Order only addresses the propriety of granting the extraordinary relief of a preliminary injunction. … Because the absence of a ruling hangs like the Sword of Damocles, I am issuing this Order which will be followed by a fully reasoned decision on the Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction.”
The judge goes on to conclude, “Because there is insufficient proof of irreparable harm to the wolf population, as opposed to individual wolves, the request for a preliminary injunction is denied.” Scientific proof submitted to the court shows the wolf population can withstand one or two years of hunting at the levels Idaho and Montana have identified, the judge wrote. But the larger issue in the case - whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can legally de-list the wolf in Idaho and Montana while leaving it still listed as endangered in Wyoming - suggests the conservation groups will prevail, the judge indicated.
“The Service cannot delist part of the species below the level of DPS (distinct population segment - in this case, the Northern Rockies) without running afoul of the clear language of the ESA,” Molloy wrote. “Though the record here is incomplete, the earlier delisting case gives rise to an inference that the laudable efforts of the Fish and Wildlife Service resulted in a practical determination that does not seem to be scientifically based.” He added, “Even if the Service was permitted to delist only a part of a DPS like it has done here, it cannot do so in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The Service has distingished a natural population of wolves based on a political line, not the best available science. That, by definition, seems arbitrary and capricious.” You can read the judge’s full ruling here.
Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen says the department is “pleased” by the federal court decision to allow Idaho’s current wolf hunt to continue, and pledged that his department will “demonstrate that the Fish and Game will responsibly manage wolves like the other 10 big game species.” Click below to read the full press release from Idaho Fish and Game.
Two members of Idaho’s congressional delegation have immediately weighed in with statements praising federal Judge Donald Molloy’s decision to reject a move to halt wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana. Here are the statements from 1st District Congressman Walt Minnick, a Democrat, and Sen. Jim Risch, a Republican:
Minnick: “Today’s ruling by Judge Molloy was a victory for those of us who want land-use and wildlife decisions made at the local level, using sound science, collaboration and consensus. I applaud the decision, and now urge all parties, including the state of Wyoming, to work with scientists to ensure a healthy but balanced population of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies.”
Risch: “I am pleased that the judge has allowed wolf hunting in Idaho to continue, and I hope this brings an end to lawsuits opposing the hunt. Wolf numbers have far exceeded the recovery goals set when they were introduced into the state. It is time to let Idaho’s game managers do their job and manage wolves just as they do bears, cats and other species.”
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy has denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to block wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana; Idaho’s already has begun, and three wolves have been taken by hunters. The two states included hunting in their management plans for gray wolves, which until May were on the endangered species list; since they’ve been delisted, the two states now manage their wolf populations. Here is Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s response to the judge’s decision:
Molloy did the right thing. Idaho has met and exceeded the criteria
agreed upon by all parties for recovery. We have a plan in place for managing
wolves, based on the best science available, and we intend to keep our promises
outlined in that plan. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Idaho Fish and
Game Commission have done a great job of setting hunting numbers to ensure a
sustainable wolf population and genetic connectivity. We are and will continue
to be responsible stewards of the species.”
Robert Millage, a real estate agent from Kamiah, shot the first wolf in Idaho’s wolf hunt today, according to state officials. Millage, who bagged an adult female gray wolf from 25 yards away in the mountains near the Lochsa River, told the Associated Press, “I just wanted to beat my buddies to the punch, but I didn’t know I’d beaten everybody in the state.” Millage, 34, has hunted in Idaho for 22 years. “It was really an adrenaline rush to have those wolves all around me, howling and milling about after I fired the shot,” he said. You can read reporter Todd Dvorak’s full story here at spokesman.com.