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Outdoors blog

Idaho wolf seasons set, but drama builds in federal courtroom

ENDANGERED SPECIES -- Idaho set its fall gray wolf hunting and trapping seasons last week just two days after a federal judge heard arguments in a lawsuit that once again could undo the planning Idaho and Montana have done to begin taking control over burgeoning wolf numbers that are having a big impact on big-game herds.

 As reporter Rob Chaney put in in a Missoulian story, "The battle over Rocky Mountain gray wolves has become a constitutional clash between the U.S. Congress and the nation's judicial system."

The judge promised to make a decision quickly.

Wolf Hunting and Trapping Seasons Set

From Idaho Fish and Game

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Thursday, July 28, adopted wolf hunting and trapping seasons for 2011-2012.

Wolf hunting seasons run from August 30 through December 31 in Island Park and Beaverhead wolf management zones, from August 30 through June 30 in the Lolo and Selway zones, and from August 30 through March 31 in the remaining nine of 13 the state’s wolf management zones.

Hunters may buy two tags per calendar year. Wolf tags cost $11.50, and nonresident wolf tags cost $31.75. The reduced nonresident tag price is retroactive – hunters who already have bought tags at the higher previous price are eligible for a refund. Details of the refund policy are forthcoming.

Harvest limits are set in five zones – the Salmon, Sawtooth, Southern Mountains, Beaverhead and Island Park zones – to preserve connectivity with populations in other states.

Fish and Game will monitor the hunt daily. The seasons will close when the harvest limit for that zone is reached or the season closing date, whichever comes first.

Wolf trapping seasons run from November 15 through March 31 in the Panhandle zone, except for units 2 and 3; in the Lolo zone; in the Dworshak-Elk City zone, except Unit 10A; in the Selway zone; and the Middle Fork zone. All other zones are closed to trapping with the option of opening a trapping season in other zones upon commission review in January.

Trappers may buy up to three tags with a trapping license in addition to two tags purchased for hunting; unused tags from hunting season may also be used to tag trapped wolves.

A mandatory trapping education class is required before buying tags for wolf trapping. Trappers must check their traps at least once every 72 hours.

Hunters and trappers must report killing a wolf within 72 hours, and they must present the skull and hide to an Idaho Fish and Game office within 10 days.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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