The day after Idaho’s 2011-12 wolf hunting season ended, some parts of the state started hunting for 2012-13.
Private lands in the state’s northern panhandle region are allowed to keep the pressure on wolves through the summer, according to Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Tony McDermott. The new season started Sunday, just after the June 30 ending of last year’s Idaho wolf hunt.
“We’ve got plenty of wolves, and we want to try and keep them a safe distance from populated areas,” McDermott said on Tuesday. “We’re not seeing a lot of livestock loss there, but wolves are getting close around densely populated areas like Coeur d’Alene. We had a dog in Coeur d’Alene killed in the backyard of a person’s residence about a month ago. So if a wolf is hanging around your property, you can shoot the thing as long as you’ve got a tag.”
At the end of 2011, Idaho biologists estimated the state had 746 wolves. Its hunters shot 255 and trapped 124 in the yearlong season.
Idaho Fish and Game spokesman Niels Nokkentved said anyone wanting to hunt wolves in the summer would have to get landowner permission in advance. The main public-land wolf season starts Aug. 30, with wolf trapping beginning Nov. 15 in six wolf zones.
Idaho wolf tags cost $11.50 for residents and $31.75 for nonresidents. During the general season, Idaho hunters are allowed to buy up to five tags. There are no harvest limits.
Across the border, Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission has not yet set a quota or season dates for the 2012 wolf hunt. This year’s rules will be set at the commissioners’ July 12 meeting in Helena. The state has an estimated 653 wolves.
Last year’s Montana quota was 220 wolves, and hunters killed 166. The state’s season ran from Oct. 22 to Feb. 15.
Tags cost $19 for resident Montana hunters and $350 for nonresidents, and were limited to one per person.
Montana and Idaho must each keep at least 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs within their borders to maintain state authority over the predator. Otherwise, the federal government may move to return gray wolves to threatened or endangered status under the Endangered Species Act.