Quiet, smooth start to Idaho wolf hunt
by Idaho Fish and Game press release
September 8, 2009
Idaho's first wolf hunts began Tuesday, September 1, with few hunters afield and reports of three wolves taken.
By Friday afternoon, September 4, no additional wolves had been reported killed.
Wolf hunters are required to report kills within 24 hours and show the skull and pelt to Idaho Fish and Game authorities within five days.
Deputy Director Jim Unsworth noted that the successful hunters followed the rules and that the system for reporting harvest worked smoothly. Idaho began selling wolf hunting tags for the first time August 24 but no glitches in the licensing system were reported despite a one-week volume of more than 11,200 tags sold.
As of Friday, 12,308 wolf tags had been sold.
A decision from a federal court judge is still pending on a preliminary injunction that would halt the wolf hunt if granted.
But for the first days of the hunt, conservation officers in the field reported no violations and a light turnout of hunters, Chief of Enforcement Jon Heggen said.
From setting wolf seasons through the tag selling process to reporting of wolf harvest by hunters, "the system is working," Unsworth said. "And hunters are excited to have the opportunity," he added.
So far, two wolf harvest reports have come from the Lolo wolf hunting zone and one from the Sawtooth zone. These are the only zones of the 12 Idaho wolf zones to open September 1 and are the zones where the impact of wolves on elk herds are documented to be particularly severe. Two other zones open September 15 and the rest on October 1. A harvest limit of 220 wolves has been set for Idaho.
Hunters may encounter wolves with radio collars. They may shoot wolves with collars but are required to return the collars when they check in their wolves with Fish and Game. Hunters are asked not to cut or otherwise damage the expensive collars which can be reused to monitor wolves for management purposes.
Hunters must report a kill within 24 hours by calling 1-877-872-3190. They can call the same number to find out whether a wolf zone is closed. Zones will be closed to hunting immediately when the harvest limit in each zone is met.