Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Hunt Begins

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2008 at 4:00 AM

It's been a grand total of five days since gray wolves were removed from the federal endangered species act and already at least five wolves have been killed in Idaho and Wyoming.

Two wolves were shot by a landowner near Ashton in eastern Idaho on Monday after they were found near the shooter's home and his herd of 20 horses. The kill was reported to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the agency is investigating.

Three wolves were killed over the weekend in Sublette County, Wyo., on the western edge of the state. Two were killed near an elk feedground near Pinedale, and the other was shot on a private ranch. The owner of the ranch had reported the wolf had been bothering his livestock.

Idaho, Wyoming and Montana officially took over management of wolves on March 28. Under the Idaho management plan, wolves can be killed if they are harassing livestock.

A regulated wolf hunting season is planned for the fall, but hunters will have to have a license. Exactly how many wolves will allowed to be killed in the hunt has yet to be decided.

In Wyoming, wolves can be shot on sight if they are outside of a National Park or designated protection area. In most of the state, they are considered a predator species.

Both states require that any wolf kills be reported to state authorities within 10 days.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, there were several organized wolf hunts over the weekend in the Sublette area, not far from Jackson Hole.

A fourth wolf may have been killed in the Cowboy State, but is of yet unconfirmed.

The delisting of wolves has been as controversial as the species' reintroduction. Several environmental groups have promised to file lawsuits to stop the states from taking over management.

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