Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Public gets first look at wolf season

Proposals due next week

Express Staff Writer

The public will have a first look at proposals for a 2011 wolf hunt next week, when the Idaho Department of Fish and Game plans to release a draft proposal online.

"The plan is to have something ready at the end of the week to be released on Tuesday," said department spokesman Niels Nokkentved.

According to a press release from Fish and Game, the proposals will include quotas, season dates and structure and methods of take. Nokkentved said the proposal was only a draft for the purposes of public comment, and still must be considered by the Fish and Game Commission at its meeting next month.

"They'll either adopt it, amend it or send it back to the drawing board," Nokkentved said.

Department spokesman Mike Keckler said last month that the season would likely coincide with other big game seasons in late August and early September.

This is the second Idaho wolf season since reintroduction in 1995. Department officials have stated that they expect this season to be conducted similarly to the 2009-10 season. That season began in October and continued through the end of March in the Southern Mountains Zone, the zone in which Ketchum and Sun Valley are located. During that season, hunters were not allowed to use traps or electronic calls while wolf hunting.

According to Nokkentved, about 3,100 wolf tags have been sold since sales began in May.

The period for public comment is expected to last a few weeks. Nokkentved said the comment period will coincide with an independently conducted survey of public and hunter opinion regarding wolf hunting as a general topic.

The public will be able to view the season proposals during a department open house on Wednesday, July 13, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Fish and Game Office at 1345 Barton Road in Pocatello. Nokkentved said open houses will also be held in other areas, but have not yet been scheduled.

Katherine Wutz:

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