Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11 wolves killed in Southern Mountains

Hunters not near quota, says wildlife official

Express Staff Writer

More than 100 wolves have been killed by hunters so far this season, with trapping season yet to open.

Deer and elk rifle seasons opened in October, and according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Niels Nokkentved, tag sales and kills picked up as deer and elk hunters came across wolves in their path.

Much of the state is quota-less, but hunters even in zones with quotas aren't close to filling them, Nokkentved said. According to the department, hunters in the state have killed 107 wolves statewide since the season opened Aug. 30.

Twenty wolves have been killed in the Panhandle zone in the far north of the state, while 19 have been killed in the Dworshak-Elk City zone in north-central Idaho—both zones without quotas.

So far, 11 wolves have been killed in the Southern Mountains Zone, which encompasses Ketchum and Sun Valley. The region has a limit of 25 wolves.

Nokkentved said he isn't sure whether the quotas in any of the closed zones will be met by the end of the season, due to the newly created trapping season beginning in some zones later this month.

"I'm not sure what will happen when the trapping season opens," he said. "It's difficult to say at this point."

Trapping opens in the Lolo, Selway, Middle Fork, Dworshak-Elk City and the Panhandle zones on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The season is set to run through March 31.

However, there are still plenty of hunters with tags ready to bag a wolf. Nokkentved said the most recent tag sale reports place resident tags at 26,711 and nonresident tags at 3,186—with more selling every day.

Nokkentved said the department has already sold dozens of tags for 2012, Monday's numbers coming in at 67 resident and three nonresident tags. Hunters may buy two tags per calendar year, which means that hunters who buy a single tag for 2012 can purchase another next fall.

Hunters can also buy two tags this fall and two tags in early 2012, Nokkentved said.

"You could get four wolves [this season], theoretically," he said.

Katherine Wutz:

Trapping set to begin

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced Monday that the wolf-trapping season is set to open next week. Trappers can start plying their trade starting Tuesday, Nov. 15, in five zones across the state. The Lolo, Selway, Middle Fork, Dworshak-Elk City and the Panhandle zones open on Tuesday and run through March 31. Other zones throughout the state are closed pending further review from the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in January. The department urges hound hunters, hunters with bird dogs and people with pets that trappers are more likely to have open traps in the woods after that date. However, a department press release states that hunters and hikers with dogs are responsible for keeping track of their own animals, and suggest carrying wire cutters to free trapped dogs from snares. Trapping regulations prohibit traps within five feet of the centerline of all maintained designated public trails and from the surface of all maintained designated public roads. Ground traps are prohibited within 300 feet of any public campground, picnic area and trailhead. Trappers must complete a wolf trapping class before buying wolf trapping tags. For more information, call the Magic Valley regional office at (208) 324-4359.

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