Wednesday, November 28, 2012

7 wolves killed in Yellowstone region

4 more killed in Southern Mountains area

Express Staff Writer

Staff at Yellowstone National Park reported that seven collared wolves from the park have been killed in recent weeks by hunters in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

According to The Associated Press, the wolves were wearing collars for research purposes and were killed outside the park. Dave Hallac, chief of Yellowstone’s Center for Resources, told The Associated Press on Nov. 15 that there has been no indication that any of the wolves were taken illegally.

Two of the animals were from packs that no longer spend most of their time in the park. Four of the seven were shot in Montana, two in Wyoming and one in Idaho. Wolves cannot be killed within the park, but can be legally hunted in all three states.

Niels Nokkentved, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said Tuesday that he had no information on the Idaho wolf or where it was killed. Calls to the agency’s big game manager, John Rachael, were not returned as of press time Tuesday.

Hallac told The Associated Press that the number of park wolves killed so far does not threaten the stability Yellowstone’s population of more than 85 wolves. He added that several hunters have already offered to return the radio collars attached to the wolves.

Hunters in Idaho have killed 102 wolves as of Nov. 21.

Seventeen of those wolves were killed in the Panhandle Zone in extreme northern Idaho.

Four were killed in the Southern Mountain region of the state, which encompasses Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey, Bellevue and Carey. The Southern Mountains Zone has a quota of 40 wolves that may be killed between Aug. 30 and March 31, meaning that 36 more wolves may be killed in the area before the season’s end.

Ten wolves were killed in the Sawtooth Zone, west of the Southern Mountains Zone, which has a quota of 60 wolves that may be hunted this season.

No wolves were reported trapped in the state between the opening of trapping season on Nov. 15 and the Department of Fish and Game’s most recent wolf harvest report of Nov. 21. Trapping is only allowed in certain areas in the northern part of the state, mainly near the Idaho-Montana border.

The 102 wolves killed by hunters so far since Aug. 30 represents 40 percent of the total number of wolves shot by hunters last season. A little over one-third of the season has passed in most of the state.

Kate Wutz:

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