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Idaho wolf hunt going well

February 02, 2010 at 12:43 PM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Department of Fish and Game says the first legal wolf hunt in the lower 48 states in years was a major 2009 milestone.

Director Cal Groen told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, “The department and the state did that first wolf season very well.”

In all, some 25,700 Idaho residents bought wolf tags, with another 684 people from outside the state purchasing a chance to shoot one of the big predators. That brought in about $400,000.

So far, 146 wolves have been killed by hunters since the season began Sept. 1, with six of 12 hunting zones still open.

Groen, who presented his agency’s fiscal year 2011 budget proposal of $85 million, says another big step for the agency was getting U.S. Forest Service permission to land helicopters in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to help count wolves.

He says, “We can finally get a handle on how many wolves we have through radio collars.”

Environmentalists have sued over the landings, saying they violate the law that created federal wilderness areas in 1964.

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