At the end of the day Wednesday, March 31, Idaho’s first regulated wolf season closes statewide.
The season already has closed in seven of 12 wolf zones, and as of March 29, hunters have taken 185 wolves. The harvest limit is 220.
“The season has succeeded in halting the growth of Idaho’s wolf population,” Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said. “It showed that Fish and Game is capable of monitoring and managing a well-regulated wolf hunt.”
The hunt also showed that fears of wholesale slaughter of wolves were unfounded, Groen said. Hunters exhibited good compliance with the rules and with check-in and call-in requirements.
Idaho Fish and Game set wolf harvest limits for each of 12 management zones. The season closes in each zone when the limit for that zone is reached, or when the statewide limit of 220 wolves is reached.
Idaho Fish and Game sold 26,428 wolf tags in 2009 – 25,744 resident and 684 nonresident tags.
Harvested wolves ranged in size from 54 to 127 pounds – males averaged 100 pounds, and females averaged 79 pounds. Of the wolves taken, 58 percent were male, and 15 percent were juveniles less than one year old.
About 86 percent of the wolves harvested were taken by resident hunters. Twelve of the wolves checked in were wearing radio collars.
Most wolves were shot in October and the fewest in January. Two wolves were taken in the Southern Idaho zone, and 49 were taken in the Sawtooth zone.
At the end of 2009, Idaho had a minimum of 843 wolves in 94 packs, and 49 packs are considered breeding pairs. The average pack size was 7.8 wolves. A total of 142 wolves are radio-collared.
In addition to hunter harvest, 138 wolves were killed in livestock depredation control actions and from other causes.
For more information on the wolf hunt in Idaho, visit the Fish and Game wolf management Web page: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/wolf/.