Wolf hunt friends, foes to rally at agency office - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wolf hunt friends, foes to rally at agency office

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho. - Members of the Sandpoint-based North Idaho Wolf Alliance say they'll protest the state's first public wolf hunt since the animals were delisted by gathering at the Idaho Fish and Game office in Coeur d'Alene on Friday.

Meanwhile, hunters who favor the wolf hunt say they'll also gather to show their support for the agency, The Spokesman-Review reported.

Permits to hunt wolves went on sale in Idaho on Monday. The season is scheduled to start September 1 in some regions of the state, but environmentalists have filed a motion in federal court asking a judge to stop the public hunts in Idaho and Montana.

The federal government lifted Endangered Species Act protection from most wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains in May.

Three-hundred wolves in Wyoming remain under federal protection because of a state law there considered hostile to wolves.

Schweitzer: Wolf hunts shouldn't be stopped

In Motana, Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he doesn't want a federal judge to side with environmental and animal rights groups who want to halt upcoming wolf hunts.

Schweitzer said Tuesday the state will take the issue "back to another judge" if U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy stops the upcoming wolf season in the Northern Rockies, which would mark the first public hunts for the predators in the lower 48 states in decades.

The hunts are set to begin Sept. 1 in parts of Idaho and two weeks later in Montana, but Molloy on Monday granted a request by environmental and animal rights groups for a hearing on whether the courts should prevent the hunts.

Molloy scheduled the hearing for Monday, the day Montana wolf tags go on sale. Wolves in Montana and Idaho are no longer on the endangered species list.

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