Federal judge says gray wolf hunts can continue - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Federal judge says gray wolf hunts can continue

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Robert Milage was the first to report a wolf kill in Idaho Robert Milage was the first to report a wolf kill in Idaho
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BILLINGS, Mont. - A federal judge says gray wolf hunts in the Northern Rockies can go on, denying a request by environmentalists and animal welfare groups to stop the first organized wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana in decades.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said Wednesday that plans to kill about 20 percent of the two states' estimated 1,350 wolves would not cause long-term harm to the population.

Molloy also said that by carving Wyoming out of the recent decision to remove wolves from federal protection, the government appeared to violate the Endangered Species Act by making its decision based on political boundaries.

Molloy says that means environmentalists could ultimately prevail in their bid to restore endangered species protection for the animals.

Idaho hunters continue to take aim at wolves

Saturday, September 5

Hunters continue to buy permits to hunt wolves in Idaho. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says more than 12,300 wolf tags were sold by the end of business Friday.

The state's wolf hunting season started Sept. 1, and hunters bagged three wolves on opening day. So far no other kills have been reported. But it remains to be seen how long the season will last.

A federal judge in Montana is still considering an injunction to stop the hunts in Idaho and Montana sought by environmentalists. The federal government removed wolves from the endangered species list in May and handed over management of the predators to both states.

Idaho set a quota of 220 wolves during its first public hunt. Montana set a limit of 75 wolves. Montana's wolf season opens Sept. 15.

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