Montana sees spike in purchase of wolf licenses - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Montana sees spike in purchase of wolf licenses

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MISSOULA, Mont. - Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports a spike in people purchasing licenses to hunt wolves in the state after a judge declined to stop the hunt.

Agency spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser said about 150 wolf tags were purchased Wednesday, the same day U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy denied a request by environmentalists and animal welfare groups to stop the hunts in Idaho and Montana.

She says sales have been steady since then, keeping game offices busy.

The wolf hunting season in Montana starts next Tuesday in four specific backcountry areas, and then throughout three larger management areas on October 25.

Idaho's season is already under way.

Idaho and Montana plan to kill more than 20 percent of the estimated 1,350 wolves in the two states.

Federal judge says gray wolf hunts can continue

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.

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