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Idaho Wolves are Wanted Dead….and Alive

May 19, 2008

Boise, ID – Idaho's wolves are wanted dead...and alive. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is finishing up rules for the state's first wolf season this fall, planning for 300 wolves to be killed by hunters by the end of this year. However, some people would prefer to "shoot" wolves with cameras and watch them with binoculars. They are asking that the state designate no-hunting zones for their safety.

John Robison with the Idaho Conservation League says surveys show that more than twice as many Idahoans would rather watch wolves than hunt them.

"There will be plenty of places for folks to hunt wolves if they want to. But we also need a few quiet places set aside for people to watch wolves."

The Idaho Conservation League recommends that certain habitat near Ketchum and Stanley be designated as wolf viewing areas. IDFG initially proposed viewing areas, but Robison says those plans faded away as the hunting regulations were being drafted.

Robison emphsizes wolves could be worth a lot of money to Idaho as a tourist lure.

"In and around the wolf-viewing areas of Yellowstone National Park, wolves bring in millions of dollars a year. If Fish and Game wants to have a balanced approach, wolf-viewing has to be part of the equation."

A meeting about the rules will be held tonight from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Trophy Room at IDFG Headquarters, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise.

The wolf plan is available online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ID