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March 7, 2013

Wolf seasons drawing to a close

By Niels Nokkentved, IDFG

   Gray wolf hunting and trapping seasons in most zones in Idaho run through March 31.

   Hunting seasons in the Lolo and Selway zones remain open through June 30. And the Beaverhead and Island Park zones closed Jan. 31.

   As of March 4, hunters and trappers had taken 245 wolves in Idaho. Last year, they had taken a total of 379 wolves by the end of the season.

   Fish and Game encourages wolf hunters to concentrate their efforts in backcountry zones where wolf harvest has been the lowest. Access to backcountry and wilderness units may be difficult, but wolves in those areas are less likely to have been disturbed by other hunters.

   Examples areas with wolf hunting opportunities include: Unit 25, along the South Fork Salmon River or the East Fork of the Salmon River to Yellow Pine, or Unit 19A along the main stem of the Salmon River.

   Wolves have proven to be a challenging big game animal to hunt. Effective wolf hunting techniques include looking for fresh tracks and then closing the distance before calling to wolves, glassing ridges where wolves may travel or bed, and calling by howling or using other predator calls.

   Wolf hunters are discouraged from shooting wolves with radio collars. The collared wolves provide important information biologists need to document wolf population levels and continue to justify having wolf hunting seasons, and the collars are expensive to place on animals.