According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, three wolves were shot on opening day of the Idaho wolf hunt, which began on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Idaho officials say they have no idea how many hunters headed into the woods to track the predators. State rules require hunters to notify game officials within 24 hours of a wolf kill and present the skull and pelt to wardens within five days.
As of close of day Monday, Aug. 31, Idaho had sold 10,908 wolf tags at a cost of $11.50 for residents and $186 for nonresidents. The hunt limit is 220 wolves across 12 zones, with one wolf per tag allowed.
Hunters in Montana purchased more than 2,600 tags on Monday, Aug. 31, the first day of sales for the hunt beginning Sept. 15. Montana officials set a state quota at 75 wolves.
It remains unclear as to how much longer hunters will have to hunt wolves. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy is still considering whether to allow the season to continue after animal rights groups asked for an injunction to stop the seasons in Idaho and Montana.
Livestock producers who endured increasing losses to wolves have no doubt the predator needs to be managed by hunting.
Jeff Siddoway, a sheep producer from Terreton, Idaho, suffered $40,000 in losses this summer due to wolf predation. He said wolves killed more than 100 rams, ewes and lambs and six guard dogs in 11 separate incidents in his grazing areas in Eastern Idaho and western Wyoming. He lost an additional 15 to 20 sheep to black bears and coyotes because the wolves killed the guard dogs.
"I've had problems before," Siddoway said. "But this year, it just kept coming."
The wolf hunt that began in Idaho this week isn't going to help Siddoway. The hunt is not allowed in the unit where his sheep depredations occurred.
Reprinted in part from Capital Press