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As Idaho plans wolf hunt without quotas, new pack confirmed in Cascades

Conservation Northwest
DNA tests confirm that a wolf captured on film by Conservation Northwest volunteers is part of a new wolf pack in the Teanaway area east of Seattle.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is developing a proposal that could make this year's wolf hunting season even more controversial. It would allow wolf hunting in most parts of Idaho without a cap on the total number of wolves being killed. As correspondent Jessica Robinson reports, that news from Idaho comes on the same day Washington announces some new wolf numbers of its own.

States took the reins of wolf management in May after the federal government dropped the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list. In Idaho, Fish and Game staffers plan to advance a proposal later this week to allow an open-ended hunt in most of the state. Environmental groups say Idaho is declaring “open season” on wolves.

But the last time Idahoans could hunt wolves, in 2009, hunters never reached the 220 wolf quota, even though about 30,000 people bought wolf tags. That’s why Ike Mortensen of the group Deer Hunters of Idaho says:

“A quota on wolves isn't really a big deal because wolves are extremely hard to hunt.”

The head of Idaho Fish and Game says he isn't worried about over-hunting this year because even fewer hunters are buying wolf tags.

Meanwhile, in Washington state DNA tests now confirm there's a new breeding wolf pack in the Cascade Mountains. Biologists are now tracking what they call the Teanaway pack in Kittitas County.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network