by KATHERINE WUTZ
Nineteen gray wolves have been killed so far this hunting season, but the large number of tags sold suggests many more will be—especially as there is no statewide quota again this year.
The 2012-13 wolf hunting season opened Aug. 30, though trapping in most zones won’t open until November.
According to Idaho Department of Fish and Game records, none of the wolves so far has been in the Southern Mountains zone, which spans Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey and Carey.
No wolves have been killed in the Sawtooth zone, west of the Southern Mountains zone, though one has been killed in the Middle Fork zone and one in the Salmon zone, north and northeast of the Southern Mountains zone.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Niels Nokkentved said Wednesday that it’s difficult to tell how many hunters bought tags for this season, as the department has switched to selling tags on a calendar year basis.
“People might have bought tags in January and decided not to use them,” he said.
So far, 19,110 resident tags and 3,262 nonresident tags have been sold for the 2012 calendar year. Nokkentved said the total is slightly down from 2011, when the department sold 28,600 resident tags and about 3,000 nonresident tags.
Nokkentved said he didn’t know if tag sales would get a boost later this fall.
“I would have to speculate,” he said, and added that he did not know whether tag sales got a boost last fall.
New rules approved by the Fish and Game Commission this summer allowed hunters to buy up to five wolf tags per calendar year. However, hunters may only use two tags per year in the Southern Mountains zone. The Southern Mountains zone has a harvest quota of 40 wolves for the 2012-13 season. Trapping wolves is not permitted in this zone.
Kate Wutz: firstname.lastname@example.org
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