Wolf hunt closes in another Idaho hunting zone

Wolf quota is met in the Palouse-Hells Canyon zone on the Idaho/Oregon border-

The fourth Idaho wolf hunt zone has its quota of wolves killed. Eight zones are still open and four are now closed.  The quota for the newly closed zone was 5 wolves.  So far the reported kill overall is 129 131 wolves with 91 89 more to go, although it is likely that the fulfillment of sub-quotas, as just happened, will make the full quota of 91 more unattainable.

The Middle Fork Zone and the Southern Mountains will probably be the next zones to close because their quotas will be filled when one or two more wolves are killed in each of the zones.

http://www.fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/wolf/quota.cfm

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12-22. More. Several hunting zones continue to lag in the number of wolves killed compared to their quotas. They are Panhandle where 14 of 30 tags have been filled, Lolo 7 of 27, and Salmon where only 4 of 16 have been killed.

Most interesting is the Lolo. This is the area where we have been told time and time again there are incredible number of wolves feasting on the chronically depressed elk herd. If so, why not more tags filled? Mark Gamlin has already pointed out that the hunting unit is rugged and remote. That is mostly true. However, it does have motorized access and a number of roads. It is not designated Wilderness. Units actually inside designated Wilderness, Selway 6 out of 17 and Middle Fork, 15 out of 17 are having better hunting success. By law these have no roads. I suspect the answer is that they have more wolves. I don’t know how wolves can persist in any great number in the Lolo year after year when the elk herd is so depressed (and I don’t doubt that the herd is depressed). In other words, I don’t think there are all that many wolves in the Lolo.

The Salmon hunting unit has been controversial. From the very beginning we have been told that wolves are all over the place just west and northwest of the town of Salmon. This unit has a lot of road access. It also has a lot of deer, elk, moose that winter in the Salmon River Canyon and its tributaries. Salmon City has always had an excitable element in its population — quick to speak loudly about all natural resources/environmental issues.  I think he Lolo and Salmon unit quotas are most likely political quotas rather than quotas based on wolf abundance.