Idaho hunter shoots former Imnaha Pack wolf

Feb 09, 2012 | East Oregonian Publishing Group | Wallowa Chieftain

EMMETT, Idaho - An Idaho hunter who apparently didn't realize his wolf tag was no longer valid shot and killed a collared male wolf from northeast Oregon's Imnaha Pack.

The man was hunting for coyotes Jan. 2 when he spotted the wolf north of Emmett, near a cattle feedlot and winter calving area. His Idaho wolf tag was good only through 2011, however.

Mike Keckler, communications bureau chief for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said IDFG issued the hunter a warning over the incident "and that's as far as it went." He said the department stopped short of issuing a citation because the hunter received "incorrect information from a clerk from one of our vendor stores."

The clerk led the hunter to believe that his 2011 tag was actually good through remaining months of the current wolf season.

The collar identified the wolf as OR-9, the designation signifying he was the ninth wolf collared in Oregon.

According to an email from Russ Morgan, wolf program coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, OR-9 was collared Feb. 26, 2011, in the Grouse Creek area east of Joseph, Ore. He was born to the alpha female of the pack, who had migrated to Oregon from Idaho in 2007.

At the time of the collaring, OR-9 was 1-1/2 years old and weighed about 90 pounds.

In early July last year, the young wolf was on the move. ODFW said he apparently swam across Brownlee Reservoir into Idaho, traveled south toward Weiser for a time and then moved north into the Cuddy Mountains and Sun Devils area, where he stayed into the fall.

OR-9 had traveled south and east into the mountains where he was shot.

OR-9's collar is being returned to ODFW, said Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for the Oregon department.

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