Big game drop attributed to wolf pack increase

Big game drop attributed to wolf pack increase
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Fish and Game officials say the state's wolf population is moving south and getting into trouble.

Fish and Game Director Cal Groen told the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee that Idaho's estimated 824 wolves are impacting the state's deer and elk population.

He says big game populations are decreasing by as much as 15 percent a year. Without the wolves, Idaho's deer and elk herds would be increasing 7 percent a year.

Groen says the wolf packs have become overcrowded and wolves have begun to kill each other.

Federal Endangered Species Act protections were nearly lifted from the predators in the northern Rocky Mountains in January; the decision is currently under review by President Barack Obama's administration.

State officials say Idaho needs to be able to manage the wolf population through hunting to protect the state's big game animals.