Senators skeptical of IDFG wolf count numbers

Senators skeptical of IDFG wolf count numbers
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Senators questioned the accuracy of Idaho Department of Fish and Game's report on the number of wolves in Idaho during a hearing.

Officials say there were 683 wolves in the state at the end of 2012 and preliminary numbers for 2013 point to populations falling below 600.

Several members of the Resources and Environment Committee contesting Wednesday that wolf numbers are actually much higher.

Fish and Game agreed the count skewed low, calling the numbers a "minimum," but said it accurately depicts population trends.

Officials say the numbers will inform control policies. That's been a contentious issue in Idaho, pitting ranchers and hunters worried about effects on elk and livestock against wildlife activists who argue the species has a right to live and hunt in the woods without being killed.