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Okanagan wolf hunt

(With files the Ministry of Environment)

Hunters and trappers in the Okanagan can now kill up to three wolves.

Government wildlife biologist Brian Harris says the number of wolf packs in the Okanagan has grown in the decades since the creatures were almost wiped out.

According to the 2012 Ministry of Environment's draft management plan for the grey wolf there are anywhere from 50 to 150 wolves in the region.

There has not been a reported harvest of wolfs in the Okanagan since 1993, when two wolves were killed.

According to the study, wolf sightings have been increasing in recent years, suggesting that the population is also increasing. Although there are now sightings throughout the region, the highest concentration has been in the northeast. There was very strong support from local stockmen, sportsmen, trappers, and guides to initiate a wolf hunting and trapping season.

The Ministry of Environment says there are up to 400 wolves in the Thompson and as many as 1250 in the Cariboo, in parts of these regions there is no bag limit. 

Fish and wildlife manager Jeff Morgan says the no-limit policy started in August is not a threat to the wolf population, given the terrain and how difficult it is to bag a wolf.

He says the region is mountainous with thick forest so the risk of killing too many wolves is low.

The plan indicated wolf populations are likely stable or increasing across the province and are not considered an 'at-risk' species. The wolf population was estimated to be approximately 8,500 which is similar to an earlier estimate of 8,100 in 1991.

In the Okanagan and Thompson regions the hunting season for wolves started September 10 and runs to June 15. The trapping season runs from October 15 to March 31.

The Canadian Press
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