Gray wolves have a price tag on their heads in Idaho, and it's a bargain-basement price at that.
Starting Monday, Idaho residents can get wolf-hunting permits for just $11.75 (after purchasing a state hunting license for $12.75, of course). Nonresidents have to pay a bit more: $154.75 for a hunting license, plus $186 for a wolf tag.
The state has set a total quota of 220 wolves for all hunters this season, representing about 25 percent of Idaho's wolf population. This also represents about 13 percent of the total wolf population in the northern Rockies (estimated at 1,645), which also includes Montana and Wyoming.
Hunts are also scheduled in Montana, with its own quota of 75 wolves, starting in October.
Gray wolves (Canis lupus) have gone on and off the U.S. endangered species list over the past two years. (Read our account of their ever-changing status here.) The populations in the Great Lakes region regained their protected status in June, but the population in the Rockies did not.
Of course, several lawsuits remain pending as environmental groups try to get the Rockies species listed again. Defenders of Wildlife has announced plans to request a temporary injunction to block Idaho's hunt, but they don't have much time—wolf season opens on September 1.
Image: Wolf howl by Michael Lorenzo, via Stock.xchng