Hunters can't always expect game to come running toward them, of course, so they often bring meat to bait the wolves. A wolf's diet consists of ungulates -- large, hoofed animals like elk and deer -- but hunters, for the sake of not dragging an entire dead moose out into the wilderness, will usually bring cuts of meat from larger prey or meat from smaller prey, such as rabbit, which wolves will eat gladly. As an extra measure, many hunters learn specific calls that mimic wounded animals in order to attract wolves to their area.
In places like Alaska where wolf hunting isn't heavily regulated, it's possible, with the right licenses, to go on wolf hunting trips led by experienced guides. These guides will coach tourists on baiting and calling and provide the tour with the right signals and methods for a successful wolf hunt. Costs range between $2,500 and $3,500, and outfitters often provide food and lodging for about one week.
Wolf management is highly controversial, especially in several regions of North America where people have historically extirpated wolves. Wolf poaching in an area where wolves are protected is illegal -- laws vary, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) typically gives hunters $1,000 to $2,000 in penalties and revokes hunting licenses for three to five years, but the federal government can send hunters to jail and fine them as much as $100,000 for illegally shooting a wolf. Generally, hunters are allowed to hunt wolves in places where wolf populations are large, like Canada and Alaska, and there is no risk of extirpation. Regions where wolf populations have fluctuated dramatically, like the Yellowstone region in the United States, have more restrictions. The only time it's acceptable to shoot a wolf in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, states where wolves have had to undergo reintroduction, is when a wolf attacks a person or threatens livestock. In these cases, the event has to be reported to the FWS within one to three days, and physical evidence of any such struggle (injured or dead livestock, trampled areas, tracks and so on) must be reported as well.
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More Great Links
- Alpine Outfitters. "Wolf hunts with Alpine Outfitters, Alberta wolf hunting guides and outfitters." 2007. (Nov. 14, 2008) http://www.alpineoutfitters.com/alberta_wolf_hunts.asp
- Defenders of Wildlife. "Gray wolf." (Nov. 10, 2008) http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/wolf,_gray.php
- Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the Fish and Wildlife Service. "Airborne Hunting Act." Nov. 18, 1971. (Nov. 17, 2008) http://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/airborn.html
- Hunting Outfitters. "Wolf hunting season changes in Ontario, Canada." March 20, 2005. (Nov. 17, 2008) http://www.huntingoutfitters.ca/Wolf_hunting_in_Ontario.htm
- Idaho Fish and Game Department. "Wolf poaching carries federal and state penalties." June 30, 2005. (Nov. 17, 2008) http://www.biggamehunt.net/sections/Idaho/ Wolf_Poaching_Carries_Federal_and_State_Penalties_06300507.html
- Martin, L.H. "Wolf-hunting in Wisconsin." The New York Times. Jan. 29, 1876. (Nov. 10, 2008) http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/ pdf?res=9E0DE3DA113FE73BBC4151DFB766838D669FDE
- Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "Wolves in Montana." 2007. (Nov. 17, 2008) http://fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/wolf/population.html
- The New York Times. "Wolf hunting in Brittany." Feb. 13, 1876. (Nov. 10. 2008) http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res= 9806E6D9143AE63BBC4B52DFB466838D669FDE
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."Summary of the Wisconsin wolf management plan." Oct. 27, 1999. (Nov. 17, 2008) http://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/state-plans/wiplnsum.htm