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Mar 23, 2012 - The Associated Press

Idaho tweaks wolf hunt regulations

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Idaho wildlife officials have agreed to boost bag limits, expand trapping and extend hunting seasons in some areas to help further reduce wolf populations in all corners of the state.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved the adjustments Thursday to the 2012 wolf hunting rules. The changes will go into effect when hunters set out for the back country later this year.

Idaho's wolf managers estimate there are now 500 to 600 wolves roaming the state, down from the more than 1,000 when the 2011 hunting season opened in August.

Hunters and trappers have killed 364 wolves since the season opened, while dozens more have died of natural causes, been killed for preying on livestock or targeted as part of strategy to lessen impacts on specific elk herds in the state.

"Our harvest focus is to be more aggressive in areas where we anticipate more conflicts ... and providing relief on big game animals," Jon Rachael, Idaho's wolf manager, told the commission.

Idaho is one of two states with authority from the federal government to manage wolf numbers using public hunts. Federal officials require Idaho to maintain a population of at least 150 wolves and 10 breeding pairs.

Grant helps preserve Heart Mountain

CODY (AP) -- The National Park Service is awarding nearly $31,000 to preserve the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, where thousands of Japanese Americans were detained during World War II.

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation plans to use the money to improve the website of the new Heart Mountain Interpretative Learning Center to develop a virtual tour, incorporate new content, and offer access to the center's archives and artifacts online.

The award was among 17 grants totaling nearly $2.9 million that the National Park Service announced Thursday to preserve confinement sites. Grant recipients are required to raise $1 in non-federal funds or "in-kind" contributions for every $2 they receive in federal money.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the internment sites serve as reminders to be vigilant in upholding civil liberties for all.

Gillette doctor faces 11 charge

GILLETTE (AP) -- A 55-year-old Gillette doctor has been accused of distributing prescription narcotics without a medical purpose.

Thomas C. Davis made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Thursday in Casper.

The ear, nose and throat specialist heard the 11 counts filed against on Thursday in U.S. District Court at Casper.

Ten of the charges accuse him of writing prescriptions for hydrocodone without a legitimate medical purpose and outside of the normal parameters of his practice. The last count charges him with prescribing oxycodone without a medical purpose.

Davis is free on a $20,000 non-secured bond. He will be arraigned next Tuesday in federal court in Casper.

Davis owns his own practice in Gillette.

Forest unit will close to shooting

LARAMIE (AP) -- The Pole Mountain unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest is closed to shooting starting March 31 and continuing through Sept. 10.

During the closed period, it's prohibited to discharge a firearm, air rifle or gas gun in the area. Forest managers say the Pole Mountain unit receives heavy public use during the summer and that stray bullets pose an unnecessary hazard.

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