BOISE -- Republicans promoting Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's proposed $2 million fund to kill wolves say they hope the cash helps reduce Idaho's population of the canine predators by more than 500 animals, to just 150 wolves in 15 packs.

Rep. Marc Gibbs of Grace and Sen. Bert Brackett of Rogerson on Monday told the House Resources and Conservation Committee money set aside with Otter's proposal will bolster Idaho's predator arsenal. Idaho now has about 680 wolves, according to Department of Fish and Game estimates.

Brackett says the priority is to keep wolves delisted, even with these proposed killings. He said provided Idaho still has 150 wolves -- the minimum required in a 2002 plan approved by the Idaho Legislature -- "we'll have a defensible line of defense" against renewed federal protections.

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