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“As you can see, the success rate is pretty low,” he said. “Hunting wolves is a challenge. Wolves are very intelligent, and they get wise in a hurry.”

Environmental groups have decried state-sponsored wolf hunting, but supporters say the benefits are already apparent. After the 2009 season, livestock kills fell by about 50 percent, Mr. Keckler said.

“What that says to wolves is, ‘Livestock means people, and it seems people are shooting at us. So we’re going to stay away,’ ” he said.

Jon Hanian, a spokesman for Mr. Otter, said the Idaho governor doesn’t expect a response to his letter, though he hopes it will remind others of the difficulties that come with serving as a home to the gray wolf.

“I think he was having some fun, but he was also trying to make a serious point,” Mr. Hanian said. “We’ve been dealing with the wolf situation since 1995, and it’s a recurring theme. I think the governor was making the point that if other states start getting wolves in the numbers we have, they might look at the situation a little differently.”