The short answer is, it won't. Montana's 2009 quota of 75 targeted 15 percent of 500 wolves. Idaho's quota, 220, targeted nearly 26 percent of 850 wolves. In addition, the predator-control program conducted by Wildlife Services (under the USDA), acting on state recommendations to eliminate wolves that are killing livestock, reduces wolf populations by around 20 percent annually. That brings the total harvest in Montana to 35 percent; 46 percent in Idaho. Studies suggest that wolves can withstand a 30 percent annual mortality rate through hunting before populations begin to trend down. Factor in those wolves taken by predator control, and it would seem that reducing or at least checking wolf populations is possible. This equation, however, doesn't take into account that wolves have been increasing at an accelerated rate--between 20 and 24 percent annually--as they expand into new territories. And there is no guarantee that hunters will meet state quotas. On the inaugural hunt, Montana hunters reached theirs by mid November, but the wolves had been shielded by the Endangered Species Act and were caught off guard. It is far from a certainty that future hunts will see tags filled at similar rates, especially in light of the fact that game managers expect three-quarters of the harvest will be incidental--wolves shot by elk and deer hunters who happen upon them, rather than by hunters who specifically target wolves. Hunting has proved hardest in Idaho's backcountry wolf districts, where hunters have fallen short of filling the quota, despite a three-month extension of the season that was originally slated to close at the end of the year. Not incidentally, these areas include ranges where elk herds have been hit hardest by wolves.