Groups seek to delist wolves in Eastern Wash.

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. (AP) -- Two groups have filed a petition with the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife to delist gray wolves in the eastern third of the state.

The Washington Cattlemen's Association and the Hunter Heritage Council say gray wolves should be classified a big game species, which would allow them to be hunted.

Mark Pidgeon, president of the Hunters Heritage Council, says both organizations support wolf recovery. But he says wolf populations can't become so large that the animals become a menace, and hunting is one of the best ways to accomplish this.

Federal endangered-species protections for wolves were removed in the eastern one-third of Washington earlier this year, but wolves are still listed under the state's endangered species law.