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Montana to defy feds and allow wolf hunting

BILLINGS, Mont. —Defying federal authority over gray wolves, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Wednesday encouraged ranchers to kill wolves that prey on their livestock — even in areas where that is not allowed — and said the state will start shooting packs that hurt elk herds.

Schweitzer told the Associated Press he no longer would wait for federal officials to resolve the tangle of lawsuits over wolves, which has kept the animals on the endangered species list for a decade since recovery goals were first met.

"We will take action in Montana on our own," he said. "We've had it with Washington, D.C., with Congress just yipping about it, with (the Department of) Interior just vacillating about it."

State wildlife agents and ranchers already kill wolves regularly across much of the Northern Rockies, where 1,700 of the animals roam parts of five states. Rules against killing wolves have been relaxed by federal officials over the past decade but hunting remains prohibited.

Drug suspect kills deputy U.S. marshal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —A deputy U.S. marshal was killed and two others were wounded Wednesday in West Virginia when a drug suspect opened fire on them with a shotgun and then was shot dead, authorities said.

It happened at 8:30 a.m. as deputy marshals entered a residence in Elkins to serve a search warrant, U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Dave Oney said.

The suspect, Charles E. Smith, 50, was wanted on charges related to possession with intent to distribute cocaine, Oney said.

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