BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wolf hunting policies in some U.S. states are taking an aggressive turn as Republican lawmakers and conservative hunting groups push to curb their numbers.

Antipathy toward wolves for killing livestock and big game dates to when early European immigrants settled the American West in the 1800s.

It flared again as the animals rebounded under federal protection.

Former wildlife officials and animal advocates say what’s emerging now is different: a politicized campaign to drive down wolf numbers including with methods long shunned by wildlife managers.

Those methods include shooting wolves from the air and payments to hunters reminiscent of bounties that widely exterminated the species last century.

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