SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The state of Washington has issued new rules that allow the Department of Fish and Wildlife to move more quickly when a wolf pack begins preying on livestock.

The state contends the new rules are intended to reduce the deaths of both wolves and livestock.

However the rules were criticized Friday by some environmental groups as making it too easy to hunt down wolves, which are a protected species in Washington.

Under the new rules, a hunt can be initiated if there are at least three wolf depredation events on livestock within 30 days, or four events within 10 months, including one event that was not confirmed. The old rules allowed a hunt only after at least four confirmed depredation events over a year or six over two years.