Montana wolf hunters learned this week that the Montana wolf hunting regulations are to stay the same as they have been, according to wildlife officials at the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The agency announced that it has a plan in place to let the state’s population of wolves be hunted, yet maintain a viable population.
During Montana wolf hunting seasons in the past, officials have used several methods to keep the wolf population in check, while still satisfying wolf hunters. For instance, they have had different types of season dates, as well as quotas. However, now there are no quotas except that in areas next to the Yellowstone and Glacier National parks. Additionally, landowners must abide by a 100 wolf-killing limit in the state per year.
Montana Wolf Hunting Results so Far in 2015
In the Montana wolf-hunting season that ended in March, wolf hunters who travel to the state to hunt managed to kill and trap 206 wolves and the local landowners killed six wolves. This left the Montana wolf population at about 554 wolves, which was a decline of 12 percent. Any wolf hunters who intend to travel to the state to hunt in the next season will be following the current laws and regulations.
Wolf advocacy groups say that they are happy the state is not going to lower the protection status of the wolves living in Montana. Groups like the Defenders of Wildlife’s Rockies and Plains program want the wolves in Montana treated like any other wildlife and don’t want them to be persecuted.
Grey Wolf Populations in Montana Over the Years Varies
The wolf is a controversial topic in not just Montana wolf hunting laws and regulations, but in several other western states. The population of wolves in Montana has varied over the years, with 412 wolves counted in 2013, with 16 breeding pairs confirmed.
The Montana portion of the Greater Yellowstone area had a minimum of 122 wolves in 23 packs with 11 breeding pairs, and Montana’s portion that includes Central Idaho included 94 wolves residing in 20 packs and having six breeding pairs.
Counting the whole state, wildlife conservationists say there is a minimum of about 134 packs of wolves in Montana, down from 152 the previous year. The federal government has a goal for Montana to have no less than 10 breeding pairs of wolves, so that must be taken under consideration in forming the Montana wolf hunting rules.
Montana wolf hunters were sometimes followed by activists who wanted to travel in the area to upset the chances of the hunters killing the wolves. The 2015 Montana wolf hunting season was six months long for rifle and bow hunting, while the trapping season lasted until February.