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Trapping helping to boost wolf harvest numbers

(HELENA)- Hunters, and trappers, have taken more than 200-wolves this season according to the latest numbers from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 

And that's putting the state closer to the target populations of wolves it hopes to manage in the future. 

The latest totals from FWP Monday show a total of 207-wolves have been killed during the current season. 121-wolves were taken by hunters and 86-wolves were taken by trappers. That's ahead last year, when hunters alone took 166-wolves, far short of the target of 220-wolves set by state biologists. 

While most of the wolves have been killed by hunters, the first year of trapping is actually bringing a greater reduction of wolf numbers in some areas of the state. In Wolf Management Unit 101 west of Kalispell 15-wolves were caught by trappers while 7-were killed by hunters. In Unit 290 east of Missoula more than twice as many wolves had been killed by trappers. Three times as many wolves were harvested by trapping in the sprawling Game Management Unit 400, which extends from the Rocky Mountain Front east to the North Dakota border. 

The largest number of wolves taken by both hunting and trapping have been in Unit 390, which stretches from Helena and Central Montana through the southeast corner of the state. 

On the West Fork of the Bitterroot, where hunters have been concerned about wolves killing off elk herds, 15-wolves were killed, split almost evenly between hunters and trappers. 

Quotas for wolf hunts are being calculated statewide this year, except for the North Fork of the Flathead where a quota is still in place. 

Montana biologists estimated the state had 650-wolves a year ago, prior to last spring's litters. The state's target has been a total population of 450-wolves.  

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