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Entries in Montana wolves (39)


CSKT looks at proposed wolf plan changes

(PABLO)- Wildlife managers with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are staring to revise the tribe's plan for managing wolves, with the goal of having a more defined role on controlling the predators on the reservation. 

Under the earlier decision to take the wolves off the Endangered Species List in the Northern Rockies, wolf management is the responsibility of the states. However, the tribes are also involved in management because of their sovereign status. 

The tribes have been operating under a plan first approved in 2011. Now, with the increasing wolf population, biologists say its time to review those rules and make possible changes after receiving public input.

One of the key points being reviewed is whether the tribe will allow wolf hunting and trapping. The Tribal Council allowed that in 2013, but didn't approve hunting and trapping this year. The plan also touches on control measures for "problem wolves" that pray on cattle and livestock. 

Copies of the plan and other documents, along with a form for public comment are on the CSKT website. 


Montana wolf numbers stable in latest report

USFWS photo by Gary Kramer (HELENA)- A new report shows Montana's wolf populations are continuing to stabilze, with wolves killing fewer livestock in 2013.

Those are the two primary findings from the new Minimum Wolf Court prepared by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The report is part of the requirement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when it turned over management of the wolves to the states when they were taken off the Endangered Species List in the Northern Rockies. 

While wolf populations were exploding prior to the de-listing. Now FWP says there were 627 wolves at the end of the year, nearly identical to the 625 wolves tallied at the end of 2012. At the same time, wolf depredations of livestock dropped by 27%. 67-cattle were killed, which is the fewest in 7-years. 

FWP managers say the stable numbers and fewer kills result from a combination of smaller pack sizes, routinely dealing with wolves near livestock as well as using hunting and trapping to manage wolves. The agency also says much of the suitable wolf habitat has also "filled", or reached a balanced carrying capacity. 

The "Northwest Montana" area had the most wolves with more than 400 while Yellowstone region, where the wolves were released in 1995, had the fewest with 92-wolves in 22-packs. 

By comparison, USFWS reports Idaho had 659-wolves at the end of last year with 306 in Wyoming. 



Montana wolf season opens Sunday with more liberal regulations

USFWS photo(HELENA)- Montana's general wolf hunting season gets underway this weekend, a season that sees much more liberal regulations as the state attempts to use hunting to control wolf populations across the Treasure State. 

The new season opens Sunday, and for the first time, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks will be dropping many of the provisions that have limited wolf seasons since hunting resumed in 2009 when the federal government turned management of the wolves over to the states. 

The key changes include a longer season, a higher bag limit of five wolves per hunter and a drop in the price of getting a wolf license. The new regulations also drop the past system of placing limits on the number of wolves killed in different Game Management Units, with the exception of areas closest to the state's two national parks, Glacier and Yellowstone. 

This will also be the second year wolf trapping will be allowed, with that season startin December. 



FWP lengthens wolf season, increases bag limit

USFWS photo by J. & K. Hollingsworth(HELENA)- Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners have approved the agency's most aggressive wolf season ever, increasing bag limits and lengthening the season in an effort to stabilize wolf numbers. 

The FWP Commission met Wednesday in Helena to finalize the rules and regulations for the upcoming season, as the state continues to use hunting as a tool to control the wolf population in Montana. 

This year the wolf rifle hunting season will start on September 15th and last until March 31st, which is a couple of weeks longer than the 2012-13 season. The commission also approved the use of electronic calls, and increased the bag limit to five wolves per hunter, the most ever allowed. 

However, in a nod to concerns from Yellowstone National Park biologists, the state decided to reduce the bag limit to one wolf per hunter near the park and limited the total number of wolves in that zone. There had been concerns from the park and conservation groups that aggressive hunting nearby could endanger the population of wolves in the park. 

Wolf trapping will also be allowed this year, with the season starting in mid-December and running through February 28th. The wolf archery season will run from September 7th through September 14th. 


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.