Montana proposes public wolf harvest
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
January 5, 2008
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is currently accepting public comment on its proposal to have a public harvest of wolves in the state, once the species is removed from federal protection, which is anticipated later this spring.
According to the FWP Commission briefing paper:
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to delist gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act in early 2008. Regulated public harvest was first endorsed as a management tool by the Governorís Wolf Advisory Council in 2000 and eventually included in Montanaís management plan. The 2001 Legislature passed SB 163, reclassifying the wolf as a nongame species in need of management automatically upon federal delisting. The 2007 Legislature created a wolf license (SB 372). Other statutes within MCA enable the FWP Commission to adopt rules and regulations pertaining to the taking of wolves by hunting and trapping as a species in need of management.
"This tentative rule would create the basic season structure for public harvest (e.g. management units, season dates, and other general regulations) for implementation upon successful delisting. Actual harvest levels would be determined through the adoption of specific quotas or permits (i.e. the number allowed to be taken and where) by the FWP Commission at a later date and as appropriate relative to the population status and other factors. FWP intends to proceed cautiously and conservatively and would not jeopardize wolf recovery."
The cost for a wolf license in Montana will be $19 for residents, and $350 for non-residents. The wolf hunting season would be held September 15 through December 31. A quota system would be established, with seasons in each hunt area closing when the quota is reached.
The state wildlife agency has created a webpage of information about the proposal. Click on the link below to get there.