Montana unveils wolf proposals
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
June 7, 2010
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials have several wolf hunting proposals out for public review:
The FWP Commission recently approved quota alternatives of 153, 186 or 216 wolves in the proposed 14 different wolf management units. Sub-quota areas are also being considered to limit harvest during early season backcountry hunts and in an area directly north of Yellowstone National Park.
Also proposed this year is a wolf archery season for all WMUs that would open Sept. 4 and run through Oct. 17, the same time as Montana’s deer, elk, lion, and black bear archery seasons. Hunting would close when quotas are met, or by Dec. 31.
Last year, Montana’s first ever wolf harvest quota was 75 wolves across three WMUs. Officials estimate that at least 524 wolves in 101 verified packs and 37 breeding pairs inhabited the state at the end of 2009. The Montana wolf population is predicted to decrease under each of the quota alternatives currently being considered by the FWP Commission.
License sales for the 2010 wolf season are scheduled to begin in early August. Hunting licenses will cost $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. Officials caution, however, that the wolf hunting season could be blocked by groups that recently sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent wolf delisting. Such legal challenges prevented wolf delisting and a hunting season in 2008 and could affect the wolf hunt this year. FWP has joined the USFWS’s defense of the delisting decision. Court arguments are set for June 15 in Missoula.