FWP to Discuss Wolf Quota Before Hunting Season

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Wildlife officials are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss a proposal that would allow 75 wolves to be killed in Montana’s first ever state-sanctioned hunting season for the animal.

The state’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission is set to meet in Helena to discuss the quota, which is consistent with a recommendation in December by Montana’s Wolf Management Advisory Council. The 12-person panel that included ranchers, hunters and scientists said 130 wolves could be killed in Montana per year without reducing the overall number of wolves in the state.

Carolyn Sime, FWP’s wolf coordinator, said the figure is similar to the anticipated population increase next year because of births and migration. Montana is home to at least 422 wolves, including 39 breeding pairs in eight packs, she said.

Any quota adopted at Thursday’s commission meeting must be submitted for public comment. The final quota adoption is set for Aug. 5.

In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed wolves from the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. The move prompted a federal lawsuit filed by almost a dozen environmental groups that requested a halt to the delisting in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. A district judge is expected to make a ruling in the case soon.

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