Wolf Harvest On Pace with Last Year

By Beacon Staff

A total of 55 wolves have been harvested so far this year as trappers prepare for the start of the state’s first season next month.

Montana’s wolf trapping season begins Dec. 15. Prospective trappers were required to take an educational wolf trapping course, and according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, more than 600 people registered in Northwest Montana’s Region 1.

Hunters have harvested a total of 55 wolves statewide since the season opened in September. In the Wolf Management Unit 130, south and east of Kalispell, six wolves have been harvested. In Unit 101, west and north of Kalispell, three have been harvested.

Montana’s archery season closed Oct. 14. The general rifle season for wolves runs from Oct. 20 to Feb. 28 and trapping is allowed from Dec. 15 to Feb. 28.

There is no longer a harvest quota except for in two units near Glacier and Yellowstone national parks. The new hunting and trapping bag limit is a combined three wolves per person. One wolf can be taken by means of hunting with a valid license. Three wolves can be taken through trapping. The FWP Commission can authorize an emergency closure if too many animals are killed.

The harvest total this year is close to the same period last year. By Nov. 1, 2011, hunters had killed 44 wolves statewide. A total of 166 wolves were eventually harvested, shy of the 220-animal quota. That led to the vote for a more liberal hunting season and a new trapping season.

On public land, foothold traps are prohibited within 1,000 feet of a designated campground, fishing access site or trailhead near the highway. A 150-foot setback is required for foothold traps along open roads and hiking trails on federal and state lands that are designated by signs or numbers. Footholds are also prohibited within 1,000 feet of a designated or marked dwelling without written notification of the resident.

Trappers are required to remove traps within 24 hours of capturing an individual’s last legally harvested wolf. If a wolf trapper incidentally catches a wolf beyond the legal limit and the wolf is uninjured, the trapper is required to contact FWP within 24 hours.

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