FWP: Wolf take on par with last year; first North Fork wolves killed
A gray wolf in this file photo.
Editor | January 26, 2022 7:50 AM
By CHRIS PETERSON
Hungry Horse News
With almost two months remaining, this season’s wolf harvest is on par with past seasons in Montana, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks said last week.
But it’s where the wolves are being killed that’s raised concerns. In wolf management unit 313, which borders Yellowstone National Park, 16 wolves have been killed as of Friday and three more in wolf management unit 316, which also borders the Park, bringing the total to 19 wolf deaths along the Park’s border.
That’s raised significant concerns by Yellowstone officials, as one pack that resided in the park is all but wiped out.
There used to be a three wolf quota along Yellowstone’s northern border in Montana.
Yellowstone Park Superintendent Cam Sholly first raised concerns last September about wolves dying near the park border. Earlier this month he urged Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte to shut down hunting and trapping in the area for the remainder of the season, the Associated Press reported.
Gianforte did not stop the season, however.
Closer to home, the first wolves up the North Fork of the Flathead have been killed as well. To date, three wolves have been killed in wolf management unit 110, according to FWP reports.
There used to a be two wolf quota each season in wolf management unit 110.
That was removed by the state Legislature in the last session. The quota was in deference to Glacier National Park, where the first wolves returned from Canada in the late 1970s to the Park and eventually established several packs.
Glacier has said it would take a ”wait and see” approach to this year’s wolf season, though it has also raised concerns about the quota being lifted and the more liberal hunting and trapping regulations.
Trappers for example, can now use snares and can lure wolves with bait. Snares are lethal, as they strangle the wolf.
Hunters and trappers had reported killing 174 wolves statewide as of Friday.
Region 3, which is just north of Yellowstone, reported 73 wolves being taken. The state threshold for “commission review” is 83.
“I know we’ve had many people watching Montana’s wolf hunting and trapping season this year,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Hank Worsech. “However, harvest numbers in the state are very similar to years past. We’ll continue to monitor these numbers closely as the hunting and trapping season continues.”
While there are no quotas, the commission established harvest thresholds in each of FWP’s administrative regions, which total 450 wolves statewide. If harvest meets any of these thresholds, the commission will convene to revisit the regulations and season structure.
Last year hunters and trappers took more than 320 wolves, according to FWP figures.
Those interested in up-to-date information on the status of Montana’s wolf harvest can view FWP’s wolf dashboard, which is an interactive map that shows the number of wolves harvested by region and wolf management unit.