Today, the U.S. Department of Interior approved Senator Jon Tester’s request for a conservation wolf hunt in Montana.

“A wolf hunt in Montana is a good next step toward getting wolf management completely back in the hands of Montanans, where it belongs, instead of the federal government,” Tester said. “I’m going to keep fighting on all fronts to get wolves back under Montana’s common sense management plan.”

The Interior Department preliminarily approved Montana’s request for a conservation wolf hunt in the Bitterroot Valley. The decision is now posted for public comment on an expedited timeline of 14 days before receiving final approval.

In January, Tester told Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, “a regulated hunt will expand the state’s management options for this predator and restore balance to the system.”

The hunt, to be conducted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees, would thin the population of wolves in the Bitterroot that are having a negative impact on elk population in the area.

Tester and Baucus have also introduced legislation to return management of wolves in Montana and Idaho to the states.