Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking comment on its proposed 2012-13 general wolf hunting and trapping season. The general season would run from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28, 2013, with trapping allowed from Dec. 15 to the end of the general wolf season. Trapping and hunting of wolves is provided for in Montana’s wolf conservation and management plan.
Montana’s 2011 wolf season included a statewide hunting-only quota of 220 wolves aimed at reducing the minimum population to about 425 wolves. Hunters harvested 166 wolves.
Under the proposed 2012-2013 season there would be no statewide quota, but quotas would be established in two areas near Glacier and Yellowstone national parks.
“With a healthy wolf population we can offer additional opportunities to harvest a wolf while comfortably maintaining the base population and genetic diversity that is important to the long term health and management of the species,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife bureau chief in Helena.
The new proposal aims to get the population closer to a post-season count of 425 wolves, an annual target for the 2012 hunting season, McDonald said.
“The 2012 season is designed to help Montana meet management objectives that include reduced impacts to livestock and ungulate populations while maintaining a viable wolf population.”
Some features of last year’s hunt would remain in place, including mandatory harvest reporting within 24 hours, and the FWP Commission having the authority to close the season in any hunting area to prevent overharvest.
Trappers would be required to take a mandatory trapper orientation and to conduct mandatory trap-checks. Snares would not be allowed.
The proposal includes potential adjustments to bag limits and electronic calling if the 2013 legislature makes legal adjustments.
The public is encouraged to read the complete wolf hunting season proposal and submit comments online at fwp.mt.gov. Public information meetings are planned in several cities. There will be one at the Bozeman Holiday Inn on May 22, from 7-9 p.m.
The public may also comment in writing by June 25 to: FWP – Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment; P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620-0701.