The archery season for wolves north of Yellowstone National Park will come to an end one day earlier this week in Wolf Management Unit 313 after one wolf was harvested.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks noted that the wolf archery-only season will close a half-hour after sunset today in WMU 313, which includes portions of Park County. The wolf archery season was slated to end on Saturday, and the general wolf hunting season will start on Sunday.
The quota for WMU 313 is four wolves. Ken McDonald, FWP Wildlife Bureau chief, said the reason for closing the archery season a day early in that unit is so opportunities will remain for rifle hunters.
“It’s the same type of thing with mountain lions, where with the early season we don’t allow taking more than 20 percent of the quota during the early archery season,” McDonald said. “So with a quota of four, one is it to make sure the hunters can get a shot.”
Montana does not have a statewide hunting or trapping quota, but each wolf that’s harvested must be reported.
In certain sensitive areas, which generally are near Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, the Fish and Wildlife Commission has instituted a quota. That includes taking only two wolves in Wolf Management Unit 110 near Glacier National Park, the four wolves in WMU 313 and three wolves in WMU 316, which border Yellowstone National Park.
And while hunters and trappers can harvest up to five wolves this year, they’re limited to only one wolf per person in the three WMUs near the national parks. FWP also has urged hunters to avoid taking wolves with radio collars, since that could disrupt wolf research and management.
The general wolf hunting season is slated to end March 15, 2014. Wolf hunting licenses cost $19 for residents and $50 for nonresidents.
Montana’s wolf trapping season is set for Dec. 15 through Feb. 28, 2014. Wolf trappers must attend a mandatory wolf-trapping certification class, unless they’ve already successfully completed a wolf-trapping certification class in Montana or Idaho.
In Montana, officials estimate that at least 625 wolves, in 147 verified packs, and 37 breeding pairs inhabited the state at the end of 2012.
During Montana’s 2012/2013 wolf season, hunters harvested 128 wolves and trappers took 97 wolves for a total of 225. So far in 2013, 63 wolves have been removed for preying on livestock or pets, and another 18 died after either encountering vehicles, being shot illegally or for other reasons.
Reporter Eve Byron: 447-4076 or email@example.com. Follow Eve on Twitter @IR_EveByron.