People wanting to weigh in on the proposed 2013/2014 wolf hunting and trapping season now have an opportunity to do so.
To find out details on the proposed changes, and to comment beginning May 13, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov and click on “Hunting.”
The population of gravy wolves in Montana has been considered “recovered” for about the past decade, and they formally were taken off of the list of threatened or endangered species in 2011. Now, the state is trying to manage wolves in a manner similar to that of bears, mountain lions and other wildlife species.
Comments are due by 5 p.m. June 24. As an alternative to commenting online, people can mail their thoughts of support or concerns to FWP – Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment;P.O. Box200701;Helena,MT59620-0701.
For the upcoming seasons, archery only hunting would run from Sept. 7 through Sept. 14. The general hunting season would follow, beginning Sept. 15 and ending March 31, 2014.
The trapping season would run Dec. 15 through Feb. 28, 2014, and those new to wolf trapping would have to complete an education course to participate.
Hunting and trapping of wolves is provided for in Montana's wolf conservation and management plan. During Montana's 2012/2013 wolf season, hunters harvested 128 wolves and trappers took 97 wolves for a total of 225.
The overall bag limit for the upcoming seasons would be five wolves per person in any combination of wolves taken by hunting or trapping, up from one per person last year.
Wolf quotas would be maintained in areas near Montana’s two national parks, with a quota of seven wolves in an expanded Wolf Management Unit 316 near Yellowstone National Park and a quota of two wolves in WMU 110 near Glacier National Park.
Also proposed for the 2013-14 seasons is a regulation that would allow hunters to take a wolf over bait placed for trapping and a requirement that trappers in most of Montana would be required to set pan tensions to 10 pounds to minimize the unintentional trapping of lynx, wolverines and other non-targeted species.
A final decision on the wolf season is expected at the FWP Commission meeting on July 10 in Helena.
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.