Montana suspends wolf hunting near Yellowstone

BILLINGS — Montana wildlife officials suspended wolf hunting near Yellowstone National Park on Thursday, after nine kills in just three weeks pushed the area’s wolf harvest close to its season-long limit.

This is Montana’s first wolf hunt following the animal’s recent removal from the endangered species list.

State officials had hoped to use the hunt to curb wolf attacks on livestock. That appears unlikely now for a large swath of the state.

So far only two backcountry areas have been opened to hunting: the Absaroka-Beartooth Wildness near Yellowstone and parts of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Those areas are far from most livestock.

The nine wolves killed to date near Yellowstone — where the suspension was ordered Thursday — represent 75 percent of the wolf season quota for most of the southern half of the state.

That means only three wolves can be harvested in the rest of the region — significantly reducing the potential to reduce livestock attacks.

State wildlife officials indicated they were surprised by how many wolves had been killed near Yellowstone in such a short time.

“We’re learning things every day,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks director Joe Maurier. “We were always a bit unsure about the level of hunter success we’d see in the remote, early season backcountry areas.”

The suspension will be lifted Oct. 25, the same date the general wolf hunting season is scheduled to open.

The statewide wolf quota allows hunters in Montana to take 75 of the predators this fall and winter. That’s about 15 percent of the state’s 500 wolves.

Idaho has set a quota of 200 of its 850 wolves. That’s 26 percent of the state’s population.

Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus

Rich Landers

Rich Landers

More Outdoors Columns »
More Outdoors Blog Posts »

Most recent column

Landers: Huckleberry season has pickers bursting with excitement

The 2000 Idaho Legislature declared huckleberries the state fruit. But like potatoes, Washington has its share of the delicious purple berries prized for pies, pancakes, muffins, ice cream, jam, wine and just about anything else that needs a touch of tart sweetness. The huckleberry season …

Recent blog posts

Big-game hunting films coming to The Bing

HUNTING -- The Hunting Film Tour is coming to Spokane on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at the Bing Crosby Theater. The collection of nine high-quality hunting films has been edited into ...

Outdoors Calendar

Submit Your Event »

Outdoors Photography

More SR Photo Galleries »
More Reader Photos »





Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
(800) 338-8801
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801