PREDATORS– Hunters will be able to shoot up to 220 gray wolves in Montana this fall under rules adopted recently.
The hunt is scheduled to begin in early September and is expected to reduce the predator’s Montana population by about 25 percent to 425 wolves.
Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission will consider wolf hunting and trapping seasons during its July 27-28 meeting in Salmon.
Government biologists declared the species recovered from near-extermination in the Northern Rockies a decade ago. Yet they were kept on the endangered list by a series of lawsuits from environmental groups and animal rights activists, leading western lawmakers to insert a provision in the budget bill that forced the animals off the list — the first time that had happened since the Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission Chairman Bob Ream told the Associated Press that he expected the state’s quota decision to draw criticism. However, he added that there was no chance of the population being decimated as some fear.
“We are making the best, science-based decision that we can,” said Ream, a retired biologist who studied wolves as a University of Montana professor. “Wolves are here to stay.”