Tag Archives: wolf hunt

Montana wolf season comment period extended due to website outage

If you haven’t commented on the proposed regulations for the 2013-2014 wolf hunt, you’ve got a short extension . . .

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has extended the comment period for the proposed 2013-14 gray wolf season until Wednesday at 5 p.m.

According to Ken McDonald, FWP Wildlife Division administrator, the department’s public website has been down due to technical difficulties since midday Saturday, and the comment period had been scheduled to close Monday.

Continue reading . . .

Montana FWP commission gives tentative approval to expanded wolf hunt

The Montana FWP commission floated a proposal last week to expand the wolf hunt . . .

State wildlife commissioners are taking public comment on a proposal to lengthen the hunting season for wolves and increase the bag limit from one to five.

The Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission gave tentative approval to the plan on Thursday, putting it out for public comment before a final decision is made at a later date.

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Montana FWP wants to extend wolf hunt and kill limit

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is proposing a longer wolf hunt and higher kill limits for next season . . .

Montana wildlife commissioners may extend the hunting season for wolves and the number of predators that can be killed by a hunter or trapper.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing a rifle season from Sept. 15 to March 31. Last year, the season began Oct. 15 and ended Feb. 15, resulting in 128 wolves killed by rifle and bow hunters. Trappers took an additional 97 wolves, for a total of 225 predators killed. That is the highest number killed in Montana since federal protections for wolves were lifted for Idaho and Montana in 2011.

The agency also is proposing allowing hunters and trappers to take up to five wolves each, the Independent Record reported Wednesday.

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Wolf populations drop in Alaska and Northern Rockies

Today’s news has information on drops in the wolf population in two areas of the U.S. Both declines are attributed to hunting pressures . . .

Northern Rockies See Sharp Drop in Wolves – Aggressive gray wolf hunting and trapping took a toll in much of the Northern Rockies last year as the predator’s population saw its most significant decline since being reintroduced to the region two decades ago. Yet state and federal wildlife officials said Friday that the population remains healthy overall, despite worries among some wildlife advocates over high harvest rates. Its range is even expanding in some areas as packs take hold in new portions of eastern Washington state and Oregon. Continue reading . . .

Number of wolves in Alaska’s Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve drops by more than 50 percent – Wolves in Alaska are known to have healthy population numbers. Yet now, it turns out that Alaska’s predator control program has resulted in the number of wolves in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve to drop by more than half. The National Park service counted 80 wolves over nine packs in November 2012. This spring, though, the numbers have dropped drastically. Biologists have only been able to account for 28 to 39 wolves in six different packs–it’s the highest drop in numbers since the park service began tracking wolves 19 years ago. Continue reading . . .

Playing catch-up: Wolves, fish and water quality

Your friendly web-slinger was away on an extended road trip, so we’re playing catch-up. Here’s the first clutch of articles about significant events over the past couple of weeks . . .

Elk River poisoned by coal mining – Dr. Ric Hauer of the Flathead Lake Biological Station of the University of Montana issued a March 2, 2013 study comparing water quality in the Elk and neighbouring Flathead River Basins. Commissioned by Glacier National Park, the study found nitrogen levels at 1,000 times the background rate, sulphate levels at 40-50 times the background rate and selenium levels at 7-10 times background rate (p.2). The researchers tested above and below mines and used the pristine water quality of the nearby Flathead River to determine background levels and ascertain what aquatic life would normally be present in the Elk River were it not so polluted. Continue reading . . .

FWP: Montana’s wolf population drops 4 percent – At least 625 wolves inhabited Montana at the end of 2012, a 4 percent population drop compared to a 15 percent increase the year before, according to state wildlife managers. The minimum wolf count is the number of wolves actually verified by FWP wolf specialists. The latest population estimate came while Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks comples the federally required annual wolf conservation and management report. The report is expected to be available online by April 12. Continue reading . . .

Agency to target fish in five creeks – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will continue efforts to suppress rainbow trout and hybrid trout populations in the upper Flathead River system. Region One Supervisor Jim Satterfield signed a finding of no significant impact for the work Monday. That basically approves plans to continue removing hybrids and rainbows from the mouths and channels of Abbot, Sekokini, Rabe, Ivy and Third creeks in the main stem Flathead and North Flathead rivers. Continue reading . . .

Wolf hunt totals up in Montana, down in Idaho

It looks like the final numbers are now in for the Montana and Idaho wolf hunts. Montana, which added a trapping season this year, is up by about a third. Curiously, Idaho’s totals are down quite a bit.

Here are the stories . . .

Wolf Hunt Ends with 36 Percent Increase Over Last Season – Flathead Beacon

Idaho officials report 245 wolves killed this season, down from 379 – Missoulian

Brian Peck: Wolves and unintended consequences

Brian Peck just submitted the following excellent op-ed to the Daily Inter Lake. It should appear in the paper later this week . . .

Recently, the Montana Legislature, in its seemingly infinite lack of wisdom, passed HB 73, a measure to allow more people to kill more wolves more easily, cheaply, and in more places — even right up to the doorsteps of Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.

As the 2012-2013 wolf season nears its conclusion it’s accounted for almost 200 wolves, while kills by Wildlife Services and private citizens takes the kill number past 300. It seems to me that Montana hunters generally, and the wolf haters in the legislature specifically, may well have overlooked some unintended consequences in their unrestrained zeal for wolf slaughter.

First, is the possibility that an excessive wolf kill will provide the ammunition for a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to relist wolves as a Threatened species. Montana says it has no quota for its hunt, but with perhaps 700 wolves initially, and a stated desire for a population of 425, it seems clear that the unstated “quota” is 275 wolves — a number now exceeded.

Add to that the 2011 Idaho kill of 379 wolves (50% of its population), and the recently approved Wyoming plan that allows wolves to be killed anywhere, anytime, for any reason in 82% of the state, and you can see where the body count is headed. While this may have the hater crowd cheering, there aren’t a lot of Americans or federal courts – “activist” or otherwise – that will look favorably on this kind of overkill.

Second, the most recent figures indicate that only about 5% of the U.S. population still hunts, and even in Montana, with the highest number of hunters per capita, the number is only around 33%. So, what does that have to do with wolves?

Well, polls of Americans consistently show that while 82% support hunting for meat, that number plummets to 20% for trophy hunting, and if trapping is involved, support drops off a cliff. Clearly, wolf hunting is the very definition of Trophy Hunting, and by including trapping in the mix, Montana FWP and Montana hunters give themselves a black eye with those 292 million Americans who no longer hunt — the same Americans who control the public lands on which you and I hunt and fish.

Having hunting guaranteed in the Montana Constitution will do us little good if our irresponsible actions and attitudes toward wolves turn those millions of non-hunters into anti-hunters, who decide we can’t be trusted to responsibly and ethically hunt on federal public lands.

Third, wolves are highly social animals that hunt in family groups. There’s considerable evidence that hunting, by removing larger adult animals, tends to create a younger, less experienced population — and younger, less experienced wolves are more likely to be involved in livestock depredations. So, those who advocate ever larger wolf kills as a way to lessen livestock losses may well be causing the exact opposite result.

More than 70 years ago, hunter, conservationist, and biologist Aldo Leopold said, “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and the land. By land is meant all of the things on, over, or in the earth. Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm. The land is one organism.”

Montana hunters and legislators would do well to heed those words and consider the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Expanded wolf hunt flies through Montana legislature

The headline pretty much says it all . . .

A proposal to expand the state’s wolf hunt is being fast-tracked through the Legislature and shortly will be sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The Montana Senate on Thursday suspended its rules so it could take initial and final votes on the same day on the measure that already had overwhelmingly cleared the House. The Senate backed it 45-4.

House Bill 73 lets the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks increase the number of wolves one hunter can take, allows for electronic calls, and removes a requirement to wear hunter orange outside general deer and elk season.

The measure also prohibits the state wildlife agency from banning wolf hunts in areas around national parks. Its swift passage would allow the changes to take effect during the hunting season that’s currently under way.

Continue reading . . .

Montana FWP gives in, will allow wolf hunting near Yellowstone this season

After evaluating their legal options, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners threw up their hands and decided to let the wolf hunt continue in areas close to Yellowstone National Park through the end of this year’s hunting season . . .

Montana wildlife officials said Monday that they were abandoning their efforts to shut down gray wolf hunting and trapping just outside the gates of Yellowstone National Park, citing a recent court ruling that threatened to drag out the issue until the season was almost over.

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Wolf hunting, trapping resumes near Yellowstone Park

Less than a month ago, Montana shut down the wolf hunt in a small area near Yellowstone National Park because too many collared, research animals were being taken. Now the hunt is back on . . .

Wolf hunting and trapping can resume near Yellowstone National Park after a Montana judge on Wednesday blocked the state from shutting down the practice over concerns that too many animals used in research were being killed.

The restraining order from Judge Nels Swandal allows hunting and trapping to resume in areas east and west of the town of Gardiner in Park County.

State officials closed the gray wolf season in those areas on Dec. 10…

Continue reading . . .