Meeting on Proposed Wolf Season May 22 in Bozeman, Montana

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Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will host a public meeting in Bozeman on Tuesday, May 22 to share information and answer questions on the proposed 2012-13 wolf hunting and trapping season. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn-Bozeman (5 East Baxter Lane).

The proposed 2012-13 general wolf hunting season would run from September 1 to February 28, 2013, with trapping allowed from Dec. 15 to the end of the general wolf season (trapping and hunting of wolves is provided for in Montana’s wolf conservation and management plan).

Under the proposed 2012-2013 wolf season, there would be no statewide quota, but quotas would be established in two areas near Glacier and Yellowstone national parks.

“With a healthy wolf population we can offer additional opportunities to harvest a wolf while comfortably maintaining the base population and genetic diversity that is important to the long term health and management of the species,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife bureau chief in Helena.

“We’re proposing a season that aims to get us closer to a post-season population count of 425 wolves as stated in 2011,” McDonald said. “This number only represents an annual target for the 2012 hunting season. The 2012 season is designed to help Montana meet management objectives that include reduced impacts to livestock and ungulate populations while maintaining a viable wolf population.”

Features of last year’s hunt that would remain in place include mandatory harvest reporting within 24 hours, and the FWP Commission would have the authority to close the season in any wolf hunting unit or portion of a wolf hunting unit if necessary to prevent overharvest. In addition to reported harvest, criteria used to assess any potential closures would include last year’s harvest, harvest in adjacent units, rate of harvest, amount of open season remaining and population modeling predictions.

Trappers would be required to take a mandatory trapper orientation and to conduct mandatory trap-checks. Snares would not be allowed.

The proposal includes potential adjustments to bag limits and electronic calling if statutory adjustments are made in the 2013 legislature.

Montana’s 2011 wolf season included a statewide hunting-only quota of 220 wolves aimed at reducing the minimum population to about 425 wolves. Hunters harvested 166 wolves last season.

The public is encouraged to read the complete wolf hunting season proposal and submit public comments online. To comment, and to find more details on the proposed changes, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov. Click “Hunting.”

The public may also comment in writing through June 25 to: FWP – Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment; P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620-0701. For questions, call the FWP Wildlife Bureau at 406-444-2612.