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Big Game Montana

Montana FWP Approves Wolf Hunt Season & Quotas

by Ben OBrien   |  July 14th, 2011 8

It’s not taking long for wolf-populated states to get their seasons/quotas in order. Idaho recently released their wolf hunting and trapping proposals with a finalized plan coming in early August. Now Montana has joined the fray with its approved wolf hunt season information for 2011.

Hunters will be able to pursue wolves on 14 different wildlife management units (WMUs) with an overall harvest quota of 220 wolves. The WMU’s sit generally in the western portion of the state with a new WMU being added in the Bitterroot Valley where wolves are having a significant impact on the elk population.

“The approved hunting season is very similar to the one considered last year,” said Ken McDonald, FWP’s chief of wildlife. “It’s based on wildlife science and we believe it’s properly balanced. Our management objective is very clear: we must maintain a viable and connected wolf population as we aim to reduce impacts on Montana’s wildlife and livestock. With the ability to manage wolves as we do all other wildlife in Montana we’re confident we can meet those expectations.”

72 wolves were taken in 2009, Montana’s first and only regulated wolf-hunting season, which fell three short of the established quota. McDonald hopes their new plan will be effective reducing the population.

“We learned from the 2009 hunt that there was a need to be more surgical in directing the wolf harvest toward areas where elk, deer and livestock depredations are an issue,” McDonald explained. “So we made adjustments and developed smaller-sized wolf management units each with their own quota.”

If hunters are successful in harvesting 220 wolves, it would reduce the Montana wolf population by 25 percent for a total of 425 wolves.

“As wildlife managers, we have an exceptional Montana-based wolf conservation and management plan to guide us and we’re continuing to learn from practical experience,” McDonald said. “We’ll learn more this season and we’ll apply what we learn to ensure that Montana maintains a balance among all wildlife, their habitats and the people who live, work, and recreate here.”

The congressional measure passed this spring that removed gray wolves from the list of endangered species in Montana, Idaho, and parts Oregon, Washington and Utah was challenged in federal district court in Missoula in May. A final court ruling hasn’t been issued.

Wolf Management Units & Quotas

  • Northwestern and central Montana have nine WMUs with a total quota of 123 wolves Western Montana has two WMUs with a total quota of 54 wolves
  • And there are three WMUs in the southwestern portion of the state with a total quota of 43 wolves.
  • Two of Montana’s 14 WMUs—WMU 400 and 390 respectively—stretch across the northeastern and southeastern portions of the state to the North Dakota border.

Wolf Hunting Season Dates/Fees

  • Wolf hunting seasons correspond to Montana’s early backcountry big game hunting season, which runs Sept. 3—14 for archery and Sept. 15—Nov. 27 for rifle hunting; and the big game archery and general rifle seasons set for Sept. 3—Oct. 16 and Oct. 22—Nov. 27 respectively.
  • The wolf hunting season in some areas could run through Dec. 31 if quotas are not reached.
  • Hunting licenses cost $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. License sales should begin in August.
  • Taro Sakita

    "If hunters are successful in harvesting 220 wolves, it would reduce the Montana wolf population by 25 percent for a total of 425 wolves."

    Wouldn't that be closer to 34%?

    • applepickers

      Montana has game people running the show like most other states,who have no idea what they are doing.

  • Ron

    I would love to have a life size mount of a wolf in my house. Or a nice rug of one to wipe my feet on as I come in the door.

  • Rory S

    I've always wanted just one, for a full body mount.

    My first elk hunting trip to Montana, in 2007, just outside Yellowstone, revealed wolf tracks on top of almost evey elk track I found in the snow. The host I stayed with, along with research / game counts, indicate that elk and mule deer numbers had dropped dramatically, since the introduction of wolves. I don't think wolves should be persecuted, but any goof (hunter or non-hunter) knows they need to be controlled. You don't have to be a biologist to recognize the fact.

    If you don't have "game people" (biologists, I ass / u / me)running the program, who should run it?


  • duke

    Once again the non resident pays dearly for a tag to hunt in Mt.

    • Ron

      Yea, for a wild dog, none the less. Seems the fish and game people turn yet another problem THEY created into a money making benefit for them. They knew that this would in time create another hunting season to fund the next program. Where I live it's DNR. ( Do Nothing Right ).

      • applepickers

        It is done in every state.

  • hpwatchman

    If you don't live there you should pay more. Life isn't easy there and most people that put up with it(low wages, really long winters,driving 60+ miles to bigger towns for groceries,etc.) are there to enjoy what it has to offer.If you want to hunt Montana cheap, then move there. I would bet most won't because they can't handle it. I lived there 7 years and would still if circumstances were different.

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