No quotas, long seasons, trapping, electronic calls, 3 wolf bag limit-
Many will argue that Montana FWP will throw caution out the window for wolf hunting in 2012-13 season. After two hunts in the space of three years did not clearly reduce the Montana wolf population, it looks like the state’s wildlife commission will issue rules to try to make a big reduction in the wolf population.
The official wolf count in Montana was 653, although that snapshot in time was deceptive because it was taken in the middle of hunting season. The important figure would be the wolf population after the hunt was complete (probably in the 500s). At any rate, the goal population for now is 425.
Montana has had the usual complaints about wolves — decimation of elk herds, massive destruction of livestock, people threatened by wolves. In reality, no one has been killed, bitten, or probably even chased by a wolf in Montana (or anywhere else in the 48 states). Livestock losses to wolves in Montana are down steeply from the high in 2009 when about 95 cattle were killed statewide and about 205 sheep. By 2011, these figures had dropped to 73 cattle and just 12 sheep statewide. As far as elk go, the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission chair recently gave a public presentation telling that the Montana elk population is at an all-time historic high.
The Helena Independent Record reports on the Commission’s plans. Big Changes Proposed . . . By Eve Byron.
This proposal is now out for public comment. Hearings must be held and Montana state game laws needs to be changed by the legislature to allow previously unfair practices like electronic calls and 3 animal big game limits be allowed. The FWP Commission will make it final decision at its July 12 meeting. There will be five public meetings for taking public comments.
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To respond to the proposal
Comments must be received by 5 p.m. on June 18, better before May 10. The commissioners’ names are: Ron Moody, Bob Ream, Dan Vermillion, A.T. Stafne and Shane Colton.
Mail: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 1420 East Sixth Avenue, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701
Phone: (406) 444-2535