HOWL Colorado

Montana ends hunt near Yellowstone, state-wide quota stays unchanged

HOWLColorado : News A victory, albeit a small one, after Montana officials shut down the wolf hunting today, in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness, after acknowledging an error in judgement.

Only a couple of days ago, Montana Wildlife, Fish and Parks officials acknowledged that the hunt had “missed the mark” when 9 wolves were shot in only three weeks near the borders of Yellowstone National Park.

While 9 seems small in comparison to the 75 wolf quota, which Montana has NOT reduced, or removed, it is the nature of how the kills are happening which caused a quick change from Montana officials.

A breeding female, and a number of wolves from a pack popular with tourists, were victims of hunters who had figured out that the border of Yellowstone National Park offered little cover for the wolves, making them easy targets, compared to wolves in more secluded, wooded locations.

Amazingly some argued for an increase in the quota as a response, while others tried to get the quota reduced. The vote was unanimous to stop the hunting near Yellowstone, and the decision effectively side-stepped the quota issue by making no changes.

The portion of the state effected is now only three short of its 12 wolf quota. This quota could easily be exceeded when Montana starts general wolf hunting in two weeks. It is unclear what Montana officials will do in this situation, but wildlife commission chairman Shane Colton said they are “not concerned” and believe the wolf population can handle it if the quota is exceeded.

With only 550 wolves total in Montana, the 75 kill quota is about 15% of the total population. This makes Montana the moderate state which is allowing wolf hunting this year. Idaho’s quota is 26%, or 220 wolves.

There are still hopes that the legal challenges against the delisting of the wolves will succeed after the judge who refused to place an injunction on Idaho and Montana did agree that the delisting may have been illegal.

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