Montana wildlife officials propose extending wolf hunting


MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are proposing extending the wolf hunting and trapping seasons in northwestern Montana.

Officials are also proposing to increase the individual limit from five wolves to 10, the Missoulian reported.

The agency took public comment on the proposal to lengthen the hunting season by six weeks, starting on Aug. 15 rather than Sept. 15, and ending March 31 instead of March 15.

The trapping season would end on March 15 instead of Feb. 28 under the proposal that would affect Region One, which covers Lincoln, Flathead, Sanders and Lake counties.

The agency heard from a substantial number of people attending public hearings who asked for additional opportunities to hunt wolves, Neil Anderson, the agency’s regional wildlife manager, said in a statement Wednesday.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation also supports expanded seasons and a larger take, said Blake Heming, the foundation’s chief conservation officer.

Those who support increased hunting opportunities and limits say they are concerned about wolves preying on deer and elk.

Sarah McMillan, conservation director with WildEarth Guardians in Missoula, said the group opposes the hunting of wolves and all trapping and argues increasing the opportunity or take “will result in more inhumane and pointless killing of wolves.”

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will hear a presentation on the proposed rules next Thursday in Helena and it plans to recommend extending the public comment period through March 16. Commissioners would vote on the proposed rules in June.