Archer kills first wolf of Montana hunt; reports of 2nd kill false

2011-09-08T06:30:00Z 2011-09-08T07:05:56Z Archer kills first wolf of Montana hunt; reports of 2nd kill falseBy TRISTAN SCOTT of the Missoulian missoulian.com
September 08, 2011 6:30 am  • 

A lone gray wolf has been harvested in Montana in the days since archery season opened Saturday, despite an inaccurate report listing a second wolf killed.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said a male wolf was killed by an archer from Billings on Saturday. The wolf was killed in Management Unit 390, on Fiddler Creek in Stillwater County, south of Absarokee.

A report of a second female wolf supposedly killed in Management Unit 101 west of Kalispell is inaccurate, Aasheim said. The misinformation was broadcast accidentally on the FWP's website during a training drill, he said. The error has since been corrected.

"That information was live for some time, but it was a mistake made during a practice drill," he said. "Only one wolf has been killed as of Wednesday."

FWP Region 1 spokesman John Fraley confirmed that no wolves were killed in Management Unit 101 near Kalispell, where the harvest quota remains set at three.

This year's hunt is due to an unprecedented move by Congress, which this spring removed wolves from the endangered species list in Montana, Idaho and parts of Utah, Washington and Oregon.

In response to the hunt, FWP created an online database and interactive map that lists the wolf quota in each district, as well as the number of wolves killed. The website is updated regularly, Aasheim said.

Hunters may kill 220 wolves this hunting season, compared with 75 wolves when the first hunt occurred in 2009. No hunt was held last season.

The hunt is expected to reduce Montana's wolf population by about 25 percent, down to about 425 wolves, according to state wildlife commissioners.

The archery season opened Saturday, while the early backcountry season for hunting wolves with rifles begins Sept. 15. The general season begins Oct. 22.

If a wolf is harvested, hunters must report the kill within 12 hours so the state can keep tabs on quotas; once quotas are met, districts will be immediately closed.

To report the harvest of a wolf, call the harvest reporting hotline at 1-877-FWP-WILD (1-877-397-9453).

To obtain current harvest information, call 1-800-385-7826, or keep track of the number of wolves harvested using FWP's interactive map online at fwp.mt.gov/hunting/planahunt/huntingGuides/wolf/default.html.

Reporter Tristan Scott can be reached at (406) 730-1067 or at tscott@missoulian.com

 

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