Montana increases bag limit for next wolf hunt

2013-07-11T07:00:00Z 2014-10-19T08:08:45Z Montana increases bag limit for next wolf huntBy EVE BYRON Independent Record
July 11, 2013 7:00 am  • 

HELENA – Hunters and trappers will be able to use electronic calls and take up to five wolves in most areas of Montana during the 2013-14 season, which will be the longest and most liberal season held so far in the Treasure State.

Yet on Wednesday, the Fish and Wildlife Commission also pulled back on a couple of proposed changes to what it put forth earlier this year, including limiting hunters and trappers to one wolf per person taken just outside of Yellowstone National Park’s northern boundary, and allowing only a total of seven wolves to be harvested in that area.

In addition, the commission shortened the wolf rifle hunting season proposal by two weeks – initially, the season was slated to run this year from Sept. 15 to March 31, 2014 – based on public comments regarding pregnant or lactating females. The wolf hunting season will now end March 15, 2014; that’s still longer than last year’s Feb. 28 season end.

Trapping is slated to take place Dec. 15 through Feb. 28, 2014, which his the same as last year.

The wolf archery season is Sept. 7-14.

Another change this year includes a higher pan tension on wolf traps in regions 1 to 5 to minimize the take of lynx, wolverine and other non-target species.

The commission deleted the initial staff proposal to allow hunters to take wolves that were sniffing around bait set in traps, after the Fish, Wildlife and Parks department decided it was too complicated to explain in regulations, as well as being controversial.

This is the fourth wolf hunting season in Montana, and the second trapping season. Last year, 128 hunters and 97 trappers harvested wolves; they were limited to one for most of the season. Another 108 wolves were removed for livestock predation, accidents or other causes.


Some members of the audience lauded the upcoming season as “science-based” and a good compromise.

“This is a pretty reasonable proposal,” said Nick Gevock of the Montana Wildlife Federation. “Like everything, not everybody is happy and that’s what constitutes a compromise. … I think the proposal is slightly aggressive, but again, we need to trust the biologists, the agency and the commission.”

Rod Bullis added that to him, the proposal includes both fair chase and ethical hunting.

“I’ve noticed as an avid hunter … that the wolf debate has toned down and I think that’s because hunters and trappers are stepping up on that and the depredation removal has been successful,” Bullis said.

Yet others, like Marc Cooke of Wolves of the Rockies, decried the new regulations as “ethically, morally and biologically wrong,” especially when it comes to taking the wolves near Yellowstone and extending the season into the spring.

“The impacts of a poor decision made today will be felt,” he said.

Gail Richardson, a naturalist from Bozeman, added that it sounds like wolf management has turned into wolf slaughter.

“It makes me ashamed to be a Montanan,” Richardson said. “I’m appalled that Montana hasn’t created buffer zones around the park. Those are not Montana wolves, but they are the American public’s wolves. They know no boundaries.”

Others cautioned that by lowering the wolf limit near Yellowstone, FWP could inadvertently put trappers in a tough position.

“If a trapper does it right, he could end up with multiple wolves in one day,” said Paul Rossignol of Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. “You need to watch and make sure they’re OK.”

And some just wanted to prohibit trapping completely.

“I’m absolutely disgusted and appalled at the policies with which wildlife is being managed in this state, particularly by allowing the trapping of wolves in Montana,” said Anja Heister, the former executive director of Footloose Montana. “Trapping of fur-bearing animals is disgusting in itself.”


Ken McDonald, chief of the FWP Wildlife Bureau, said they received 24,576 comments on the wolf season proposals. The majority were what he called “canned comments,” which is the same sentiment with the same wording sent in by 2,000 different people.

“One thing we look at is that a comment is not a vote, but more about what are the issues and concerns brought up about the proposal,” McDonald said. “We look for common themes.”

Those included:

• Concerns that allowing one person to harvest up to five wolves near Yellowstone would hurt the park’s population.

• That harvesting wolves will have a negative-value economy because tourists no longer will be able to view them.

• People who opposed hunting, trapping or other types of harvest because of wolves’ value in the ecosystem.

• The need for more management due to livestock losses and impacts to big-game populations.

• Making sure the state retains management of wolves and treats them like other wildlife.

• That the harvest wasn’t liberal enough.

• General pros and cons of trapping.

“The comments relate back to the objectives, and there’s no consensus one way or another,” McDonald said. “We are balancing a multitude of values and comments.”

After listening to close to two hours of comments – with each person limited to two minutes – Commissioner Dan Vermillion said he’s still amazed at how wolf management remains such a hot-button topic.

“Every single year you think it will be easier … but every single year you still have good people on either side disagreeing on wolf management,” Vermillion said. “With the initial proposal that came out in May, there was a lot of pushback, especially around Yellowstone National Park. We get accused of not listening to public comment, but in this case I think we did.”

He added that the commission will revisit the wolf harvest at the its Dec. 10 meeting, and may tweak the regulations based on what’s taking place on the ground.

“I want to specifically put people on notice that at that meeting we may decide to summarily close some areas under Montana’s wildlife management plan if there are concerns for the wolf population in a district,” Vermillion said.

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(36) Comments

  1. LCHelenajr
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    LCHelenajr - July 14, 2013 4:29 pm
    Wolves do not fuel Montanas economy. They actually kill the economy. Any Wolf that comes out of YNP should be culled
  2. LCHelenajr
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    LCHelenajr - July 14, 2013 4:24 pm
    yes, What happens after the Wolves kill everything in Yellowstone?? We both know that they will kill everything off.
  3. LCHelenajr
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    LCHelenajr - July 14, 2013 4:23 pm
    Matt, you always seem to mention public land. I have a compromise for you. How about if we allow private landowners to shoot wolves on sight when they are found trespassing/????

    I personally had found a great hunting spot on public land in 2001 and had no problems finding elk. I harvested 2 cows and 2 five point bulls between 2003-2007.

    In 2008 the Wolves finally worked their way into this area and ruined it. The elk stopped coming to calls or answering during the bow season. Prior to the arrival of the Wolves you could at least get the bulls to bugle back and many times they would come in.

    I have come to the conclusion that the lower cow to calf ratio is because the Wolves are disturbing the elk rut. The elk have a hard time mating because the Wolves obviously come a running when they hear an elk bugle.

    This fall I am going to return to this are for the first time since 2009. I will be in a tree stand, have an electronic call and will gut shoot a few wolves...........
  4. LCHelenajr
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    LCHelenajr - July 14, 2013 4:11 pm
    well said. This is the reason why any other illegal introductions of a non-native species needs to be stopped immediately. The pro wolf people don't care about people and only about their precious Wolves. They are now currently treating the Wolverine as endangered and there have never been many Wolverines because they live at the very highest of elevations.
  5. sukeysafool
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    sukeysafool - July 12, 2013 2:00 pm
    Funny stuff there rajafoo. Seems from looking at your comments you don't even live here. So guess what, no one cares what you think about wolves though you do appear to be a highly educated wolf expert.
  6. rajaju
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    rajaju - July 12, 2013 11:44 am
    After taking care of that mess could you guys up there maybe quit being a burden to the rest of the states,try getting a job before hunting, and try to be self sustaining budget wise , Montana gets 2$ from the fed's for every 1$ paid in
  7. rajaju
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    rajaju - July 12, 2013 11:41 am
    Just stop talking you are making fools out of us old white males
  8. rajaju
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    rajaju - July 12, 2013 11:39 am
    Well put should be in office
  9. wolvesrock
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    wolvesrock - July 12, 2013 10:33 am
    Can you imagine someone being mad because someone wants to save a predator that was here first and was almost wiped out to near extinction because the idiots thought they were vermin? Lied to. Give me a break. The wolves are a necessary part of the ecosystem. The only thing that changed was the population explosion of humans, cattle and sheep ranches and subdivisions that don't want that pesky wildlife bothering them when that pesky wildlife brings in millions and millions and millions of tourist dollars into their states more than any other industry in these Western states. These ranchers could have used livestock guardian dogs for years but they didn't. They were encouraged to kill the wolves and get reimbursed for some. Fencing can be used. All humane ways to CO-exist with wolves. Predators will gladly stay away but we won't let them. The only lie was that some humans have a heart for the wildlife and nature. If you hate the wildlife so much move to New York City. Why live in a state where all you want to do is kill the wildlife that fuels your economy in your state? Predators have kept a balance in nature for thousands of years. We screwed that up by invading and moving in. Yes you have to make a living but if you cared about anything else you would CO-exist with wildlife.
  10. Ellowe
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    Ellowe - July 12, 2013 9:12 am
    The public hasn't turned on the flea bags. The majority of citizens in wolf hating states as well as the rest of the country, have enough intelligence to understand that the wolves belong here and want the here.

    As someone stated previously, if you don't like nature, why live in it? Move back to the burbs and the cities, then you can stop whining and making excuses for slaughtering other sentient beings that have as much right to be on this planet as you. Maybe more so.

    God didn't make his other creations, so the human animal could destroy them. Humans were supposed to be the caretakers of this planet but there's a lot all more taking and much less caring.

    If it wasn't for the corrupt politicians, pandering to special interest groups, ranchers and hunters) this atrocity wouldn't be happening, again!
  11. RPT
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    RPT - July 11, 2013 7:25 pm
    Not the first time and won't be the last... Some people HATE the truth.
  12. meadowlark85
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    meadowlark85 - July 11, 2013 6:40 pm
    Oh yea, that's right BJackson, Roger, etc.. people like Gadfly who possess intelligence, rational thought, sensitivity and ethics should beat it across state lines. After all, it's Montana, where stupidity, "hippie haters", and inbreeding seem to proudly abound these days. Just why would anyone, other than your ilk, want to stay here? Funny that thing about wolves and coyotes outsmarting must really bug you - which is why those of you who love to shoot stuff fer the f-in' fun of it..burp..hate em so much. They're smarter than you and you know it. They're better hunters too. You'd be toast with your bare hands..oh yea, except wolves rarely, if ever attack people. They have better things to do with their time..unlike the humans who love to hate them. You could respect wolves for their hunting prowess, but no...that would be too hard a task for small egos. Maybe the wolves will finally get fed up and wander east. along with the elk. and the deer. and the mountain lions. and the bears. Because people out that way appreciate predators. they have none left of their own.. and (imagine that) have learned their lesson. Here's somethin' to ponder while you're cleaning your rifle or setting your traps.. did ya ever think you spit in the face of God every time you kill a wolf that's minding his/her own business? Were you ever intrigued by wolves or catch a glimpse of their sacredness when you were a child, and not so full of hatred and fear? I'll bet at some point you knew intinctively the wolf belongs here too, and is here for a reason? Tribal people got it..for thousands of years they got it. And then we white folks came along and pretty much messed things up. For them, for the animals, for ourselves. but we still don't get it. so that little detail you don't want to see is that WE are the problem, not the wolves or elk or bear or whatever. WE've screwed up the natural cycle because we want what we's called greed. and politics, which is generally fed by the greed machine.. Most folks won't look at it this fact or admit it. we actually have the gall to get pissed off about low elk numbers while overlooking the fact many outfitters got their start when elk #'s were unnaturally high..BECAUSE there were NO wolves back then. and then we complain hoo that elk numbers are low..when the numbers are actually normal..and ranchers complain that wolves are taking advantage of the fast food chains-called-cows parked in their back 400. give me a break. That's what we do. We just pave over whatever we want and built restaurants. we do a hell of a lot more damage than our bretheran. for god's sake we need to grow up and live with the consequences of the industry we've created for our livelihoods. I've ranched. You lose livestock. It sucks and is part of the deal. we can't have it all. life doesn't work that way. aside from the bloody cruel suffering we continue to inflict on wolves (and don't tell me you're not inflicting suffering when you would never in a million years use a trap on your dog or its puppies). if not us, our children and their children will feel the consequences of this innane slaughter eventually. and it won't be good. that's just how life works.
  13. sukeysafool
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    sukeysafool - July 11, 2013 4:17 pm
    Just stop talking. Just Ms. Richie you make no sense. You just recite the same stuff over and over again and jsut because you say it so much you actually believe it. Your comment literally makes no sense. Why does it matter how many animals I have "gunned down"? Why does it matter if I have "bragged" about hunting? Hunting stories are an intrinsic part of Montana, hunting, father/son, father/daughter, husband/wife bonds etc. I have been to many place for the express purpose of gunning down animals. Its called hunting. I shoot the animals, I process them, I eat them, its called survival. So as far as your last sentence...lets see if I can decipher it. You are inferring I have killed so many animals that there are now no animals left alive any where in Montana? Ya, that makes perfect sense.
  14. richardr11
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    richardr11 - July 11, 2013 2:37 pm
    I'm talking about in Montana. The tide has already changed. You are on the losing side of things. We brought wolves back and they will be the #1 apex predator that gets to manage the elk, deer, and moose not only year round, but for many years to come.
  15. RPT
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    RPT - July 11, 2013 12:38 pm
    But even by using the most conservative measures it is estimated that today there are between 250,000 and one million wolves roaming the northern hemisphere.
    Nuff said.
  16. RPT
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    RPT - July 11, 2013 12:38 pm
    Stay tuned little lady.. The tide is changing.
  17. Sukey
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    Sukey - July 11, 2013 12:37 pm
    How many animals have you gunned down, put their heads on your wall, bragged about how many you've killed, how many places you've been to for the express purpose of gunning down animals there? The answer- a lot. There are now a million people in Montana, if we all killed as many animals as you do and have done, there would be nothing left alive to kill...
  18. richardr11
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    richardr11 - July 11, 2013 11:08 am
    Never going to happen, but you can continue dreaming. What will happen and what is happening now is wolves are filling their unlimited year round elk, deer, and moose tags and there is nothing you can do about it.
  19. Rez Kid
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    Rez Kid - July 11, 2013 10:54 am
    I'm sure all the wolf hugging organizations have their lawyers busy getting ready to file lawsuits. I went to several wolf meetings prior to the introduction in the 90's. At EVERY meeting we were told ALL they wanted was to sustain a minimum of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves in each of the states of MT, ID, and WY. And that any numbers above that could be harvested. We were lied to BIG TIME. They just used those numbers to get their foot in the door, and look at what we have now. I'm from the government and I'm here to help you (lie to you)!!
  20. BJG1
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    BJG1 - July 11, 2013 10:50 am
    How about MT limiting the amount of children you can have on the WIC program, especially when your "boyfriends" and daddy's of all these kids sneak out the back door without paying one cent of child support. Maybe MT should have a law that you can't hunt unless your up-to--date on your child support payments or you have a job, or you pay taxes.
  21. sukeysafool
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    sukeysafool - July 11, 2013 10:18 am
    Literally laughing out loud at your blatant ignorance. Keep running your face. You rate right up there with little Richie and the rhetoric. What a clown.
  22. Sukey
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    Sukey - July 11, 2013 9:38 am
    You may not understand why people who want to kill wildlife live here? The easiest answer is usually the correct one. They live here to TRAP & KILL the WILDLIFE, to EAT the WILDLIFE, to STUFF AND HANG HEADS on their wall, to BRAG about KILLING WILDLIFE. I've met them, they frequently live in poverty in an area without a living wage, with their kids & wife going without, to KILL WILDLIFE conveniently, often, perhaps illegally. Killing, trapping, bragging about their kill is what they live for. As they get older, as their testosterone level goes down, they frequently are very ashamed of themselves. And, they should be. At best, hunting/trapping, head hanging is a "hobby" the other 94% of Americans are uneasy with. It should not be the driving force in anyone's lives.
  23. old farmer
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    old farmer - July 11, 2013 9:37 am
    Wyoming did it right from the get go. To bad our Governor didn't have the guts to stand up against the feds.
  24. RPT
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    RPT - July 11, 2013 9:00 am
    All the more reason for a 24/7 365 hunting and trapping season with no quota and a $500 to $1,000 bounty.
  25. Roger
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    Roger - July 11, 2013 6:51 am
    You don't have a clue, do you.
  26. Roger
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    Roger - July 11, 2013 6:47 am
    You're just a radical leftist Matthew, and that hurts your judgment.
  27. RPT
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    RPT - July 10, 2013 9:44 pm
    The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is the big daddy of all conservation organizations. The IUCN consists of over 1200 national and international environmental organizations dedicated to conserving biological diversity and preserving wildlands. The IUCN officially lists Grey Wolves as a species of “LEAST CONCERN”. The IUCN’s own Wolf Specialist group says that “the species does not meet, or nearly meet, any of the criteria for the threatened categories.”

    But even by using the most conservative measures it is estimated that today there are between 250,000 and one million wolves roaming the northern hemisphere. Wolves in the United States are receiving special protections not because they are endangered, but because they are the “keystone” species driving the REWILDING agenda.

  28. wolvesrock
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    wolvesrock - July 10, 2013 9:18 pm
    Too bad for the wolves. I'll never understand why people that hate wildlife live in states that have the most amazing wildlife on the planet. You could live somewhere where there are less of the annoying wildlife that you hate so much. Since all these hunters are hunting for trophies what are they bragging about? The fact that they used a horrible trap or baited the animal to make it easier to kill it and stuff the animal or put it on a wall to brag about what? That isn't hunting. It's bait, trap and kill. What happened to the old days of a kill shot and actually appreciating some of the wildlife and how the predators do that annoying thing that livestock owners and hunters don't like? Keeping a balance in nature. Livestock owners could have used livestock guardian dogs for years and we have these big tall things that you can put on your property called fencing when you live in areas that were once wild and you invaded. Yes, there is need for some hunting for the prey population that gets overpopulated because some people thought it would be a great idea to increase the numbers for predator hunting. You know. The wolves.
  29. BJackson
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    BJackson - July 10, 2013 9:11 pm
    Gadfly, get lost.
  30. BJackson
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    BJackson - July 10, 2013 9:11 pm
    Poor Mathew, Once again, you didn't get your way.
  31. elkguy
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    elkguy - July 10, 2013 9:09 pm
    Dear Mrs. Richardson, nobody asked you to be a Montanan. If you are so ashamed move on back to the left coast where you belong. We real Montanans will take care of this mess ourselves. Same goes for Marc and Anja.
  32. Run - A- Mook
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    Run - A- Mook - July 10, 2013 8:35 pm
    2015 bag limit. [{"NO LIMIT"}].
  33. Kokanee
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    Kokanee - July 10, 2013 8:31 pm
    Yeah Matt we did speak out We did find it shameful the way pro wolf controlled the actions through the courts wasting millions of dollars and thousands of animals to feed them. You do not represent me or "other public lands recreation lovers" you are just a blowhard with a penchant for taking away livelihoods through the power of the internet. Nail their hides to the wall for the travesty they have caused make them pay for all the lawsuits and loss of jobs. Your taking on way to much by the way you should retire before the mobs turn on you the way the public has turned on these fleabags.
  34. boo boo da bear
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    boo boo da bear - July 10, 2013 6:38 pm
    Thank You FWP for listening to the people who pay your wages Hunters and Trappers United to stop the insanity of protecting a single animal that has been put on a pedestal above all they are not endangered and have never been, it is only a matter of time before the fed trappers will eradicate them from Yellowstone Park.
  35. RPT
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    RPT - July 10, 2013 4:12 pm
    Nice to see them get it right every now and then.
  36. Matthew Koehler
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    Matthew Koehler - July 10, 2013 3:43 pm
    Let's See. So Montana's wolf population is estimated at 625.

    Yet, tday, MT Fish & Wildlife Commissioners increased the wolf hunting/trapping bag limit to 5 per person.

    They increased rifle season to 6 months, including across tens of millions of acres of public lands. They increased wolf-trapping season to 2 1/2 months, again including public lands. Electronic calls are allowed.

    There is no statewide quota for total kills.

    As a MT public land elk/deer hunter, I find the Commissioners actions shameful, disgusting and against the ethics of hunting I have learned. No way this is 'science-based' management, or the 'North American Wildlife Conservation Model' in action. I hope other hunters and public lands recreation lovers speak out. Thanks.
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