BILLINGS – Wolf hunting and trapping can resume near Yellowstone National Park after a Montana judge on Wednesday blocked the state from shutting down the practice.

The restraining order from Judge Nels Swandal allows hunting and trapping to resume in areas east and west of the town of Gardiner. State officials closed the gray wolf season in those areas on Dec. 10 after several wolves collared for research were killed, drawing complaints from wildlife advocates.

The closures prompted a lawsuit from sporting groups and a state lawmaker from Park County, Rep. Alan Redfield, who said the public was not given enough chance to weigh in on the closures.

Swandal said in his order that a lack of public notice prior to the December closure appeared to violate state law and the Montana Constitution. Swandal said that threatened to harm guides who depend on hunts and could significantly increase the risk of livestock predation by wolves.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said state wildlife commissioners followed proper public notice requirements before closing the areas.

“Our attorney believed we had acted within our authority,” he said.

Swandal scheduled a Jan. 14 hearing in the case.

Montana had an estimated 650 wolves at the end of 2011. Hunters have reported killing 103 of the animals this season through Wednesday, and trappers have killed at least 32.

The closures north of the park were approved on a 4-to-1 vote. Commissioner Dan Vermillion of Livingston cast the lone dissenting vote, saying there was no evidence the harvest was damaging the species long-term viability.

Park officials had said at least seven Yellowstone wolves – including five wearing tracking collars – were shot in recent months by hunters in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Also shot were four collared wolves originally from the park but now living outside it. Three more shot in the vicinity of the park had unknown origins and were not wearing collars, park officials.

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(16) comments


it is tiring to support MFWP when they continue to cow tow to the wolf huggers. Just collar more of them if you are worried about it. Its not like there is a shortage of wolves as they reproduce like mice.


finally a judge that has a brain. Time to trap and gun down these worthless flea bags.


Just a couple things...Contrary to what was reported, there was no lawsuit filed. (Press has these groups mixed up with radical wolf advocates) A temporary injunction was simply granted after a formal complaint (citing lack of proper public notice) was filed by these groups. It will be reviewed in the near future although the commision will likely not be able to stop trapping/hunting in this area for the remainder of this established wolf season. Nowww............I wonder if any complaints were filed for the same reasons about the Milk River cactus patch purchase? Ho hum..........


Ms' Richard...You keep a civil tongue in your face young lady and you’ll be allowed a seat at the adult table and the courtesy of voicing an opinion like the rest of us.
You act otherwise and you’ll be dealt with accordingly... And you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Comment deleted.

You act like a foolish little girlie-man you’ll be treated as one...Your childish rants don’t anger me they disgust me and should not be nor will they be allowed anymore.
No threat little lady .. Just a promise... As you already know most of the post you made here today have been reported as Abuse and been removed.
You have as much right as anyone else does to be here and voice your opinion.. As long as you follow the rules like the rest of us do... Break them and your opinion and post will be
reported as Abuse and be removed.


Great legal decision by the judge - wolves will continue to be trapped and shot, as they should be.

Comment deleted.

Imagine if the ranchers someday erected wolf proof fences around their land to keep wolves out. What would Wolves eat after they killed all the wild game herds off public land? That would be funny.


133 and counting...
24/7... 365 coming soon to HD near you.


Rather then responding to Ms Richards name calling rants or her encouraging others to break the law....It’s far more effective to click on the ‘Report Abuse’ option.
I’ve had several of her post removed by that method... If all of us do it.. The Missoulian will be
forced to take action and remove her posts


Exactly - all she ever does is issue ad hominem attacks - she really should be banned.


This is ridiculous. Livestock losses in those small closures are basically obsolete. What about the guides that make money by showing visitors those wolves? Everyone seems to forget them. I bet the FWP commission loves that a judge stepped in on their turf. Good luck next year when they avoid all this bullshit and close those areas right from the beginning. It would've saved a lot of time and money if they had done that this year.

I'm not against shooting wolves. I'm against shooting Yellowstone wolves that have no fear of people and have never seen livestock before in their lives. What the hell has happened to sportsmanship and fair chase???


@ wildlife"whereisyour"commonsense -

Its ridiculous that FWP Commissioners blatantly violated public policy (Section 2-3-103 of MCA) when they enacted the hunting/trapping closure on December 10th during their 'conference call' meeting which only had an "informational presentation" slated on the agenda regarding wolves. The public was not properly informed nor was public comment made available. Also, they ignored biological data from their Wildlife Management Section Chief, George Pauley, who said, "No threats, concerns, or other indications require the need for changes to the wolf hunting/trapping season... wolf packs are stable, harvest of wolves lags 18% below last year and no quotas have reached". FWP Commissioners bowed to political and emotional pressures from wolf activists INSTEAD of adhering to scientific data and policy.

The illegal closure areas are in the same region where the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd and moose populations are suffering severe population decline largely due to predation by wolves. It is FWP's goal to REDUCE wolf populations in Montana. Any needless, emotional, political closure hampers that goal and increases distrust of FWP from Montana citizens.


It funny that some of the true wolf lovers are abandoning the radicals anti-hunters (In wolf huggers clothing) .... Take a look at what Peggy Callahan (Executive Director of Wildlife Science Center) has to say! "Science appears to have left the room"!


YES! Justice has prevailed! Thank you to Montana Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife, Big Game Forever, Citizens for Balanced Use, Montana Outfitters and Guides Association and Rep. Alan Redfield. And THANK YOU Judge Nels Swandal!! Montanan's have had enough -- We will defeat the radical wolf activists and their emotional lawsuits! Montana FWP must follow their own policies ... from public comment opportunity to wolf population/predator reduction!! This is wonderful news for MONTANA!!


Montana needs to get rid of bend over backwards Ream and wolf lovers Moody or they will be giving the shaft to the hunters of Slough Creek & French's Meadow again next year! The hunting has decreased 20 fold in those areas since the first delisting law suit these radical groups got their pet judge molloy to preside over...... who thinks these groups filed three separate Wyoming law suits in order to get one of their pet judges?


Finally a little common sense in our judicial system. Thank you Mr. Swandal. Now if we could just rid our fwp comission of the bunny huggers ream and moody and replace them with people who actually care about wildlife we might be getting somewhere,,, I guess it's our turn to have a party at the Two Bit!

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