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Wolf hunting season in Montana features several changes

Wolf harvest seasonal update by region
Wolf Hunting Harvest grx
Posted at 7:29 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-22 00:57:50-05

MISSOULA — With almost two months remaining, this season’s wolf harvest in Montana is on par with past seasons in the state, and this season includes several changes.

After the 2021 Legislature passed laws requiring FWP to make efforts to reduce Montana’s wolf population to sustainable levels, the Fish & Wildlife Commission implemented several changes for the 2021/2022 wolf regulations.

The changes included eliminating quotas, increasing the number of wolf trapping and hunting licenses allowed per hunter, extending wolf trapping seasons, and allowing snares for trapping wolves.

While there are no quotas, the commission established harvest thresholds in each of FWP’s administrative regions, which total 450 statewide. If harvest meets any of these thresholds, the commission will convene to revisit the regulations and season structure.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) Wildlife Division Chief Ken McDonald says the commission will consider population estimate, pace of harvest, and other factors in their decision-making.

"We don't really have a quota per se. Typically a quota is you know, you can take 50, and when we hit 50, the season shuts down. We don't have that anywhere, but we have these thresholds," McDonald said.

The current overall state threshold for this season is 450 wolves, broken down by region.

Wolf harvest seasonal update by region

FWP Region 1 in northwest Montana shows 50 wolves have been tagged; the threshold there is 195. Region 2 — which covers west-central Montana — has seen 41 wolves tagged; the threshold is 116.

The Bozeman area — Region 3 — is the closest to having the threshold met. A total of 73 wolves have been harvested, nine below the threshold of 82.

Wildlife officials are tracking the method of wolf harvest. Out of the 174 wolves that have been harvested thus far in Montana, 133 were hunted, 41 were trapped, and two were snared.

174 wolves harvested, 133 hunted, 41 trapped, 2 snared

According to FWP, this season is comparable to previous harvests since 2009.

FWP has created a "wolf dashboard" with more information, including an interactive map that shows the number of wolves harvested by region and wolf management unit.

Click here to visit the FWP Wolf Hunting Page.