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2024 Montana Primary elections

Wildlife Officials To Hold Public Comment On New Wolf Population Laws

Gray wolf.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Grey Wolf (Photo courtesy of United States Fish and Wildlife Service) )

State wildlife officials Thursday took the first steps towards deciding how aggressively hunters will target Montana’s wolf population next season.

In lieu of choosing a specific plan for wolf hunting, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission put forward a suite of options offered by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Legislation passed this year mandated a reduction of the state’s wolf population. 

The choices now up for public comment range from a limited option that doesn't allow night hunting, trap baiting or an extended season, to an aggressive option that utilizes all of those newly legalized mechanisms. All options allow neck snaring, but only on private land. 

Two people, including Republican Representative Paul Fielder from Thompson Falls, spoke in favor of reducing wolf numbers during the commission meeting Thursday. He sponsored some of the legislation aimed at reducing wolf populations that passed this year. He said FWP’s proposals don’t go far enough, and that they “fail to meet the legislative intent.”

About 20 people spoke in opposition to the options proposed to shrink the wolf population, including Andrea Zaccardi of the Center for Biological Diversity

“I ask Fish, Wildlife and Parks to exercise restraint in implementing the new legislation,” she said.

Public comment runs from June 26 to July 26, and one public meeting will be held on July 30. The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet to finalize next season’s wolf hunt in August.

Nick Mott is a reporter and podcast producer based in Livingston, Montana.
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