HELENA, Mont. -

Montana's gray wolf population declined slightly for the first time in almost a decade last year amid more aggressive efforts to curb the predator's numbers.
    
Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said Thursday that Montana had at least 625 wolves at the end of 2012. That's a 4 percent drop from 2011.
    
The decline comes after hunting quotas on the animals were lifted last year and trapping was introduced for the first time. A new state law means even fewer restrictions for next winter's wolf season.
    
Livestock owners and hunters have pushed the state to reduce wolf numbers. But advocates warn that killing too many will drive away wildlife-seeking tourists.
    
The new population estimate does not account for 95 wolves killed by hunters and trappers since Jan. 1.