Proposed wolf season extension draws mixed reactions


MISSOULA, Mont. - Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are looking at extending the wolf hunting season in order to increase the harvest of the animals. Last year's rifle season lasted from October 15 to February 15, and the new season may be from September 15 to March 31.

The agency is also looking at letting hunters and trappers harvest up to five wolves. This past season, they were only able to take one each.

FWP staff say the goal is to keep a balanced ecosystem by controlling populations.

"We need to reduce wolf numbers and the most effective way to do that is use hunting and trapping and to involve our folks," said FWP Information Officer Vivaca Crowser.

However, some opponents of the possible changes are speaking out, saying wolf numbers are right where they need to be.

"I don't think it's a good idea at all. I think that wolves have just started to recover in the Northern Rockies and just, the [wolves are at] a healthy population at this point," said Missoula resident Tommy Peterson.

FWP commissioners will discuss the proposal in Helena on May 9.

Wildlife workers say there are at least 625 wolves in 147 packs in the state, as of the end of 2012.

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