Montana saw the highest number of wolves bagged since its first regulated season in 2009. According to the Flathead Beacon, the recently concluded 2012 season was the first to be extended to trappers as well, who accounted for 91 of the 219 wolves harvested. Hunters reported shooting 128.
“Certainly it’s a step in the right direction,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) spokesperson Ron Aashim. He said the department plans to release an updated wolf population report sometime in March. Scientists estimate there to be over 1,774 wolves in the Rocky Mountain Region and around 650 in Montana alone by the end of last season.
Gray wolves had nearly disappeared from the western United States by the 1930s and were brought back from the brink by organizations like the National Wildlife Federation. According to the FWP, the gray wolf returned to Montana with only six packs in 1995. The proposed recovery program was not without objections, especially from ranchers and hunters who feared the wolves would take a toll on livestock and wild game.
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