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Adult gray wolf photo.

Recommended Wolf Plan Highlights

AUGUST 21, 2003

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks provided these highlights from the recommended Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan:

Wolf Conservation and Management

  • Establishes an incremental approach to wolf management and control based on the presence of 15 breeding pairs of wolves
  • Establishes an active public outreach program to provide information, technical assistance and open lines of communication
  • Seeks to manage wolves in a manner similar to the way Montana manages mountain lions and black bears, based on habitat requirements and public acceptance
  • Provides the federally expected assurances that Montana can maintain more than 10 breeding pairs
  • Sets a benchmark of 15 breeding pairs to allow managers more latitude and greater confidence that local decisions to manage a wolf pack to resolve a conflict won't set the state back to the brink of endangering the wolf population
  • Offers FWP flexibility to manage and adjust wolf numbers and distribution
  • Allows for a regulated harvest of wolves as a wildlife management tool when the population reaches a level that is biologically sustainable
  • Assures that Montana provides wolf-travel links between Wyoming, Idaho and Canada
  • Provides mechanisms for interagency and interstate cooperation


  • Full implementation of the $913,000 to $954,000 plan is contingent on adequate funding
  • Plan would be funded through a combination of federal funds, state funds and supplemental private sources
  • No FWP or matching federal monies, or State of Montana general funds are to be used for compensation for livestock losses


  • Integrates management of wolves, deer, elk, moose and other wildlife;
  • Increases prey monitoring in areas wolves inhabit
  • Adjusts hunter opportunity for predators and prey where appropriate and where necessary

Landowners and Stockgrowers

  • Allows for defense of property from wolves attacking, killing, or threatening to kill livestock, including herding and guarding animals, in a manner similar to other large predators under state management
  • Seeks cooperative agreements among state and federal authorities to rapidly address wolf-livestock conflicts and control of wolves involved in depredation incidents;
  • Directs FWP to provide active assistance to landowners to reduce the risk of livestock losses
  • Directs State of Montana to develop, in cooperation with livestock producers and private groups, an entity to administer and fund a compensation program for damages caused by wolves.

Human Safety

  • Human safety is protected by discouraging and removing wolves that become habituated to humans and allowing lethal take to defend human life.