Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will host a public open house meeting in Great Falls, June 2, to discuss 2010 wolf hunting season proposals. The meeting will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the FWP Region 4 headquarters, 4600 Giant Springs.
The meeting is one of seven scheduled for the same night throughout the state. The other meetings, all from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 2, are at:
· Bozeman—Holiday Inn; 5 E. Baxter Lane
· Glasgow—Valley County Court House; 501 Court Square
· Billings—FWP Headquarters; 2300 Lake Elmo Drive
· Kalispell—FWP Headquarters; 490 N. Meridian Rd.
· Miles City—FWP Headquarters; 352 I-94 Business Loop
· Missoula—Double Tree Hotel Missoula Edgewater; 100 Madison
The FWP Commission recently approved quota alternatives of 153, 186 or 216 wolves in the proposed 14 different wolf management units. Sub-quota areas are also being considered to limit harvest during early season backcountry hunts and in an area directly north of Yellowstone National Park.
Also proposed this year is a wolf archery season for all WMUs that would open Sept. 4 and run through Oct. 17, the same time as Montana’s deer, elk, lion, and black bear archery seasons. Hunting would close when quotas are met, or by Dec. 31.
Last year, Montana’s first ever wolf harvest quota was 75 wolves across three WMUs. Officials estimate that at least 524 wolves in 101 verified packs and 37 breeding pairs inhabited the state at the end of 2009. The Montana wolf population is predicted to decrease under each of the quota alternatives currently being considered by the FWP Commission.
Public comment on the 2010 wolf season proposals are due by 5 p.m. on June 14. Final quotas and seasons will be adopted by the FWP Commission on July 8. Send comments via FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov . Click “For Hunters.” Or mail to FWP Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.
License sales for the 2010 wolf season are scheduled to begin in early August. Hunting licenses will cost $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. Officials caution, however, that the wolf hunting season could be blocked by groups that recently sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent wolf delisting. Such legal challenges prevented wolf delisting and a hunting season in 2008 and could affect the wolf hunt this year. FWP has joined the USFWS’s defense of the delisting decision. Court arguments are set for June 15 in Missoula.