Monday, August 24, 2009
Montana's wolf hunting licenses will go on sale Aug. 31, but hunters could get a refund if a lawsuit succeeds in placing the gray wolf back on the federal endangered species list.
"Montana's wolf hunting season is set and will certainly be well managed under the state's federally approved wolf conservation and management plan," said Joe Maurier, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Helena. "We're confident the decision to delist the wolf is based on solid wildlife science, but if the federal court disagrees, a refund process is in place that we believe is fair should the hunt be stopped."
Hunters can purchase a wolf license online at fwp.mt.gov, or from any FWP license provider. Montana's wolf hunting licenses are $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents.
Montana's wolf hunting season is set to open Sept. 15 in early backcountry hunting districts. A general wolf hunting season is set to run from Oct. 25–Nov. 29. If certain quotas aren't met, however, the wolf hunting season could be extended to run Dec. 1-31. The total harvest quota is 75 wolves across three wolf management units.
Maurier said if Montana's wolf hunting season is blocked, fees will be automatically refunded in the following manner:
- Full refund—if cancelled between Aug. 31 and Sept. 15, due to having no opportunity to hunt.
- Eighty percent refund—if cancelled between Sept. 15 and Oct. 25, due to having a limited opportunity to hunt.
- No refund—if cancelled after Oct. 26, due to the general season being underway, which is consistent with existing hunting license refund policies.
- No refund—to a hunter who harvests a wolf.
- No refund—regardless of the date of cancellation, if the statewide wolf-harvest quota has been reached.
Maurier stressed that FWP is well prepared for the coming federal court proceedings in Missoula and will oppose any preliminary injunction to reinstate a federal Endangered Species Act listing for gray wolves.