For the 2013-14 wolf seasons, hunters will have the opportunity to pursue wolves throughout Montana beginning Sept. 7 for archery hunting, Sept. 15 for the general rifle season and Dec. 15 for trapping. Here's a rundown on the upcoming seasons recently approved by Montana's Fish & Wildlife Commission.
2013-14 Wolf Season Basics
• Wolf Hunting and Trapping Licenses—Wolf hunting licenses cost $19 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. License sales should begin by Aug. 5. Montana trapping licenses are currently on sale for $20 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. New prospective wolf trappers must attend a mandatory wolf-trapping certification class to use a Montana trapping license to trap wolves. Trappers who successfully completed a wolf trapping certification class in Montana or Idaho in the past do not need to retake one this year. New prospective trappers can sign-up for classes on FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov. Click "Wolf Trapping Certification" for current and soon to be posted class schedules.
• Wolf Hunting Season Dates—Hunters will have the opportunity to pursue wolves throughout Montana beginning Sept. 7 for archery hunting, and Sept. 15 for the general rifle season. The archery only season will close Sept. 14 and the general season will end March 15, 2014.
• Wolf Trapping Season Dates—Montana's wolf trapping season will run Dec. 15 through Feb. 28, 2014. New prospective wolf trappers must attend a mandatory wolf-trapping certification class to use a Montana trapping license to trap wolves. Trappers who successfully completed a wolf trapping certification class in Montana or Idaho in the past do not need to retake the course.
• Wolf Management Units & Quotas—Montana's wolf management units are largely built upon Montana's elk and deer hunting districts. There is no statewide hunting harvest or trapping quota but each wolf harvest must be reported. There is, however, a quota of two wolves in Wolf Management Unit 110 near Glacier National Park; and four wolves in WMU 313 and three wolves in WMU 316, which border Yellowstone National Park. Additionally, hunters and trappers are limited to taking only one wolf per person in WMUs 110, 313 and 316. FWP urges hunters to avoid harvesting wolves with radio collars that provide researchers and managers with important scientific information.
• Wolf Hunting and Trapping Harvest Limits—The combined maximum hunting and trapping bag limit is five wolves per person. A hunter can purchase up to five wolf hunting licenses but can harvest only one wolf with each license. The use of electronic calls by wolf hunters is allowed. Trapping is authorized with a valid trapping license upon completion of mandatory wolf-trapping certification. A trapping license is required for trapping wolves and trappers can take five wolves with the license. Snares and conibear traps are prohibited for trapping wolves.
• Special Wolf Trapping Regulations—Trappers must check their traps every 48 hours and immediately report any unintended animal caught in a trap, including domestic animals. To avoid unintended captures, wolf-trap pan tension must be at least 10 pounds in most areas in Montana. In addition, while wolf traps must be set back 1,000 feet from trailheads and 150 feet from roads, the commission will consider in August a new measure that requires additional setbacks along more than 20 specific roads and trails popular among hikers and other recreationists in western Montana. If approved, the locations will be posted on FWP's website.
• Wolf Hunting and Trapping Harvest Reporting—A wolf harvest must be reported to FWP within 24 hours by calling 1-877-397-945 or 406-248-2337. Successful hunters in backcountry areas are allowed to report wolf harvests within 24 hours of reaching a trailhead.
Montana's Wolf Population
• Montana wolf specialists counted 625 wolves, in 147 verified packs, and 37 breeding pairs in the state at the end of 2012. The count dropped about four percent from the previous year and marked the first time since 2004 that the minimum count declined.
• The 2012 count, however, doesn't reflect the 95 wolves taken by hunters and trappers between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28 of this year.
• Last season the total hunting and trapping harvest was of 225 wolves. Hunters took 128 wolves and trappers 97.
• Delisting allows Montana to manage wolves in a manner similar to how bears, mountain lions and other wildlife species are managed, guided completely by state management plans and laws.
• In response to public comment, the commission once again directed FWP to conduct a review of the overall harvest prior to the opening of the trapping season to determine if season adjustments are needed. FWP and the Fish & Wildlife Commission can close the wolf season in any wolf management unit at anytime.
• To learn more about Montana’s wolf population, visit FWP online at fwp.mt.gov. Click "For Hunters" then "Montana Wolves".