In Montana during the 2012-2013 season, 225 wolves were killed. In addition in 2013, 63 wolves were killed for preying (not always killing) on livestock. 18 were killed by cars or poachers. That's 306 dead wolves. Since then Montana has expanded the wolf rifle hunting season to six months, from September 15 to March 15. The bag limit has been increased to 5, silencers and electronic calling are legal. So far 6,000 licenses have been purchased at $19. each. The cost of out-of-state licenses have gone down from $250. to $50. causing a big jump in out-of-state hunters, 370 up from 55 last year.
Under that kind of "harvesting" program two hunters can kill a whole pack. Since this is trophy hunting, the biggest and the strongest wolves will be targeted. Only Yellowstone National Park can offer a safe haven but the bio-diversity of that group is threatened as they become more and more isolated by the hunting, trapping, bow-hunting surrounding the park.
Concerned with what is happening in Montana, Yellowstone National Park administrators tried to get the state to decrease the bag limit from 5 to 1 but they were unsuccessful.
Yellowstone officials say Montana plan targets park wolvesIn Yellowstone park where wolves are protected the wolf populations have gone down from a population of 174 in 2003 to 80 in 2012. Fifteen have been killed (including 7 collared wolves) while straying outside of park boundaries. One collared wolf was shot for killing a chicken. Wolves will also decline for the same reasons all wildlife will decline, from global climate change which brings severe winters and drought in summers.
BILLINGS – A proposal to relax gray wolf hunting and trapping rules in Montana got a cool reception from Yellowstone National Park administrators who said Monday the move appears to be aimed at substantially reducing the park’s population of the animals.
Wolves regularly cross from the hunting-free safe haven of Yellowstone into Montana, where wildlife officials want to drive down pack numbers in response to complaints about the predators from ranchers and big-game hunters.
Under pressure from the park and advocacy groups, Montana wildlife commissioners tried to set up a no-kill buffer zone east and west of the town of Gardiner, but a judge struck down those restrictions after ranchers and property rights advocates sued.
This is a comprehensive article by Norman Bishop and presented by Ralph Maughan. It is worth reading the whole thing.Is wolf hunting necessary?
Cariappa et al (2011) analyzed data collected at 32 sites across North America using linear and nonlinear regression and found that the evidence supported wolf population regulation by density-dependence as much as limitation by prey availability. The data suggested that wolf populations are self regulated rather than limited by prey biomass by at least a 3:1 margin.And, can hunting be overdone?
Scott Creel and Jay Rotella (2010) wrote, “Following the growth and geographic expansion of wolf (Canis lupus) populations reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995–1996, Rocky Mountain wolves were removed from the endangered species list in May 2009. Idaho and Montana immediately established hunting seasons with quotas equaling 20% of the regional wolf population. Combining hunting with predator control, 37.1% of Montana and Idaho wolves were killed in the year of delisting. [...] Finally, wolf populations declined with harvests substantially lower than the thresholds identified in current state and federal policies. These results should help to inform management of Rocky Mountain wolves.”Killing wolves is wrong
Should we control wolves? Biologist Bob Hayes offers some thoughts about controlling wolves in his 2010 book, Wolves of the Yukon. He wrote: “I spent eighteen years studying the effects of lethal wolf control on prey populations. The science clearly shows killing wolves is biologically wrong.” As I began to better understand the wolf, I developed a clear answer to my question about the effectiveness and moral validity of lethal wolf control programs.” A decade after his retirement in 2000, Hayes wrote, “I can now say the benefits of broad scale killing of wolves are far from worth it – not to moose, caribou, Dall’s sheep or people. It should never happen again.”Meantime, legislators in Montana
are demonstrating total ignorance of the public trust doctrine, wildlife ecology, conservation ethics, or anything related thereto. House Bill 27 would legalize silencers for wolf hunting. HB 31 would allow 12-year olds and up to hold five wolf licenses, allow recorded sounds and calls, and would have set a wolf population cap of 250.
Marc Cooke, president of Wolves of the Rockies, saysBasically we need to rescue wolves from politics and put their existence back into wildlife management based on science.
With 1,500-plus wolves killed in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming in the last three years by wildlife services, hunting and trapping, we are on the road to the second eradication of wolves in the Rocky Mountains. Clearly, state fish and wildlife agencies are not using the best available science. Instead they appear to be puppets of the hunting and livestock producers who have an obvious anti-wolf agenda.