Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Hearing set on wolf hunts

by Hagadone News Network & Jim Mann
| September 1, 2009 12:00 AM

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula has granted a request for a hearing to consider a preliminary injunction that would halt pending wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho.

Wolf permits went on sale Monday in Idaho, which has set a quota for hunters to kill 220 wolves in a fall season that starts Sept. 1.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks plans to start selling permits Aug. 31 with a statewide quota of 75 wolves during a season that starts Sept. 15.

In Montana, the permits will cost $19 for residents or $350 for nonresidents.

That is, if the hunts are allowed to proceed.

Last year, Molloy issued an injunction that stopped similar hunts approved by both states and he later ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review a decision to remove wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The service did just that, and the Obama administration delisted wolves in Montana and Idaho earlier this year. But this year’s delisting excluded Wyoming, a difference that likely will figure prominently in the arguments of a dozen environmental and animal rights organizations that are seeking another injunction.

The states of Montana and Idaho are among nine parties that have formally intervened in the case on behalf of the federal government’s delisting decision.

The three-hour hearing on a motion for preliminary injunction begins at 9 a.m. on Aug. 31 – coincidentally, the same day Montana permits go on sale – in Molloy’s Missoula court.

Between Montana and Idaho, the hunts potentially could remove 295 wolves from the combined population of about 1,350 wolves.

Montana wolf hunting would be divided into three districts.

One district, covering the northern tier of the state including northwestern Montana, has a quota of 41 wolves, with a subquota of two wolves in the North Fork of the Flathead River.

In the second district, a patch of southwestern Montana from Missoula south through the Bitterroot and Upper Big Hole valleys, the wolf harvest quota is 22.

In the third wolf-hunting district, which extends across southern Montana east of Dillon, the wolf quota is 12.

The wolf-hunting season runs from Sept. 15 to Nov. 29 in early backcountry deer and elk hunting districts and from Oct. 25 to Nov. 29 statewide. If certain quotas aren’t met, the wolf-hunting season could be extended until Dec. 31 in some areas.

(Jim Mann is a reporter for the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell).

Licenses available Aug. 31

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will offer hunting licenses for the state’s first regulated wolf season on Aug. 31.

Officials recently set the statewide harvest quota at 75 wolves for hunting seasons that are set to open Sept. 15 in Montana’s select backcountry, or wilderness areas.

Licenses will be valid within three specifically defined wolf management units. Hunters must obtain permission to hunt on private lands.

Wolf licenses can be purchased online at , or from any FWP regional office or license provider.

Hunters must have, or purchase, a valid 2009 conservation license. Wolf hunting licenses are $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. An access fee may also apply.