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Court order changes wolf hunting season near Glacier, Yellowstone

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | November 18, 2022 7:00 AM

HELENA – On Tuesday, a District Court in Lewis and Clark County issued a temporary restraining order impacting some of Montana’s wolf hunting and trapping regulations. The changes go into effect immediately.

The order does not affect seasons in other Wildlife Management Units in Region 1 (Northwest Montana).

The changes outlined in the temporary restraining order are as follows:

  • Reinstitutes wolf management units (WMU) 110, 313, and 316 as they existed in the 2020 wolf regulations. WMU 110 borders Glacier National Park and WMUs 313 and 316 are north of Yellowstone National Park

  • Reinstitutes the quotas for WMU 110, 313, 316 as they existed in the 2020 wolf regulations, which are two wolves in WMU 110 and one wolf each in WMU 313 and 316.

Currently, one wolf has been harvested in WMU 313 and no wolves have been harvested in WMU 316 and 110. Wolf hunting and trapping in WMU 313 is now closed.

The order restricts all hunters and trappers to harvesting five wolves total per person, per season.

Prohibits the use of snares as a legal method of take for trapping wolves.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will make legal arguments in this case at a hearing scheduled for Nov. 28. The court has set the temporary restraining order to expire on Nov. 29.

“We have a healthy and stable population of wolves in Montana,” said FWP Director Hank Worsech. “We’ve proven we can manage wolves across the state and will continue to do so. We will comply with the judge’s order and look forward to the opportunity to defend good science and management strategies.”

The order was issued in response to a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order filed by conservation groups WildEarth Guardians and Project Coyote, a project of Earth Island Institute, on Nov. 10, 2022.

The order expires on Nov. 29, 2022 and a hearing is scheduled in Helena for November 28 at 1:30 p.m., which is the same day that the wolf trapping season is set to start.

“We collectively breathed a sigh of relief when we saw this order, knowing that Yellowstone’s wolves and wolves across the state will have some protections in place while we wait for their day in court,” said Lizzy Pennock, the Montana-based carnivore coexistence advocate at WildEarth Guardians. “This is a promising step in the right direction, and we will continue using all means necessary to end the senseless, politically-motivated slaughter of Montana’s beloved wolves.”