Official: Wolf hunt was effective
MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 11:45 pm
An examination of Montana’s first public gray-wolf hunt showed at least nine of the animals were killed in an area prone to livestock attacks — a finding that could blunt criticism that the hunt was ineffective.
Confident state wildlife officials said they could increase the quota on the predators next year. They want to zero in on a number that would strike a balance between protecting the wolf population and stopping increasing attacks on livestock and big-game herds.
However, the hunt in Montana and a wolf season in neighboring Idaho must first pass muster with a federal judge in Missoula. About 1,350 gray wolves in the Northern Rockies were removed from the endangered list in the spring. About 300 wolves in Wyoming remain on the list.
At least nine of the 72 wolves killed were in the Big Hole Valley — site of frequent wolf attacks on livestock. Just two breeding female wolves were killed among an estimated 34 statewide.
There were about 500 wolves in Montana last year. Even with the 72 killed by hunters — and another 127 killed by wildlife control agents, poachers, ranchers and other causes — that figure was projected to grow during the last year. If that happens, it could defuse arguments that hunting is harming the broader population. Read More
While the hunt may have created quite a bit of controversy, it’s clear that the intended results were achieved. In order to have a healthy population of wolves, and to keep the livestock and human interactions to a minimum, a hunt was necessary. There seems to be too many people that think the best way to manage wildlife is to no manage them. They would rather see disease and starvation cause unnecessary suffering for these animals. It doesn’t matter if it’s wolves, mountain lions, feral horses or anything else, population management needs to occur.