Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Montana officials eye wolf quota near Yellowstone

October 19, 2009, 12:12 pm
Wildlife officials in Montana will consider changes to the state's inaugural wolf hunt after hunters killed nine of the predators in just three weeks along the border of Yellowstone National Park.

More than 1,300 gray wolves were removed from the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana this spring following a costly federal restoration effort.

Hunting has been promoted as a way to keep the population of the fast-breeding species in check and reduce wolf attacks on livestock. At least 48 wolves have been killed since Sept. 1 by hunters in the two states.

However, all but two of the 11 killed in Montana came from a small portion of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, along the northern border of Yellowstone. Four of those wolves were from Yellowstone's Cottonwood Pack, including the group's breeding female.

Concerned about the heavily concentrated killing, state wildlife commissioners suspended hunting last week in the area.

Today, commissioners will consider a range of additional responses, from raising or reallocating the state's seasonal quota of 75 wolves to shutting down the hunting season altogether in some areas.