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FWP pleased with initial wolf hunt numbers

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 26 2013 05:45:40 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 26 2013 05:46:08 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

With only days left in the 2012-2013 wolf season, hunters and trappers have already killed more Montana wolves than any previous season.
     
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks adopted a more aggressive wolf policy last summer after hunters failed to kill enough wolves last year.     

Folks with FWP say they're pleased with this year's wolf hunt numbers so far.
     
In total, hunters have harvested 130 wolves while trappers have taken 91.
     
That's 221 wolves, one more than last year's quota.
     
Representatives with FWP say they wouldn't have seen close to as many harvests without trapping, which started in mid-December.
     
They also say they saw a sharp spike in kills after the governor passed measures for a more liberal hunt, close to two weeks ago.  The law allows for the use of electronic calls, a reduced wait time to hunt after purchasing a license and a $300 price cut for non-residential licenses for starters.

"We would have never reached anywhere near where we're at without having implemented, 'A', a more liberal season and 'B', trapping," says FWP spokesperson Andrea Jones.
     
Folks with FWP also say hunters are starting to get the hang of hunting for wolves.

"They've just been much more efficient.  They have been studying how to hunt wolves.  It was a steep learning curve but we certainly are noticing less opportunistic kills and what I mean by that is more people have harvested post general season," says Jones.
     
Here in region three, I learned 57 wolves were taken but for the one area in which a quota was set, it was not met.
     
Two wolves were taken in that area.  The quota is three.
     
Jones tells 18,000 licenses were sold for this year's hunt but tells me they won't know just how successful this year's hunt was until they get the population numbers for this year in 2014.
     
The last count was in 2011 with 650 wolves.