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Wolf harvest on track to exceed last year

By Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor, wwadley@keci.com
Published On: Nov 05 2013 06:50:57 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 05 2013 08:02:39 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Hunting season is off to a slow start for whitetail and mule deer, but for wolves it's a different story.

We checked the FWP harvest numbers and learned hunters have bagged 60 wolves throughout the state this season.

Last year at this time, hunters had bagged 45 wolves, and the entire harvest totaled 226 wolves.

FWP biologists tell us the goal is to achieve a larger harvest this year, and FWP officials have lengthened the wolf hunt season.

We're told one area of focus is on the Idaho-Montana state line, west of Missoula, where there's a high number of wolf conflicts.

"We're still at a spot in most places across the state where we want to moderate wolf numbers,” said FWP Spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser. “Particularly, what we're looking at is limiting the impact to ungulates -- deer and elk -- and moderating that so we can preserve opportunity or increase it in some places where it's been lost."

We're told FWP doesn't have a target number for the wolf harvest this year, but officials say FWP commissioners can close hunting in any region that the harvest is deemed adequate.