Montana Wolf Hunting Season Faces Serious Threat as Conservationists File New Lawsuit

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/ Copyright Michael Cummings)

Right now it is open season in Montana for hunters looking to score a wolf. The trapping and snaring season will be starting up at the end of November. However, some local conservation groups are hoping to put a stop to all of it. Effectively ending the open season which has so far led to the harvesting of 55 wolves. Additionally, these efforts would stop the upcoming trapping and snaring seasons.

Conservationists File Suits To Halt Wolf Hunting

According to reports, the major conversationalist groups WildEarth Guardians and Project Coyote have filed a new motion that builds onto a previously filed lawsuit. These suites cite that the state of Montana is “violating the law by relying on stale and insufficient scientific data,” by authorizing the harvesting of these animals. A move that ultimately authorizes the “killing of roughly 40% of the state’s wolf population,” the lawsuits allege.

The most recent motion is asking the Montana courts to pause the current open season in order to “fully consider the merits” of the previously filed suit. The motions also state that the conservationists believe the state of Montana is allegedly “overstepping its management authority.”

The suit suggests this is being done as the state is allowing wolves to be killed near federal lands. Particularly in the Yellowstone and Glacier National Park areas.

The Majority Of The Wolves Kills In Montana Take Place In Trapping And Snaring Season

Wolf season started in September and 55 have already been killed during this hunting season. However, officials note that the majority of the wolves killed during the hunting season will meet their demise during the trapping and snaring season. Last year, hunters bagged nearly 275 wolves in Montana. 70% of these were killed after the trapping and snaring season started.

Conservationists also note that Hunters killed 19 Yellowstone wolves that wandered outside of the national park’s protected boundaries last season. These kills led to the elimination of an entire pack. The biggest slaughter of park wolves since the animals were reintroduced to the area in 1995.

“It’s legal for a trophy hunter to stand 10 feet outside of Yellowstone National Park, toss hamburgers on the ground as bait to lure wolves out of the park, and then shoot them,” notes John Horning a conversationalist with WildEarth Guardians.

Battles such as this one have been raging in the area for decades. Putting hunters and conservationists in opposite corners. Ranchers in the Mountain west tend to insist that wolves are not the big threat to livestock as they are sometimes made out to be. However, statements to the opposite effect have inspired voters to lobby for the return of wolf hunting to the area.