Montana Ends Wolf Hunts Outside of Yellowstone (For Now)

It’s about time but not soon enough to save the famous Yellowstone Cottonwood wolf pack, who were recently wiped out by hunter’s bullets. I posted an article yesterday about the uniqueness of Yellowstone’s wolves yet Montana decided to conduct their hunting experiment right at the door of the park. Montana should be ashamed that because of poor planning an entire wolf pack was eliminated, one who has been the focus of research within the park for years. This was a disaster waiting to happen, wolves know no boundaries, so unfortunately for this pack, they stepped outside the park long enough to be shot and killed. They died for nothing.

I had hopes Montana’s FWP would keep the backcountry closed or create a buffer zone for wolves around Yellowstone but apparently they’re planning on re-opening WSU3 on Oct. 25. They issued this statement on their website concerning Unit 3, which also encompasses the area around Yellowstone:

The unit will close to the hunting of wolves one half hour past sunset, October 9, 2009. WMU-3 may reopen to the hunting of wolves on October 25, 2009.

We are the third largest state in the lower forty eight, yet we can’t accommodate and recover 500 wolves?We think by killing 75 of them in a misconceived hunt that will somehow help wolf recovery? The hunts are a blow to wolf recovery but at least Montana has closed off Unit 3 for now. I strongly urge them to keep the area closed for the remainder of the hunt and to close all backcountry or better yet stop the hunts entirely and then we can enjoy the rest of the winter.

Montana Suspends Wolf Hunt Outside Yellowstone National Park

Matt Skoglund
Wildlife Advocate, Livingston, Montana
Blog | AboutPosted October 8, 2009 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

backcountry wolf

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks suspended the backcountry wolf hunt just north of Yellowstone National Park today.

That’s great news. The famous wolves of Yellowstone can let loose a big howl of relief.

I wrote about the ridiculousness of that backcountry hunt yesterday, and the Los Angeles Times wrote a piece about my blog entry today.

The timing of the hunt makes no sense. Nor does the lack of a no-hunt buffer zone outside Yellowstone to protect the Park’s legendary wolves that freely roam in and out of Yellowstone (and can’t read maps).

Montana has temporarily suspended the backcountry hunt until hunting in the front country begins on October 25th. Hopefully Montana will add additional restrictions before October 25th to protect both Yellowstone’s wolves and the wolves that live in backcountry wilderness areas in other parts of the state (as well as the wolves in and around Glacier National Park).

It’s frustrating that these premature wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana are proceeding at all. And it’s incredibly frustrating that several wilderness wolves and multiple Yellowstone wolves have already been killed — and that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) says it didn’t see this coming. But it’s encouraging to see Montana respond by suspending the hunt outside Yellowstone.

Killing wolves in backcountry wilderness areas is bad wildlife management. FWP Commissioner Ron Moody said today that “[w]e don’t want to kill the wilderness wolves.”

If so, Montana should suspend the other backcountry hunts that are still ongoing and make the suspensions permanent.

Or, even better, Montana could scrap this hunt altogether until wolves in the Northern Rockies have fully recovered . . .

Either way, Montana can do a better job managing its state’s wolves, and it appears it knows it.

(Wolf photo by SigmaEye on Flickr)

Categories posted in: Montana wolf hunt, Yellowstone wolves

Tags: Yellowstone wolves, gray wolf

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Published in: on October 9, 2009 at 10:57 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very interresting, spesially as long as the hunters in Scandinavia Finland, Sweden and Norway kill all they can. In Sweden over 30 wolves was killed this january of unbeliveable 12000 hunters.

    • Hi Annie,
      Oh they are still killing wolves here. Idaho has 76 to go out of a 255 quota (the Nez Perce have 35 wolf tags, they probably won’t use them) We lost 500 wolves in 2009 out of a population of 1600, 300 were killed for livestock. 8 wolves have already died in 2010 for livestock. It goes on and on. I was very sorry to hear about the Swedish hunt and the wolf pack killed at Skane Wildlife Park, also Finnish wolves being delisted. What a tragedy. As I stated before “Wolf persecution is Global”. We have to keep fighting for them, they have no voice.

      Thanks so much for reading And thanks for caring about wolves.

      For the wild ones, For the wolves

  2. Timber Wolf

    There is a critter living in the woods and mountainside.
    Of strangers he is wary, from the unknown he may hide.
    Though his realm grows ever smaller, he patrols it still with pride,
    ‘neath the bright moon, padding softly with his shadow by his side.
    When the sun dips into twilight the gray wolf doth give voice,
    through the darkness to the night sky, where the silver stars shine bright.

    copyright 2008 kathy pippig

    Adapted and submitted here in honor of the Cottonwood Pack — A painful loss of a precious gift, a beautiful wolf pack, reintroduced to the Yellowstone Park and brutally murdered in the autumn of 2009.

    • Dear Kathy,
      What a beautiful poem in memory of the Cottonwood Pack, who were killed for no reason. Lives snuffed out so someone could say they killed a wolf.

      Thank you so much for sharing your moving prose with us, it brought tears to my eyes.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,

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