Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
This May 2007 photo by National Park Service photographer Doug Smith shows a Leopold wolf pack hunting a bull elk in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Restrictions on gray wolf harvests around Yellowstone are under consideration as the state prepares to kick off its inaugural wolf trapping season Dec. 15. Conservation groups want limits on trapping after several wolves collared by park scientists for research were shot by Montana hunters in recent weeks. (AP Photo/National Park Service, Doug Smith) -; Doug Smith; May 2007
Mont. shuts down wolf harvest near Yellowstone
First Published Dec 10 2012 04:44 pm • Last Updated Dec 10 2012 04:58 pm

Billings, Mont. » Montana wildlife commissioners on Monday closed down the gray wolf season in some areas outside Yellowstone National Park after several collared animals used for scientific research were shot in recent weeks.

The closures prohibit hunting and trapping for the predators and include areas north of the park around the town of Gardiner.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

But Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission chairman Bob Ream indicated the closures are not meant to be permanent. He saod commissioners were acting to address the "particular and unique situation" of collared wolves being shot.

"It seems to be kind of a compromise," Ream said. "Is it political? Yeah, wolves are political."

The closures were approved on a 4-to-1 vote. Commissioner Dan Vermillion of Livingston cast the lone dissenting vote.

Conservation groups had lobbied for the restrictions after park officials said at least seven Yellowstone wolves — including five wearing tracking collars — were shot in recent weeks by hunters in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Saturday marks the opening day of Montana’s first wolf trapping season since the animals lost federal protections last year.

Wolf hunting has been underway in Montana for more than two months. Wildlife officials said Monday that the statewide harvest was down 18 percent this year compared to the same point in 2011.

In opposing the closures, Vermillion said there was no evidence the harvest was damaging the species long-term viability.

State officials lifted quotas on wolves across most of Montana this year in hopes of decreasing a predator population blamed for livestock attacks and driving down elk numbers in some areas.


story continues below
story continues below

Advocacy groups had sought a permanent buffer zone around the park. They said that was needed to protect a species that serves as a major draw for Yellowstone’s 3 million visitors annually.

"The 2012 hunt has been a disaster for southwest Montana’s tourism industry," said Ilona Popper with the Bear Creek Council in Gardiner. "The way this hunt is going, it looks like Fish, Wildlife and Parks is trying to and succeeding in lowering the numbers of wolves in Yellowstone and not on ranch land."

Hunting and trapping are prohibited inside park boundaries, but wolves range freely across that line.

Shooting a collared wolf is legal if done within a state’s hunting regulations.

Radio collars on wolves are used to track the animals’ movement, often for research. They also are used outside the park to track down and kill the predators following livestock attacks.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.