Montana has issued over 6,000 permits to hunt the last 625 wolves in their state, which has wolf advocates and conservationists in an uproar. Not only has the state decreased the cost of the permit to $19, the number of wolves allowed to be killed per permit has increased from 1 to 5. Also, the length of time that wolves can be hunted has been extended.
This is a complex issue between ranchers wanting to protect their livestock, hunters concerned about deer and elk populations and conservationists who believe the wolves keep nature in balance with healthier wild herds.
Conservationists lament the fact that wolves were delisted from the Endangered Species Act and are no longer protected. They point out the fact that if just If only 2.1% of hunters issued a permit this year reach their hunting limit of 5 wolves, the wolf will no longer exist in Montana.
Conservationists believe this is not a far-fetched idea since wolves are pack animals. Therefore, a single hunter will likely be able to kill several wolves in a single trip.
Montana wolves were so depleted by hunters in the 1990’s, that Canadian wolves had to be imported to to supplement the wolf population. Now officials are tinkering with the management again.
In spite of the 4% decrease in wolf numbers from 2012 to 2013, state officials have decided to continue to drive down the number even further with these broad measures to ensure wolves can be hunted freely, or at least cheaply: just $19 for a trophy wolf… or as many as that hunter can kill.
For more information about wolves, please watch our episode of the Wolf Files.