Wolves are a hot button conservation issue in much of the world. Conservationists are pitted against hunting and livestock interests. In the middle are wildlife officials trying to balance the two. The next Montana wolf hunt quota may be slightly lower as a result.
We have discussed wolf love and wolf hatred before. Wildlife experts mostly agree that wolves are critical to a healthy ecosystem. However, there are many who see them simply as vermin or a trophy to be taken even at the risk of extincting them.
According to Q2, a Billings, Montana news outlet, the state is trying to strike a balance.
“The state estimates there are 1,087 wolves in Montana, 44 fewer than the previous year. The total number of packs in the state is 181 packs, down 10 packs from 2021. FWP says hunters harvested 248 wolves between the spring and fall hunting seasons.” Q2 said. FWP is an acronym for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. FWP maintains a page on its wolf program.
“FWP is committed to ensuring the long-term survival of wolves while responsibly managing the population and addressing conflicts with livestock. FWP is also committed to involving hunters and trappers in the sustainable management of the species.'” the FWP page says.
The state will consider a new 289 wolf hunting quota at an August 17 Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting. That quota is 167 lower than the year before. Although the population is down, state experts feel it is healthy.
As the Montana wolf hunt shows. efforts to balance human and wolf interests remain an issue world wide. Sweden recently held a controversial hunt as legislators sought to reduce that nation’s wolf population. Colorado is fighting over wolf reintroduction. Italy has successfully increased the number of wolves. But some were poisoned in a reaction. Wolf poisoning occurs in the United States, too as several whole packs have been poisoned.