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National Briefing

Montana

Hunt may change after 9 wolves slain near park

October 13, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Wildlife officials will consider changes to the state's inaugural wolf hunt after nine of the predators were shot in three weeks along the border of Yellowstone National Park. More than 1,300 gray wolves were removed from the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana this spring after a costly federal restoration effort. Hunting has been promoted as a way to keep the population in check and reduce wolf attacks on livestock.

Hunters in the two states have killed at least 48 wolves since Sept. 1. All but two of the 11 wolves killed in Montana came from a small portion of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, along the border of Yellowstone. At least four were from Yellowstone's Cottonwood Pack, including the group's breeding female.

Concerned about the concentrated killing, state wildlife commissioners last week suspended hunting in the area.

Today, commissioners will consider other responses, including closing the hunting season in part of the state.

Grazing is generally not allowed in the backcountry, so harvesting wolves there gives little help to ranchers suffering losses from wolf attacks.

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