Effective Thursday, MT/ID Gray Wolves Delisted


UPDATE:  As of Wednesday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced that Gray Wolves in MT and Idaho will no longer be under federal protection on Thursday. 

As our elected officials in Washington, D.C. got down to the nitty gritty earlier this spring debating the budget bill that would fund the government through the end of this fiscal year, a component of the bill did something unprecedented for our region.  It stated that gray wolves would be removed from Endangered Species Act protections in Idaho and Montana and that the delisting could not be challenged in court.

While the budget agreement and subsequent wolf decision came at the beginning of April, we were told that it would take up to 60 days before that delisting became reality. 

Ron Aasheim from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks told us early Tuesday that wolves in Montana and Idaho could be delisted as early as Wednesday.

With as many times as the wolf has been delisted and listed again, folks are a bit shy to say that this is for good.  While Ron says that the state management plans for the wolf populations could still be challenged in court, the gray wolf will now be delisted by federal law in the two states.  Federal law, he says, is a bit more permanent and cannot be challenged as easily as the federal decision of listing or delisting.

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission will look at tentative proposals for a fall wolf hunting season on May 12.  Ron says it will be real similar to the 2010 season that was stopped by judicial action.  They are looking at a quota of around 220 wolves and one management unit will be added in the Bitterroot.  Combining hunting and mortality rates, they expect this will decrease the Montana population by 25{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} to around 425 wolves.  After the plans pass the Commission on May 12, there will be a public comment period through June 20.  The Commission would then set final regulations for the fall wolf hunt on July 14.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Idaho is expected to set its fall wolf hunt quotas by August. 

© Northern Ag Network 2011

Haylie Shipp


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