Home to the infamous Yellowstone national park, Montana is one of the largest states in the U.S.
In addition to being known for its national parks, glaciers, and mountain ranges, the state also hosts a few of the most dangerous apex predators like mountain lions and bears. And since the last 40 years, the state now also inhabits a stable growing population of Gray wolves.
Although wolves are wary of humans and prefer to not be close to them, there have been reports of wolf attacks on livestock and pets in the last few years. Therefore, this makes it necessary for the people of Montana to be aware of the basic details of wolves.
The state authorities have set up various initiatives and even a plan to keep the wolf population high enough so that they aren’t listed on the endangered list in the future. The public also should be aware of these initiatives, support them, and spread them to help wolves thrive in Montana.
Such knowledge on wolves will help people to have a minimum conflict with these animals thereby aiding in the ability for people to coexist with these animals.
From the number of wolfs in the state to whether a wolf can be killed in Montana, we covered various questions about Montana’s wolves. Read on to know more.
Are There Wolves In Montana?
Yes, there are wolves in Montana. And they have been thriving. The current wolf population in Montana is managed by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks since they obtained the authority from the state.
This was after the federal delisting of the wolves of Montana state in May 2011. FWP is also responsible for managing the population and taking appropriate actions when addressing any wolf attacks on livestock.
Though native to Montana, about 50 years ago, many of the wolves almost vanished from the state. Loss of habitat and conflicts with people regarding livestock loss led to Gray wolf extirpation in the state of Montana in the 1930s. It is believed that many of the wolves also dispersed into Canada and nearby states.
To stabilize the food chain of Montana which was hard hit by the loss of wolves, the federal government took various steps and initiatives to increase the wolf population in the state.
This includes the listing of Gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains in the Endangered species act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973, the introduction of captured wolves into Yellowstone national park, etc.
Soon, wolves from other states began to naturally colonize the Glacier National Park area, Yellowstone national park area, and parts of the Rocky Mountains. Soon, the population of wolves met the recovery goals leading to their delisting in 2011 from the endangered species list.
How Many Wolves Are in Montana Currently?
Montana is currently home to roughly 900 wolves as per the released data by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The Gray wolves currently occupy their historical area in the northern rocky mountain, northwest Montana, central Idaho, and the greater Yellowstone – each of which includes some part of Montana.
Gray wolves are highly social animals and live up to at least 10 years in the wild. They are pack hunters and can travel an average of 60 to 70 miles in search of mates, territory, or food.
Being at the top of the ecological pyramid, these animals prey on large vulnerable ungulates. The decline in these ungulates populations across Montana and nearby states thereby poses a risk to the stability of the wolf population.
What Is the Famous Wolf in Montana?
Also known as “the 06 Female”, O-Six was famous for her hunting skills which aided her in hunting and taking down an elk single handily which was not an easy feat given wolves are pack hunters. She was the dominant breeding female and was often photographed which led to her being nicknamed “Rockstar.”
In 2012, O-Six (named after the year of her birth) was killed by a trophy hunter just outside the protected area of Yellowstone National Park.
Her death received widespread public coverage and sparked various discussions regarding the hunting and protection of wolves in Montana along with Wyoming and Idaho.
In addition to this, a book based on the policies of the Yellowstone region and O-Six’s life was published. It became a best-seller in no time.
Also Check Our Guide On Wolves In US
Are Wolves A Problem in Montana?
Gray wolves are the largest member of the dog family Canidae. They are carnivores and often prey on Deer, coyote, elk moose, and small mammals like hares, beavers, and rodents. Standing at 2.5 feet tall, and 6 feet long, these social animals weigh between 75 to 110 pounds with males weighing more than females.
Contrary to popular belief, Gray wolves are seldom a threat to humans. However, like many wild animals, they will attack you if food or the life of their pups is affected.
People in the state of Montana are requested to report any wolf sightings, dead wolves, or loss of livestock due to wolves to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Appropriate action will be taken up by the authority after due diligence of the reports.
Also Check Our Guide On Wolves In Michigan
Can You Own a Wolf in Montana?
The legality of owning wild creatures like wolves in the U.S. is subjective to the state people live in.
In the state of Montana, there is no law specifying ownership of wolves. However, as per Montana Exotic Animal laws, wild/hybrid wolves held captive must be reported to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks within 3 days of captivity.
Can You Shoot a Wolf in Montana?
Yes. You can shoot or hunt wolves in Montana. However, a valid license from the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is required.
In the state of Montana, Gray wolves are classified as “Species in need of management.” Montana provides sustainable opportunities for people to hunt and trap Gray wolves following rules outlined by the state’s wolf management plan. Therefore, hunting permits and wolf trapper certifications are a few of the prerequisites required before hunting or trapping a wolf.
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks also require the people to report the wolf harvest during hunting and trapping season.
This helps the organizations maintain a record of the number of wolves hunted, and control and maintain the wolf population such that the wolf population remains high enough to avoid relisting into the Endangered species act.
And that was everything you need to know about the Wolves in Montana. I hope this article answered all your questions.
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I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.