Federal trappers using rifles wiped out a wolf pack this month that had shown up near Mount Fleecer, southwest of Butte, and was preying on cattle on private land near there.
The Fleecer pack was discovered in August after a calf was killed on a private ranch near there, said Liz Bradley, wolf management specialist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Federal trappers with U.S. Wildlife Services set traps and caught a female wolf the next day.
That wolf was collared and found to be living with three other adult wolves that together were called the Fleecer Mountain pack. Bradley said the wolves were hanging out on the private ranch close to newborn calves.
And because it was summer there were few natural prey species around that area, which did not bode well to keep the wolves out of trouble.
“Our biggest concern in this situation was there were no elk or deer in the area,” she said. “There was a lot of potential for further problems in there because that particular landowner was calving — we had a real chronic pattern of depredation starting and wanted to stop it before it got worse.” Another calf was suspected of being killed by wolves on Sept. 10. The landowner, who was not identified, also spotted a wolf attacking a calf shortly thereafter and unsuccessfully tried to shoot it, Bradley said.
This is what happens when the wolves kill all the wild game animals.They have to eat,so they start on the cattle,after the cattle are gone they will start after the human beings.
Some have allready done this in Alaska and chased people in other states.
FWP officials moved forward with the decision to kill the wolves. One was killed by shooting from an airplane on the ranch, prompting the pack to cross Interstate 15 and head into the Highlands, she said.
But once there the wolves were again in close proximity to cattle and also lacked natural prey. Federal trappers shot the three wolves from helicopters.
One of the wolves was hit but not recovered, although trappers suspect it died, Bradley said.
FWP has received reports of wolves in the Mount Fleecer area for years, so the pack’s appearance wasn’t that big of a surprise, Bradley said. The closest confirmed wolves to the area are a pair that has been confirmed living on the Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area, south of Anaconda.
The Fleecer pack consisted of four adults and there was no sign of pups, she said.
Montana has an estimated 394 wolves living in 71 packs scattered throughout the state, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fifty wolves have been killed this year through management actions in the state.
Federal Judge reached a decision on the continuance of the Grey Wolf hunt today.
He stated that the wolf hunt will continue in Montana and Idaho as scheduled.
Wisconsin is having trouble with the grey wolf also as the wolves are killing hunting dogs and people's pet dogs in their own yards.Here is more information on the wolf hunts-
Wolf hunters won the battle, but wolf supporters may win the war in the lawsuit over hunting the once-endangered species in Montana and Idaho.
U.S. District Judge Don Molloy turned down requests to stop 2009 wolf hunting seasons in the two states in an order released late Tuesday evening. In his 14-page opinion, Molloy said the 14 conservation groups opposing the hunts failed to show wolf populations would suffer irreparable harm, even if individual wolves were killed by hunters.
That means Idaho's already open wolf hunting season may continue and Montana hunters may begin hunting wolves in four backcountry regions starting next Tuesday, Sept. 15. Idaho hunters had reported four kills as of Wednesday.
"We still have a population that passed the recovery goal some time ago," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Joshua Winchell said in the wake of Molloy's ruling. "That's a wonderful success story that anyone interested in wolf recovery should be happy about. That plan is consistent with the overall goal of ensuring the continued success of wolves.
"Wyoming didn't put forward a plan that we were comfortable with. Montana and Idaho did. We're going to maintain our ability to manage wolves in Wyoming. At the end of the day, the Endangered Species Act is a law, and we have to make sure we follow the law."
Idaho Fish and Game commissioners authorized a quota of 220 wolves for public hunting this fall. Montana's quota is 75 wolves. Federal and state government shooters also kill numerous wolves every year in response to livestock attacks.Montana’s first-ever, fair-chase wolf hunting season is set to open Sept. 15 in some backcountry hunting districts, but the general season opener is still several weeks away.
Wolf Hunting Seasons Wolf hunting season dates correspond to Montana’s early backcountry big game and general big game rifle seasons. Season dates are:
Sept. 15–Nov. 29 in early backcountry deer and elk hunting districts 150, 151, 280, and 316
Oct. 25–Nov. 29 in statewide Wolf Management Units 1, 2 and 3
Dec. 1-31, if quotas aren’t met, the wolf-hunting season could be extended in specific WMUs. No more than 25 percent of the established WMU quota, however, can be harvested in December.
Officials recently set the statewide harvest quota at 75 wolves. Wolf hunting l icenses will be valid within the three specifically defined wolf management units, each with its own harvest quota. When a WMU reaches its quota, FWP will close the season there upon 24-hour’s notice.
Wolf licenses and regulations are available online at fwp.mt.gov , or from any FWP regional office or license provider. Wolf hunting licenses are $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. Hunters must have, or also purchase, a 2009 conservation license. A hunting access enhancement fee may also apply.
Harvest Reporting Requirements
Hunters have strict reporting requirements. Upon the harvest of a wolf, hunters must call 1-877-FWP-WILD (1-877-397-9453) within 12 hours to file a report. Hunters can call 1-800-385-7826 for the latest wolf h arvest status and closure information.
"It really gives us a chance to show Montana can manage wolves smartly and carefully, like it manages all other wildlife in the state," FWP spokesman Tom Palmer said Wednesday morning. "A fair-chase and science-based hunt is a critical part to the ultimate solution to manage wolves in Montana."
But Molloy also ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was likely to lose its case over the bigger question of whether wolves were appropriately removed from federal Endangered Species Act protection. Delisting the wolf in Montana and Idaho but not in Wyoming appeared to violate the agency's own rules, he said.
"The Service has distinguished a natural population of wolves based on a political line, not the best available science," Molloy wrote. "That, by definition, seems arbitrary and capricious."
Last year, the federal government attempted to take wolves off the endangered species list. The same coalition of conservation groups sued, and Molloy ruled the federal effort was illegal because Wyoming's wolf management plan was inadequate.
This May, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a new delisting in Montana and Idaho, with Wyoming's wolves remaining under federal protection. The conservation groups sued again, arguing the population had to be considered as a whole in the three states. They also asked Molloy to block the 2009 hunts.
The wolf advocates had to clear two hurdles to win a preliminary injunction stopping the wolf hunt. The first was to show they were likely to win the main lawsuit. The second was that irreparable harm would befall wolves if the hunt took place before the main lawsuit was heard in court.
"I think it's the better half of the loaf," EarthJustice attorney Jenny Harbine said of her client's "half-a-loaf" result. "The court determined the delisting of wolves in the northern Rockies is likely illegal, but declined to stop the hunting."
In Wednesday's ruling, Molloy wrote that all the proof before him showed hunting wouldn't hurt the wolf population as a whole.
"(A) wolf population such as the northern Rocky Mountains DPS (distinct population segment) can sustain single-season harvest rates in excess of 30 percent," Molloy wrote. "The conservative estimate in the record for the northern Rocky Mountains growth rate of 22 percent is in excess of the two states' planned kills of 21 percent of the DPS."
But that distinct population segment designation would be a problem for government lawyers to overcome, Molloy wrote. During the Aug. 31 court hearing in Missoula, Molloy observed that Fish and Wildlife Service had previously said a DPS couldn't be split up, but now was arguing the opposite.
"I imagine the defendants, the states and Fish and Wildlife Service, are scratching their heads and trying to figure out what to do next," Harbine said. "This puts them in a perilous position, legally. The court has already told them they're likely to lose the case."
Harbine said her clients were still debating whether to appeal Molloy's decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That move could uphold Molloy's decision blocking the hunt, reverse it or order Molloy to reconsider different parts of the case.
If no appeal is filed, the full case would probably not reach a courtroom before early 2010.