Wolves, Databases, and Bears

Wolves, Databases, and Bears

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Flowers, Pat

Montana's Second Wolf-Hunting Season
In July, the FWP commission approved a 2011 wolf-hunting season. The hunt will be managed in 14 “wolf-management units” and have an overall harvest quota of 220 wolves. The goal is to maintain a viable and connected wolf population and to reduce their impact on wildlife and livestock. Specific quotas or subquotas in three areas will limit harvest during early-season backcountry hunts, including the area directly north of Yellowstone National Park. The harvest quota is projected to reduce the wolf population to a minimum of 425 wolves, or by about 25%. These projections include anticipated reductions due to livestock depredation and mortalities from other events, such as accidents and natural causes. Montana’s wolf conservation and management plan guides wildlife managers, who say they’ll learn more this season and then apply it to future decisions in order to ensure balance exists among wildlife, humans, and their habitats. Wildlife officials documented that a minimum of 566 wolves in 108 verified packs and 35 breeding pairs inhabited the state at the end of 2010.

Calling all Data-Hungry Hunters
Eager hunters looking forward to the upcoming seasons have new data to mine. FWP’s searchable online database allows hunters and others to generate big-game harvest reports based on species, year, and district. Hunters can dig into reports on antelope, black bear, deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, furbearers, and upland game birds. Most species have reports for the past 10 years.

Be Bear Aware
With bear attacks always on the minds of wildlife officials, FWP ramped up its “Be Bear Aware” efforts to include a summer-long promotion on FWP’s website, public service announcements, news releases, and other media outreach programs. Being bear-friendly is a commitment. It may mean sacrificing the opportunity to see or take pictures of a bear or taking steps to prevent bears from finding food on a property or campsite, but those efforts can make all the difference in keeping Montana’s grizzly and black bears wild and free.

Pat Flowers is the Region 3 Supervisor for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

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