The Montana Department of Fish & Wildlife just released their report on the Montana wolf population, which stated that both the wolf population and confirmed wolf attacks on livestock declined in 2014.
According to a report recently released by the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife & Parks, the Montana wolf population declined by 73 wolves, from 627 to 554 from 2013 to 2014. At the same time, confirmed wolf livestock depredations also declined, from 78 in 2013 to 42 in 2014.
The numbers given for the Montana wolf population are minimum numbers and are the total number of wolves actually confirmed by Montana officials. The actual Montana wolf population could be as much as 37% higher than that.
These numbers represent a decline in the wolf population from 2013. That being said, wolf numbers in Montana are still considered healthy and are far above federally established goals.
Wolves were de-listed in Montana in 2011, which allows the state to manage wolves in a manner similar how predators and other game animals are managed. As such, hunting and trapping of wolves are legal within established seasons. In 2014, hunters and trappers took 213 wolves in Montana, which is a decrease in from 231 taken in 2013.
FWP Director Jeff Hagener:
Montana’s wolf management program seeks to manage wolves just like we do other wildlife—in balance with their habitat, with other wildlife species and with the people who live here.
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Due to a combination of hunting and trapping efforts along with better and more sophisticated wolf depredation efforts, confirmed livestock losses due to wolves have been falling since 2009 and the 2014 numbers are at an 8 year low.
In addition to the negative impact that wolves have on elk and deer populations, livestock depredation is another point of concern the general population. Fewer livestock losses to wolves is certainly a good thing. However, it will be interesting to see how these reduced wolf populations numbers will impact the deer and elk populations in Montana.
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