courtesy of The Missoulian
by Rob Chaney
Montana has won tentative approval for a government-led wolf hunt in the Bitterroot Mountains, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials announced on Monday.
The federal agency released a draft environmental assessment of the state’s request to shoot wolves in the West Fork of the Bitterroot that are preying on a diminished elk herd there.
If approved, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks agents would kill up to 18 of the estimated 30 wolves in the area.
On Nov. 24, Montana requested permission for a Rule 10-J wolf hunt. The federal Endangered Species Act allows 10-J hunts of threatened or endangered species when they are causing unacceptable harm to other wild animal populations. However, the hunt may not lower the state’s wolf population below a total of 200 wolves and 20 breeding pairs.