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Montana Wolf Census Update

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released the “minimum” wolf count for the state. By that they mean the minimum number of wolves that their wolf specialists can verify that were in Montana at the end of 2012. That estimate is 625. That’s down about 4% from the previous year (653). Packs increased a little bit, which surprised FWP. Estimates were 147 packs this year compared to 130 the year before. Breeding pairs stayed about the same, 37 compared to 39 the previous year. Due to livestock depredation, 108 wolves were removed in 2012, only 64 in 2011. That ties into livestock loss, with 67 cattle, 37 sheep and two horses killed by wolves in 2012. That number is up about 15% over 2011. Northwest Montana is home to about 400 of those 625 wolves. So there are some of your wolf numbers. It will be interesting to see what effect the extended hunting season and the addition of trapping will have on those figures for 2013. DB

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