In an annual report conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, wolf populations were stable for 2021, with an estimated 1141 wolves and close to 200 wolf packs.
FWP director, Jeff Worsech, says these numbers are not surprising. “Our management of wolves, including ample hunting and trapping opportunities, have kept numbers at a relatively stable level during the past several years,” Worsech said.
The data gathered also revealed wolf trapping was down for the license year, meaning fewer trappers were registered for the season. The Montana Legislature approved a legislation suite adding more tools to harvest wolves for trappers and hunters. Legislation was also passed to make FWP manage wolves to reduce numbers above minimum recovery goals.
Montana FWP responded by increasing bag limits, extending the harvest season, and allowing snaring outside lynx protection zones. They set harvest thresholds numbers for every region of FWP on a statewide scale, requiring them to meet once harvest levels were met. The FWP commission closed wolf season early in southwest Montana since their threshold was met.
“We are following the law and are doing so in a way that provides certainty that wolf populations in Montana will remain off the Endangered Species List,” Worsech said.
The wolf report is monitored by the calendar year, which is how wolf populations have been tracked since the 80s. The hunting and trapping season ended on March 15, 2022. The first three months of this year were not reflected in population numbers for 2021.