Big Sky Roundup

FWP: Wolf trapping opens in grizzly bear habitat in Montana

By: - December 27, 2022 9:50 am

Photo of a wolf (Photo via Flickr | CC-BY-SA 2.0).

Wolf trapping season is open as of Saturday, Dec. 24, in all areas of occupied grizzly bear habitat across the state, including deer and elk hunting district (HD) 130 in northwest Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks said Friday in a news release.

The news release noted wildlife staff completed its final assessment of grizzly bear activity in occupied grizzly bear habitat.

Hunters and trappers should note that wolf kill quotas exist in each FWP trapping district and wolf management unit 313. Those quotas can be viewed and followed on the FWP Wolf Dashboard.

As of Tuesday, the count of taken wolves is 97 total in all districts out of a quota of a total 456, according to the dashboard. That is one more than last Friday, before the season opened in grizzly bear habitat.

In August, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved wolf hunting and trapping regulations for the 2022 season, which ends March 15, 2023, the news release said. The regulations include a floating start date for wolf trapping in occupied grizzly bear habitat. The intent of the floating start date is to avoid conflict with grizzly bears that have yet to den for the winter

A lawsuit over wolf hunting is being fought between a couple of conservation groups and the state of Montana. Last month, a district court judge dissolved a temporary restraining order that had stopped much of the wolf hunt, finding the issues raised by the groups wouldn’t permanently harm wolves, even if hunters killed the full quota. However, the judge noted he had not ruled on the merits, and the case would be determined in trial.

FWP said it makes a decision opening trapping in occupied bear habitat each Monday in December with input from field staff on bear activity.

Trappers still need to exercise caution when out in the field. Black bears are still active is some parts of the state. In addition, grizzly bears can leave dens at any point during winter; trappers are encouraged to avoid trapping in areas where grizzly sign is detected.

Wolf hunters and trappers should make sure to be familiar with the 2022 Furbearer, Wolf and Trapping Regulations, which include maps of occupied grizzly bear habitat.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.