Phil Davies - Senior Writer
Published November 1, 2009 | November 2009 issue
No matter how many wolves are killed during the state’s inaugural hunt for the animals, the money is in the bag. During the first two weeks of September, hunters bought almost 8,800 licenses, generating $167,000 in revenue for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The withdrawal of federal protection for wolves in Montana and Idaho earlier this year cleared the way for state-supervised hunts this fall. Montana’s season began Sept. 15.
Wildlife officials may opt to spend the license money on wolf management, formerly the domain of the federal government. This year, the state will receive less money than last to manage wolves under federal contract, and a further drop is expected in 2010. Researching and monitoring wolves is an expensive business in the northern Rockies, where wolves were reintroduced in the mid-1990s. Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spent about $3.4 million on wolf management in the region. That works out to more than $2,000 per wolf.