Virtually eradicated at one point, gray wolves were reintroduced in 1995 to Yellowstone Park and have reached an estimated total of 1,500 animals across three states, enough to be considered recovered by the USFWS and allow the states to take over wolf management efforts. All three of the above mentioned states have federally approved management plans for this species that include hunting as a management tool. In Montana, wolves will be considered big game or furbearers; in Idaho, big game, furbearers, or special classification of predator; and in Wyoming, trophy game in the so-called trophy zones around the Yellowstone ecosystem, and predators everywhere else in the state meaning they will have the same non-game status as coyotes. To avoid a re-listing of the gray wolf by the Federal Government, each state must maintain at least 15 breeding pairs, or packs.
At present, Montana is also the only state that has formally established a wolf-hunting season. Montana's season is set to open on September 15 of this year and continue through the 31st of December. A resident hunting license will cost $19 and a nonresident $350. Wolf hunting units will close when 75 percent of the unit's quota of wolves is taken, and there will be no trapping season during the first year. Wyoming and Idaho are also preparing wolf-hunting regulations for 2008. Idaho's will include a quota for the Nez Perce Reservation.
As promising as all this sounds, it is probably unrealistic to assume that the announced court case will be settled in time for the 2008........(continued)