Gianforte is directing wildlife managers to develop a new wolf management plan

Greg Gianforte of Montana has directed wildlife officials to develop a new wolf management plan. The plan will guide all aspects of state decisions about the species.

Gianforte said now is the right time to update Montana’s 20-year-old wolf management plan in light of public and legislative engagement regarding the species.

At the time it was written, wolves were an endangered species and monitored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The state’s 2003 plan outlined everything from estimating population numbers and locating packs to how to address and minimize wolf-livestock conflict.

When the Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves was removed from the endangered species list in 2011, federal authority over wolves ended. The management was transferred to the state, which can now make plans for the hunting and trapping of wolves.

It is now up to Fish Wildlife and Parks Director Hank Worsech to respond to the governor’s directions and begin the process of public scoping and comment.

Wolves are the latest in a list of species including elk and grizzly bears whose management plans are being updated by the state.

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