Helena, Montana

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks released its 2023 Draft Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan on Friday, October 20th with a 60-day comment period. As drafted, the plan threatens to undermine the conservation success story of wolf restoration in Montana by seeking to decrease the current population to approximately 450 wolves, a 60% reduction. The plan revision comes two decades after the finalization of the current wolf management plan and has been in the works since February 2023.   

“This wolf plan revision comes on the heels of other recent disastrous actions by state policymakers and the fish and wildlife commission which are also aimed at reducing Montana’s gray wolf population,” said Eric Clewis, Northern Rockies Senior Representative. “Successful wolf management requires good science, as well as collaboration and compromise among multiple stakeholders. Instead, Fish, Wildlife and Parks consistently refuses to develop a collaborative, citizen-led advisory group to guide science-based revision of this plan just as it has done with other wildlife management plans. There was a real opportunity to course correct here and moving forward without an advisory body is a drastic misstep.” 

Amid the 2023 Legislative Session, Governor Greg Gianforte directed Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to begin development of a wolf management plan revision. After two virtual listening sessions and a 30-day public comment period on the public scoping notice in April, Montana FWP is now seeking input on the draft plan revision. 

The draft plan is a far cry from the standard of science-based wildlife management expected from the state of Montana. In line with policy decisions mandating a reduction in the statewide wolf population during the 2021 Legislative Session, the plan needlessly seeks to reduce the wolf population further, which currently stands at an estimated 1,087 wolves across Montana’s vast 147,040 square miles. This plan leaves many unethical options on the table to reduce the wolf population, including potentially increasing the number of wolves that can be killed by an individual, introducing unlimited hunting and trapping quotas, and extending hunting and trapping seasons. 

We encourage everyone who values a sustainable wolf population to call the Fish and Wildlife Commissioner representing your region and comment in opposition to this plan by the December 19th deadline. 

Members of the public can comment at Public Comment Opportunities | Montana FWP (mt.gov) or via email to fwpwolfplaneis@mt.gov.   

For over 75 years, Defenders of Wildlife has remained dedicated to protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife for generations to come. To learn more, please visit https://defenders.org/newsroom or follow us on X @Defenders.

  

Media Contact

Communications Director
mdewane@defenders.org
(202) 772-0217
Senior Representative, Northern Rockies

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