Montana's hunters aren't wasting any time this year: They've already killed nine of the 12 wolves allotted for the hunting quota in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness adjacent to Yellowstone. The statewide hunt begins on Oct. 25, but game managers don't think the remaining three unlucky wolves will last that long.
So far, Montana wildlife officers have expressed surprise at hunters luck and skill at tracking and killing wolves in the Absaroka-Beartooths; wolf hunters in Idaho haven't been so lucky.
Carolyn Sime, wolf program coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, told the Billings Gazette: "We didn't think wolves would be that vulnerable to firearms harvest. The uncertainty is why we went with the low quota."
Montana has set a statewide quota of 75 wolves once the hunt opens beyond four smaller hunting districts, one of which is the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Montana's total wolf population is belived to be around 500. (Quick aside: "Firearms harvest" is now my favorite euphemism for "shooting.")
The wolves probably shouldn't be surprised—you don't go on a 120-sheep massacre without expecting some retribution.