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  1. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks :: Wolf Hunting Guide
  2. Wolf Hunting Guide
  3. MAP: Which States Hunt Wolves?
  4. Hunting the hunters: Wolf hunting in the West

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks :: Wolf Hunting Guide

There are no longer quotas—with the exception of areas right outside national parks. In there was a lot of controversy and conflict, but since opening a hunting season the number of livestock losses and complaints has dropped significantly. Hunting has become an effective management technique, and helped bring numbers into better balance with prey species like elk, moose and deer; in some areas the expanding wolf populations decimated elk herds and moose populations.

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Hunters have to be determined, and lucky, however, to shoot a wolf. Hunting and trapping wolves is not easy.


They are very smart and wary. Here in Montana we take about half of our wolf harvest by hunting and half by trapping. Before anyone can get a wolf-trapping license, we require that they take a wolf-trapping course. Wolf biologists continue to monitor populations in Montana and Idaho. Wolf tags and licenses are an important source of revenue to help offset those costs.

This is the only way the state can afford to manage wolves. Earlier we had to have a lot of federal funding, so now we are on our own and have to come up with it somewhere else.

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The controversy over hunting and trapping continues, however, and this fall there is a proposition on the ballot in Montana to ban all trapping on public lands. The howl of a wolf has long been used to add drama and suspense in the movies. It has the same effect for hunters. Bear Creek Outfitters, headquartered in Darby, Montana, offers guided wolf hunts along with hunts for deer, elk, bear and mountain lion.

We had a large number of wolves until hunting seasons were finally allowed. At first, after wolves were introduced, they were only in a few areas, but they ate all the prey and expanded their territories. Hunting wolves is not easy. The Fish and Game Department sells an unlimited number of tags but there are quotas in some areas; once those target numbers are reached, the hunt is closed. Daine had one wolf hunter from the Midwest and another from Denmark in a group that was hunting bears.

They happened upon an elk kill and went closer, hoping to see a bear, and a wolf stepped out of the brush 40 yards away.

On another trip, two of their hunters from Kentucky—Rex Parsons and his son—were successful. Parsons says that hunting trip in January two years ago was the best adventure of his life.

Wolf Hunting Guide

The wolves had decimated the elk herd in there. The elk get pushed down into the low country in January and February and wolves massacre the elk because there are no people in there, that time of year. A pilot flew them in from Hamilton one at a time in a Piper Super Cub. There was the pilot, one of us, and a hound. My son is a big kid, 6-foot-4 with broad shoulders; his shoulders were wider than the fuselage. So he flew into the Selway with the windows open in that little plane.

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MAP: Which States Hunt Wolves?

The Super Cub landed on skis on the snow. The flight in that little plane was worth the whole trip. It can fly slow and close to the ground, and that country was absolutely gorgeous. The guides set up base camp at the little airstrip, and Parsons and his son hiked nine miles up Bear Creek in knee-deep snow with their packs.

While hiking in, they cut fresh wolf tracks. Two wolves were tracking a mountain lion. They hiked on up Bear Creek and pitched their tent—a rope and a tarp—and some ground pads to sleep on, with military arctic sleeping bags. They sat there about 30 minutes looking across the valley, and saw a whitetail buck running for its life.

After a few minutes, they saw a big black wolf and big gray wolf on the trail of that deer. Listen Listening Washington state government marksmen now have clearance to go out this weekend to shoot a wolf from a pack that has been preying on cattle in the Colville National Forest. A judge on Friday declined to extend a temporary stay on the killing won by several environmental groups last week. They wanted to prevent the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife from killing members of the Togo wolf pack.

Hunting the hunters: Wolf hunting in the West

The new Department of Fish and Wildlife director, Kelly Susewind, watched from the back of the courtroom. After the ruling, he said he was "glad" the agency can proceed.

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Still, inside and outside court Friday, the wildlife agency faced questions about the necessity of hunting down the male wolf, given that he is already limping from an existing bullet wound in a rear leg and probably not currently a threat to livestock. The West Coast wolf advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity predicted the disruption of the pack structure from killing its leader could increase — not decrease — problems for ranchers in the mountains near the Canadian border.

The most vulnerable prey that is in the area is livestock. So this may actually exacerbate the conflicts and result in more livestock losses, which no one wants.