Montana wildlife officials are proposing that hunters shoot 12 endangered gray wolves in an area where elk numbers are declining.
The proposal goes before Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission on Thursday for initial approval.
Officials would ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for permission to reduce by half the number of wolves along the West Fork of the Bitterroot River south of Darby.
Over the last five years, elk numbers in the area have fallen from almost 2,000 animals to just over 750.
..... "Based on a preliminary estimate, 1840 elk were harvested in southwest Montana during the general season extension from Dec. 1-21" per Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (Dec. 23, 2008).
A request to remove wolves from the Bitterroot Valley is among many items the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission will decide in November.
Commissioners will make a final decision on FWP's proposal to request a federal permit to remove wolves in the West Fork of the Bitterroot Valley under the 10(j) rule of the Endangered Species Act. It calls for the immediate removal of 12 wolves and additional wolf hunts for the next four years.
The FWP Commission will also meet with the Montana Board of Livestock to hear an informational presentation on wolf population management. The meeting is Nov. 18 at FWP headquarters in Helena.
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission will consider whether it will ask for a federal permit that would allow the state to reduce the wolf population in the West Fork of the Bitterroot by half.
The five-year permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would allow the state to kill wolves in Hunting District 250 under Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act.
Nov. 19: Montana asks for limited wolf hunt
The state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission will ask the federal government for a permit that would allow hunters to kill 12 wolves in southwestern Montana.
McDonald says it could take more than 6 months for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to approve a permit.
Endangered even while endangered.