Montana officials are proposing another extension of the state's gray wolf hunt as harvest numbers continue to lag original expectations.

Hunting in a portion of the Bitterroot Valley along the Idaho border would be allowed through April 1 or until hunters meet the area's quota of 18 wolves, whichever is first.

Through Thursday, only three wolves had been killed in the area this season.

An initial vote on the extension is scheduled for Jan. 19 by Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission.

Statewide, 133 wolves have been killed this season out of a 220-wolf quota. Officials are aiming to reduce the state's wolf population from at least 566 animals to about 425.

The wolf season originally was scheduled to end Dec. 31 but has been extended statewide until Feb. 15.

Associated Press