Now that the general big game rifle hunting season is over, officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are preparing for the wolf trapping season, which begins December 15.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director of Communication and Education Ron Aasheim said on Wednesday, December 4, that officials would be taking a close look at the status of wolf hunting, to determine if any changes might need to be made.

"We committed when the season was set that we would regroup after the big game season and see where we were with numbers, and see if there was anything we might need to tweak," Aasheim said. "We'll take a look at wolf numbers, such as where we're at and where we're headed."

Aasheim provided the total number of wolves taken during the rifle season.

"As of this morning, we had 95 wolves taken by hunters," Aasheim said. "Since the trapping season opens on December 15, there will be some additional people in the field."

Aasheim said the majority of wolves shot by hunters in the western and northwestern parts of the state, as well as the southwestern part of the state, in what is known as Region One.

There are several standing regulations for wolf trapping.

"They need to take the mandatory wolf-trapping instruction course," Aasheim said. "Then, they simply buy a $20 trapping license, and that allows them to take up to five wolves. The big thing that is not allowed in Montana is snares, but leg-hold traps are allowed. Once a wolf is trapped, it must be put down immediately and the kill reported to fish, wildlife and parks within 24 hours."

Aasheim said there is no overall quota for wolves in Montana, although only a limited number are allowed to be trapped or shot near Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Wolf trapping season runs from December 15 to February 28, while rifle hunting season continues until March 15.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director of Communication and Education Ron Aasheim