As wolf trapping ends and hunting is coming to a close in the middle of March, Ron Aasheim with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks reflects on how the season went this year compared to years past.

"Hunters can still pursue wolves, but trappers were done on February 29," Aasheim said. "Interestingly, at the end of trapping season, there were almost identical numbers as last year. 131 had been taken by hunters and 73 by trappers. In the last couple of weeks, there hadn't been a wolf taken, even though the trapping season was open and the hunting season was still open."

Aasheim said hunters still have 10 days left in the season, so numbers are subject to change.

"We had a small decrease in the number of wolves last year, but it looks like we are finally coming to a balance point," Aasheim said. "We had less livestock depredation last year, we know that and that's good news as it's trending downward. What's happening is we're getting a handle on wolves in problem areas, causing problems in different areas, and that's what we expected. We don't have the final counts yet this year as to what the wolf population is at the end of the year."

Overall, Aasheim said wildlife officials are happy with the new status quo, with less complaints from hunters as well as a healthy elk population.

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