Montana wildlife commissioners closed down the state's gray wolf season in some areas north of Yellowstone National Park in response to a wave of recent shootings of animals that had been collared for scientific research. However, wildlife commissioners did not yield to pressure from wildlife advocates to create a permanent and more extensive buffer around the park.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission Chairman Bob Ream said commissioners were addressing only the particular and unique situation of collared wolves being shot.
Hunting and trapping supporters pushed to keep the areas open. Representatives of the Department of Fish, Parks and Wildlife also said no changes were needed because the overall wolf population was not at any risk.
Park officials say at least seven Yellowstone wolves - including five wearing tracking collars - were shot in recent weeks by hunters in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Also shot were four collared wolves originally from the park but now living outside it. Three more shot in the vicinity of the park had unknown origins and were not wearing collars, park officials said.
Reprinted in part from West Yellowstone News