Montana officials set 2010 wolf-hunt quota at 186
HELENA, Mont. — Montana wildlife regulators have set this year's wolf-hunt quota at 186, more than doubling last year's quota, with the aim of reducing the state's wolf population for the first time since they were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies in 1995.
The quota was set Thursday, even as the state awaits a federal judge's ruling that may determine whether there will be a wolf hunting season at all.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy has yet to rule after hearing arguments last month in a lawsuit brought by environmental groups seeking to restore Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho.
Opponents of the wolf hunt argued the commission should end the hunt before the courts act.
Ranchers and hunters say the wolf population has grown too high, which has led to more attacks on livestock and game.
RELATED WOLF NEWS:
Federal judge blocks Alaska wolf-kill plan (story by Times reporter Kim Murphy)
Five new Mexican gray wolf pups at St. Louis facility represent new hope for their species
-- Matt Volz and Matt Gouras, Associated Press
Photo: A wolf is seen near cattle in a pasture in the Madison Valley near Ennis, Mont. Credit: Todd Graham / Associated Press