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Montana at a glance
Gray wolves once existed throughout Montana but persecution and, eventually, poisoning began shortly after European settlement, and by the late-1930s no wolves were left.
In the early 1980s, wolves dispersed from Canada, making their way back into northwest Montana. Wolves also began moving north and east into Montana from Wyoming and Idaho after wolf reintroduction in those states in 1995 and 1996. Wolves continue to be a controversial subject, and public attitudes vary.
Main prey for wolves there are elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and beaver. Most wolves occupy the western portion of the state.
This page on Montana.gov provides complete information.
Montana’s wolf management plan includes an annual hunting season. Additional information
Common Name: gray wolf, northwestern wolf, Rocky Mountain wolf
Latin Name: Canis lupus
Location: Wolf range in Montana is shown in purple on the map.
Current Wolf Population, Trend, Status
Number of wolves: about 900 in 2017 (as estimated by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)
Population trend: Stable
Legal status: State managed as of May 5, 2011
Recovery and Management
- Wolf Conservation and Management in Montana
- Montana’s wolf population still strong, report shows (June 8, 2017)
- Wolf Hunting and Trapping Season Information
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s News, Information and Recovery Status Reports for the Northern Rockies
- 2018 Montana Annual Wolf Report (pdf)
- 2016 Montana Annual Wolf Report (pdf)
- History of gray wolves in Montana
- Wolves and human safety in Montana
- Wolf management and conservation Environmental Impact Statement
- Montana field guide on gray wolves
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service page on gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains
- 2017 Montana wolf hunting season report
- 2016 Montana wolf hunting season report
- 2015 Montana wolf hunting season report
- 2014 Montana wolf hunting season report
- 2013 Montana wolf hunting season report
- Wolves and Climate Change
- Grizzlies and Wolves in the Northern Rockies
- Yellowstone After Wolves – Will Gray Wolves Restructure the Ecosystem?
Prey and Predation
- Barber, S. M., Mech, L. D., and White, P. J. 2005. Yellowstone elk calf mortality following wolf restorations: Bears remain top summer predators. Yellowstone Science 133:37-44.
- Cook, R. C., Cook, J. G., and Mech, L. 2004. Nutritional Condition of Northern Yellowstone Elk. Journal of Mammalogy, 85(4), 714-722.