HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a draft plan and environmental impact statement to guide the agency’s recommendations for the long-term management and conservation of wolves across the state.
The draft 2023 Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (2023 Wolf Plan) incorporates updates in wolf-related research, more than 20 years of management experience, evolution in conflict management, new laws, social perspectives, and public input.
The new draft plan builds on a foundation of FWP wolf management: monitoring populations, tracking harvest, effective conflict management, and flexibility to integrate evolutions in science.
“The 2003 Wolf Plan guided our successful management for two decades. And under that management, wolves have become well established in Montana,” said FWP Director Dustin Temple. “This new plan relies on the best available science and reflects current Montana law and all the public input we’ve heard over the years regarding wolf management in Montana. I encourage folks to comment.”
The draft 2023 Wolf Plan shifts a key counting metric from the number of breeding pairs to the number of wolves representing at least 15 breeding pairs. The draft 2023 plan establishes that 450 wolves would ensure 15 breeding pairs. Population estimates will continue to be determined by the peer-reviewed Integrated Patch Occupancy Modeling method, or iPOM. The draft 2023 plan also describes the current depredation prevention and response program.
In the past 20 years, the public has had opportunities to comment on various components of wolf management as it was considered by the Montana Legislature, the Fish and Wildlife Commission, and FWP. Given this and the current direction within statute for wolf management in the state, FWP is not convening a citizen advisory group for wolf management at this time.
FWP is seeking public comment for 60 days on both the draft 2023 Wolf Plan and DEIS. The deadline for comments is Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. To view the draft 2023 Wolf Plan and comment, click here.
FWP is also seeking public comment on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). This document analyzes the environmental impacts of the proposed plans. To view the associated DEIS, click here.
Comments on the plan and DEIS will be collected online and can also be sent by mail to 2023 Montana Wolf Management Plan DEIS, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Wildlife Division, 1420 East Sixth Avenue Helena, MT 59620, or by email to FWPWolfPlanEIS@mt.gov.
Public meetings to answer questions about the draft 2023 Wolf Plan will be scheduled prior to the close of the public comment period and announced soon on the FWP website.
MT FWP – 2023