Montana’s archery wolf hunting season opens this Saturday, September 7th, with rifle season for wolves opening on September 15th. If you are heading out to try and find anywhere from one to five wolves this year, check out the following wolf hunting tips that were posted by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation members on grandviewoutdoors.com :
1. Stay close to elk. If you can find a herd of elk, especially a herd a mile or more from a road, it’s just a matter of time before wolves show up.
2. Wolves can be patterned like other game. Scouting will help you find travel routes, crossings, etc. Wolves tend to take the easy paths: roads, trails and frozen lakes. NOTE: Many Canadian outfitters routinely call or bait wolves onto open ice for increased visibility on reclusive wolves.
3. Get hunting permission from private landowners. Lots of landowners are happy to have wolf hunters. It could lead to other hunting opportunities down the road, too.
4. Most wolf hunters want to shoot a big trophy male. But taking females is better for population control. The main thing is just don’t shoot a collared wolf. Collars are needed to track the packs — and funding for collaring wolves is getting tighter.
5. Go on more hunts specifically for wolves, not for wolves as a byproduct of another hunt. (Questionnaire data reveals only 11 percent of respondents hunted exclusively for wolves; most hunted for wolves as part of a deer or elk hunt.)
6. Howling works to locate wolves. But too much howling, especially by inexperienced callers, can educate wolves. Elk calf and fawn-in-distress and coyote calls work well. Also try moose calls. NOTE: In Great Lakes regions whitetail-in-distress calls imitate a main prey species in peril.
7. When calling, set-up on high ground, not in a hole or depression. Visibility is a key. Consider using a blind. Wolves seem to spot blaze orange from a great distance. NOTE: A treestand also increases your ability to see, plus it can disperse your scent higher to eliminate a wolf smelling you.
8. Wolves are more reckless in their pursuit of prey when it’s colder outside. Hunters should concentrate on bad weather days for wolf hunting.
9. Watch for birds — magpies, gray jays, ravens — as a tipoff to fresh kill locations. Approach carefully and watch the area for returning wolves. Consider using a treestand. A driving technique with a group of hunters also can work.
10. Once you kill a wolf, stay put. Other wolves from the pack often return to the site, sometimes very quickly. You (if regulations allow for two wolves) or a buddy may get a chance at a second wolf.