It’s hard to believe but it has been 20 years since wolves were first reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995. Many folks see the project as another example of the federal government’s overreach while supporters see the work as ecologically important to restoring balance to wild ecosystems. In those 20 years, Montanans have seen wolf populations climb, hunting and trapping season open and harvest numbers liberalized for the predators. In Yellowstone National Park the wolf population initially climbed as the wolves fed on an abundant elk herd. Since that herd has dropped from around 19,000 to 5,000 to 6,000, the wolf population has also declined. Love them or hate them, wolves look like they are here to stay and are expanding into Oregon, Washington and likely Colorado and Utah, eventually.
To read more about the big canines, see my stories online at The Billings Gazette at:bgz.tt/2zbvz
(Written by Brett French – Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette)