Brett French reports: Yellowstone wolf population changes following heavy hunt
By angelamontana

Posted: June 2, 2023

When Montana boosted its wolf hunting quota in hunting districts north of Yellowstone National Park two years ago, the effect was apparent. Twenty-five park-associated wolves were killed, mostly in those two hunting districts. The quota was reduced to six wolves this past season following protests from conservation groups and businesses because wolf tourism drives an estimated $82 million in spending. Even then, four of the six wolves killed in the districts, now combined into one hunting area, spent most of their time inside the park. Three of the wolves were collared for research by the National Park Service. Montana isn’t the only state allowing wolf hunting. Yellowstone’s other neighbors, Wyoming and Idaho, also allow wolf hunting. As a result of the loss of the wolves and due to other factors, two northern park packs dissolved and four new ones have formed. One of the other changes that has occurred over time is wolf biologists are seeing wolves eat more bison, because there are more bison in the park. Not all of the bison are killed by wolves, many die from old age or injuries. The resulted in wolves hunting fewer elk, their primary food source. Yellowstone is also home to a lot of young wolves. Following last spring, 40 survived into the fall. To learn more about the hunt and the park’s wolf packs, check out my story at

Written by Brett French | Outdoors editor | Billings Gazette Communications

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