Hunters Kill Three Yellowstone Wolves in Montana
The following information was provided in a press release from Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone National Park wolf biologists have confirmed that three wolves belonging to the Junction Butte Pack were killed by hunters during the first week of Montana's wolf hunting season. According to park officials, the Junction Butte Pack transcends Yellowstone’s northern range and is the most viewed wolf pack in the world.
Two female wolf pups and one female yearling were killed by hunters reducing the pack size from 27 to 24 animals. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) confirmed that the three wolves were killed outside of YNP in the general vicinity of where the Junction Butte Pack was known to be travelling in mid-September.
The Junction Butte Pack was formed in 2012 in the northern section of the park. They are the most observed pack in YNP because they den within view of the Northeast Entrance Road and the road to Slough Creek Campground, providing thousands of visitor’s daily views. The pack added eight pups in 2021.
According to YNP wolf biologists, wolves in the northern range only spend an estimated 5% of the time outside the park, usually in late fall. For over a decade, the state of Montana limited the number of wolves taken from Montana wolf management units 313 (Gardiner) and 316 (Cooke City), which are immediately adjacent to the park’s northern boundary.
98% of wolves in Montana are outside units 313 and 316. Recent state changes to hunting and trapping have lifted restrictions within these units making Yellowstone’s wolf population in the northern range extremely vulnerable. Montana has also authorized baiting from private property. Over 33% of the boundary Yellowstone shares with Montana is within one mile of private property where baiting is now permissible.
Visitor spending within communities that are 50 miles from Yellowstone exceeds $500 million per year, tens of millions of which is spent by visitors coming to watch wolves and supporting Montana businesses in gateway communities.
Yellowstone plays a vital role in Montana’s wildlife conservation efforts and its economy. These wolves are part of our balanced ecosystem here and represent one of the special parts of the park that draw visitors from around the globe. We will continue to work with the state of Montana to make the case for reinstating quotas that would protect the core wolf population in Yellowstone as well as Montana’s direct economic interests derived from the hundreds of millions spent by park visitors each year.
said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly.