HELENA, Mont. – A federal judge on Thursday reinstated protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho, saying the government made a political decision in removing the protections from just two of the states where Northern Rocky Mountain wolves roam.
The decision puts a halt to wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho planned for this fall. Montana wildlife regulators last month set the wolf-hunt quota at 186, more than doubling last year’s number, with the aim of reducing the state’s wolf population.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula said in his ruling that the entire region’s wolf population either must be listed as an endangered species or removed from the list, but the protections for the same population can’t be different for each state.