BILLINGS - Licenses for Montana's first ever wolf hunting season will go on sale across the state Monday at 8 a.m. "As it stands right now, wolves in Montana are off the endangered species list and a hunting season is scheduled," said Bob Gibson with Montana's Fish Wildlife and Parks. Gibson said Montana now has about 500 wolves, well over the goal or 300 biologists were trying to reach when they reintroduced wolves to the region 14 years ago. And with no natural predators, the wolf population could skyrocket. "Bears don't eat them. Cats don’t chase them," Gibson said. But there is still one large obstacle standing in the way of a wolf hunting season. Some say it's too soon to have a hunting season. Carl Bock is the director of Wolf Keep, an animal sanctuary near Missoula. He keeps nine wolves as pets on his property, but is also a hunter himself. "I'm still a sportsman," he said. "I get my deer every year. I've got no problem with that." But he does have a problem with a wolf hunt. He and others throughout the nation say they'd like to see the wolf population recover more before allowing a hunting season. On Monday a federal judge in Missoula could put an stop to this year's hunting season. The judge will hear a case to put an injunction on the season while a lawsuit filed to get wolves back on the endangered species list is heard. With emotions running high on both sides of this issue some wonder if there will ever be a firm decision on the way to manage wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Region. "It's not even a real issue anymore," Bock said. "It’s become so emotionally charged." A license to hunt wolves this year will cost you $19 dollars if you live in Montana and $350 dollars if you live outside of the state. The hunting season is set to begin September 15th. If the judge grants the injunction Monday, stopping the hunting season, Montana's FWP will give anyone who already purchased a license a refund.
/ Source: KULR-TV