New Study Shows Montanans Are Becoming More Tolerant Of Wolves

Montanans hold diverse opinions about wolves and their management, with attitudes changing over time. A collaborative survey by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and the University of Montana, conducted in 2012, 2017, and 2023, provides key insights for wildlife managers.

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Trends in Tolerance

The survey, reaching 10,000 residents, reveals a growing tolerance for wolves, especially among deer and elk hunters and the general population. In 2023, 74% of the general population expressed tolerance, up from 50% in 2017 and 41% in 2012.

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Dynamics of Wolf Hunting

Positive views on wolf hunting persist but are declining among the general population. While 82% of deer and elk hunters, 86% of landowners, and 100% of wolf hunters support wolf hunting, the general population's support decreased from 71% in 2012 to 58% in 2023.

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Mixed Sentiments on Regulations and Trapping

Support for wolf regulations varies, with lower endorsement from landowners and the general population. Similarly, the general population's support for wolf trapping has declined while remaining high among other surveyed groups.

Satisfaction and Confidence Levels

Satisfaction with wolf management is moderately low, with only 33% of general residents content. FWP's ability to manage wolves varies, with the highest confidence among deer and elk hunters (45%) and the lowest among landowners and wolf hunters and trappers (17.2% and 18%, respectively).

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