Wolf photo

A back and gray female wolf named "Half Black" from the Druid pack stands in the road near Lamar River bridge in December 2003.

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Montana’s archery season for wolves opened Saturday, and the following day, the first wolf was killed.

Ron Aasheim, spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said the wolf, a male, was harvested in Stillwater County.

The kill marks the first in the state’s 2011 wolf hunt, which is only the second of its kind to take place. The first occurred in 2009, and both hunts have been surrounded by debate over how many wolves should be killed and whether they should be hunted at all.

This season, hunters are allowed to kill 220 wolves — nearly triple the 2009 quota of 75.

The wolf killed Sunday was in one of 14 wolf management units, which are designated zones with different sub quotas. In its unit, which stretches from the Bozeman area to Sidney, up to three wolves may be killed.

The FWP website shows that two wolves have been harvested already this season, including one in the northwestern part of the state, but Aasheim said that kill did not take place and was accidentally tallied online.

This year’s hunt is taking place after wolves in Montana and Idaho were removed from the federal endangered species list by language inserted into this year’s budget by western lawmakers.

Aasheim said 8,110 hunting licenses had been sold as of Tuesday, including 51 non-resident licenses. At the close of the season in 2009, a total of 15,603 licenses had been sold.

This year, the early backcountry season for hunting wolves with rifles begins Sept. 15, and the general season begins Oct. 22.

On Sunday, a rally will be held at Bogert Park “to show support for wolves in Montana and across the nation and to protest the hunts planned for this fall.”

Jennifer Hane, a student at Montana State University, is organizing the event. She said she was “particularly disturbed” to hear of the wolf killed by archery and was concerned that it is a “less humane method of hunting.”

“I’m concerned that hunts in general don’t represent responsible and compassionate stewardship of wildlife,” she said.

She said she hopes the rally will give wolf advocates an opportunity to have their voices heard. The event will begin with speeches at 2 p.m. Participants will then march to the Gallatin County Courthouse, picket and return to Bogert Park.

Carly Flandro may be reached at 582-2638 or cflandro@dailychronicle.com.

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