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September Wolf Hunt Hangs On Earthjustice Lawsuit

Montana more than doubles number of wolves that may be killed

The state of Montana is planning to greatly increase the number of wolves hunters will be allowed to kill this fall. That is unless a federal judge rules in favor of an Earthjustice lawsuit intended to protect wolves.

Montana recently approved plans to allow hunters to kill 186 wolves, up from the 75 wolves allowed in last year's hunt. <Check out what the New York Times has to say!>

But hunters' plans may be stopped if U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy rules before the Sept. 4 start of the hunt and finds the federal government illegally removed wolves from the Endangered Species Act list in Montana and Idaho.

If the hunt goes forward, the increase wolf killing is expected to reduce the overall wolf population in Montana by up to 22 percent, from an estimated 524 at the end of last year to 411 at the end of 2010.

In Idaho, quotas for the fall wolf hunt will be decided in August. State wildlife officials there have already said they will allow trapping and the use of electronic calls in this year's wolf hunt.