Study finds Montanans are increasingly OK with wolves -Three-quarters of surveyed residents now self-describe as tolerant, up from half in 2017
February 1, 2024
Following the 2022-23 wolf hunting and trapping seasons, FWP partnered with the University of Montana to conduct surveys of resident Montanans to assess their views regarding wolves and the management of wolves in Montana. This research builds upon similar research conducted in 2012 and 2017. Survey findings reveal that tolerance for wolves on the Montana landscape is increasing with time. This is particularly true for general residents, resident deer/elk license holders, and resident private landowners. There continues to be considerable tolerance for the concept of wolf hunting in Montana across all four study groups. However, general residents are slightly intolerant of wolf trapping. Moderately low levels of satisfaction with wolf management in the state were identified for all four groups studied. And while general residents and resident deer/elk license holder report being somewhat confident in FWP to manage wolves, resident private landowners and resident wolf license holders report low levels of confidence in FWP. General residents have the most positive attitudes towards wolves in the state. Resident deer/elk license holders also tend to have more positive attitudes towards wolves, at least compared to resident private landowners and resident wolf license holders. These research results speak to the contentious nature of wolf management in Montana, and the importance of continued efforts of FWP to involve the public in wolf-related outreach/education, wolf management decisions, and wolf season setting processes.
Author(s): Alexander L. Metcalf, Elizabeth C. Metcalf, Max Birdsong, Michael S. Lewis, and Justin Gude