(1) These rules address when and how the department may carry out nonlethal and lethal control of wolves.
(2) To undertake control actions that are consistent with this rule and the Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, the department may:
(a) take control actions;
(b) authorize USDA Wildlife Services pursuant to an interagency cooperative agreement;
(c) authorize the Department of Livestock pursuant to an interagency cooperative agreement; or
(d) issue permits to individuals pursuant to ARM 12.9.1305.
(3) The department is responsible for the status, conservation, and management of the gray wolf population as a state species in need of management, game animal, or a furbearer as guided by the Montana Gray Wolf Management Plan, administrative rules, and statutes.
(4) Control of the gray wolf by an agency or an individual may include nonlethal and lethal actions. Specific control actions shall connect in both time and location to a wolf or wolves with the highest likelihood of having injured or killed the livestock.
(5) The department shall take an incremental approach to lethal control.
(6) Killing or harassing a wolf not in conformance with these rules is subject to criminal penalties pursuant to 87-5-106, 87-5-111, 87-6-201, and 87-6-203, MCA, as applicable.