- Associated Press - Monday, January 20, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The number of livestock killed by wolves in Montana declined in 2013, but wildlife officials say that doesn’t indicate a trend, yet.

In 2012, Montana ranchers filed 125 claims with the Department of Livestock’s Livestock Loss Board, which paid out $102,700. Last year, the board received 96 claims and paid out just under $87,000. The 2013 payments for the first time included reimbursement for four cattle deaths in Park County attributed to a grizzly bear.

Livestock loss program coordinator George Edwards tells The Billings Gazette (http://bit.ly/1jpDBFa ) that he believes the increased hunting and trapping of wolves has helped livestock producers.

USDA Wildlife Services state director John Steuber says he won’t consider it a trend until depredations decrease for three to five consecutive years.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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