A proposal initially approved by the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission would extend the Bitterroot Valley's wolf hunt into April.

The commission last week voted 3 to 2 to extend the season 'til then or when the area's quota of 18 gray wolves is met. So far this season, less than 5 wolves have been taken.

The commissioners were not unanimous in the decision, which now goes out for public comment. Chairman Bob Ream and Commissioner Ron Moody voted against. Moody was worried about the timing of the hunt with normal birthing times of wolves.

The area has suffered declining elk populations in the years that include reintroduction of the gray wolf to the Pacific Northwest.

The current wolf season ends February 15, and the hunt has been successful in reaching quotas in other parts of Montana, which shuts down the season there, but lets the season remain open in the Bitterroot.

The commission will consider the public comment and take a final vote on the extension in February.