A rancher east of Billings legally killed a wolf last week on his property.
Wolf sightings are rarer in eastern Montana than in the western part of the state, but more wolves may be passing through eastern Montana this time of year.
The wolf was a young male and may have been traveling alone according to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
Wolf specialist Abby Nelson said male wolves, especially those between 2 and 3 years old, may travel through unoccupied habitat for breeding purposes.
“They’re not gonna want to breed with their native pack, so they’ll strike out and travel long distances, often in search of a mate,” said Nelson.
Wolves tend to breed late January through mid-February, according to Nelson, and a wolf’s established territory can span an average of 220 square miles or further if they haven’t settled down.