Jul 11, 2013 The Associated Press

Montana keeps limits on wolves

HELENA, Mont. -- Montana Fish and Wildlife commissioners on Wednesday increased the bag limit from one to five wolves per person and extended the state's next hunting season, but they also set new restrictions in areas adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.

The commission voted to loosen hunting regulations during its meeting in Helena in an attempt to further decrease the state's wolf population. They amended their plans and set new quotas around Yellowstone after park administrators expressed concern over the effects on the wolf population there.

Hunting and trapping wolves next to Yellowstone, which is a no-hunt zone, flared as an issue after several Yellowstone wolves wearing radio tracking collars were shot last year by hunters in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Commission Chairman Dan Vermillion said the limits are the result of an attempt to reach a middle ground.

"It's not going to cause a long-term threat to the wolf population there," Vermillion said.

There is no statewide quota limiting the total number of wolves that can be killed during the season, but in two special wolf-management units north of Yellowstone, the commission limited the total number of wolves that can be killed to seven.

Hunters and trappers will only be allowed to take one wolf each in those areas.

To the west of Glacier National Park, a quota of two wolves has been set in that management unit, the same as last year.

The rifle season for wolves will run from Sept. 15 to March 15, giving hunters a six-month season this year. The trapping season, the state's second, will again run from Dec. 15 through Feb. 28.

Archery season will be from Sept. 7 through Sept. 14.

Flood warnings in burn areas

Meteorologists are warning of possible flash floods and mudslides in many of the areas burned by Wyoming's numerous wildfires last year.

Wildfires contribute to flooding and mudslides by clearing away vegetation that previously helped to retain rainfall and topsoil.

A Weather Service website about burn areas susceptible to flooding lists several recently burned areas in Wyoming. They include locations outside Riverton, Big Piney, Buffalo, Jackson and Casper.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Jones says half an inch of rainfall in less than an hour can cause a flash flood. This summer has been mostly dry so far but Jones says the season of heavier rainfall from thunderstorms is just getting started in Wyoming.

Empty train off its tracks

DEWEY, S.D. -- Train traffic has resumed near the southwestern South Dakota community of Dewey after a derailment.

An empty BNSF Railway coal train headed from Wyoming to Nebraska derailed early Monday. The railroad says 37 cars of a 123-car train went off the tracks.

The cause wasn't immediately determined.

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