Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners have given their initial approval to the 2012 wolf-hunt proposal that would allow trapping and eliminate quotas.

After a nearly four-hour hearing Thursday in which more than 60 people spoke, the commissioners voted to put the proposal out to public comment until June 25.

They will make a final decision in July.

Last winter, hunters failed to meet the 220-wolf quota and the population rose by 15 percent.

FWP officials are seeking to reduce the wolf population by expanding the hunt through lifting quotas, allowing trapping and extending the season to the end of February.

Hunters and ranchers applauded the expansion, and some said it doesn't go far enough.

Animal-rights advocates condemned the plan to allow trapping, calling it barbaric and inhumane.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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