Whether gray wolves in the Rocky Mountain states have recovered to sustainable population levels and no longer need Endangered Species protection has been an ongoing controversy here.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service and several plaintiffs in a lawsuit recently agreed that numbers in states including Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have reached sustainable numbers.
The agreement could mean de-listing of wolves in those states and returning management to state wildlife departments.
With numbers three times those originally sought, wolves in the Rockies were de-listed a few years ago.
State wildlife agencies took over management which included hunting wolves.
After a year of state management another lawsuit sent the issue back to federal district court in Missoula where U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy reinstated federal protection for wolves.
The latest proposal would de-list wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, but afford protection for wolves in Washington, Utah and Oregon where small populations exist.