BILLINGS, Mont. -- With at least 223 gray wolves killed by Montana hunters and trappers this winter, Gov. Steve Bullock and wildlife officials say they now have the right rules in place as the state seeks to reduce the predator's population to about 400-500 animals statewide.

Montana's wolf season ends Thursday. Harvest numbers are up roughly 25 percent from last winter.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Jeff Hagener says he expects at most a modest drop in the population as a result.

But a new law loosens hunting and trapping rules for coming seasons.

Bullock said in an interview this week that letting hunters take up to three wolves and the elimination of no-kill zones around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks gives the state the leeway it needs to manage the animals.

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