National Park Service officials say hunters killed three Yellowstone wolves in Montana during the first week of the state's wolf hunting season.

According to a news release, the wolves belonged to the Junction Butte Pack, which calls northern Yellowstone and the area north of the park home.

The pack's size was reduced from 27 to 24 with two female pups and one female yearling being killed.

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Officials say wolves in the northern part of the park spend roughly 5% of their time outside of the park, typically in the late fall.

"Recent state changes to hunting and trapping have lifted restrictions within these units making Yellowstone's wolf population in the northern range extremely vulnerable," the release states.

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said park officials will continue to work with Montana to make the case for reinstating quotas that would "protect the core wolf population in Yellowstone as well as Montana's direct economic interest derived from hundreds of millions spent by park visitors each year."

The Junction Butte Pack is the most viewed wolf pack in the world.

That's because they den within view of the Northeast Entrance Road and the road to Slough Creek campground.

The pack had eight pups in 2021.

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