BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge has blocked the state from shutting down gray wolf hunting and trapping near Yellowstone National Park. Wednesday's restraining order from Judge Nels Swandal allows hunting and trapping to resume in areas north of the park. State officials halted the practice last month after the deaths of several wolves collared by park scientists for research.

The closure prompted a Wednesday lawsuit from sporting groups that said the public was not given enough chance to weigh in. Swandal says the lack of public notice appears to violate state law and the Montana Constitution. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim says state wildlife commissioners followed proper public notice requirements before closing the areas on Dec. 10. Swandal scheduled a January 14 hearing in the case.