Thursday, June 20, 2013
Speak Up for Montana Wolves
The wolf hunts in Montana have been controversial from the start. Wolves in the state were endangered until Congress passed a 2011 budget rider (Sec. 1713) that removed federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain States of Idaho, Montana, and parts of Utah, Washington and Oregon. No longer endangered, the state's first wolf hunt began just months after protections were lifted. The wolf hunting season ended with a total harvest of 166 wolves. During Montana’s 2012/2013 wolf season, hunters and trappers killed a total of 225 wolves. This year Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) aim to increase the harvest and introduce extremely controversial hunting methods to reach their harvest quota.
In May, FWP published the new proposed rules for a 2013-14 wolf hunting and trapping season. The FWP Wildlife Management Chief said the reasons for the proposed changes in MT's upcoming wolf hunting season are twofold. “We’re just looking for opportunities to hunt wolves … and it’s an attempt to reduce the population,” he added “We’ve always had a philosophy of incrementally increasing harvest rates and opportunities.” Although wolves in Montana were considered endangered just two years ago, and the state's wolf population declined by 4% last year, FWP’s proposed season is by far its most aggressive yet.
FWP proposes to implement this “management” plan by:
• extending the general hunting season from four and a half to six and a half months (September 15 to March 31)
• increasing per-person bag limits from one wolf to five
• continuing to allow trapping of wolves
• allowing wolves to be shot over baited traps
• allowing the use of electronic calls (some of which mimic the cries of pups)
• allowing pregnant or lactating female wolves to be killed
• maintaining no statewide and only two hunting district quotas
What you can do:
Comment Period ends on June 24th at 5PM and a final decision will be made at a Commission meeting on July 10th in Helena. Please consider submitting your comment here. The National Wolfwatcher Coalition offers helpful talking points. Thank you!