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Be a Voice for Wolves in Montana's upcoming Hunting Season
May 1, 2012
Be a Voice for Wolves in Montana!
On Jan. 19, 2012, the Montana Fish, Wildlife, Parks Commission voted, 3-2, to tentatively approve an extension of the wolf hunt to the end of February in Wildlife Management Unit 250 (which includes the Bitterroot Valley). During the subsequent comment period, hundreds of wolfwatchers submitted statements opposing the proposal not only because it was not based in science, but it was ethically wrong to hunt a pregnant animal – no other animal is treated in this manner.
Upon consideration of the comments received, MtFWP Commissioners showed restraint by unanimously voting against the extension of the hunt in WMU250 as their final decision. At that time, they also made some strong statements re: use of science and ethics in decision-making. Thus, the Commissioners heard our voice!
Interestingly, during MTFWP Commissioner Moody’s radio interview on KUFM-89.1 on Mon., January 23rd, he reported, “The Department pursued every device to remove wolves from the Bitterroot. Sooner or later, you have to think about the real reason for the decline in elk. Just because everyone in the room believes wolves are the cause of declining elk populations, it doesn’t mean they are correct. That is why we insist that the Dept.’s model of wildlife management be based on valid science and all the science is not in yet. First the preliminary reports from the study say it’s not the wolves, it’s the mountain lions….the Bitterroot has to accept that all predators are responsible, not just one species as well as the human manipulation of habitat in the area….serial bad winters, overharvest of cow elk, and habitat fragmentation happened collectively and you cannot single out the wolf, eradicate the wolf and think that will fix the problem. If you do that, it only means there is one less excuse for what the real problem is.” The rest of this radio interview is quite interesting, and it can be accessed in its entirety at, http://www.mtpr.net/program_info/2012-01-23-132 (“Click to Listen”; comes after a brief report on medical marijuana)
May, 2012 – Montana gives initial OK to wolf-hunt plan http://www.newstalkradiowhio.com/news/ap/environment/fwp-commission-hears-wolf-hunt-plan/nN2D4/
Regarding Montana’s public meeting (May 10, 2012), the article states, “The ranchers, hunters and politicians who spoke in favor of the proposal – or demanded the commission loosen the restrictions even further – outnumbered opponents at a rate of about 2-to-1. Supporters said the measures were needed to protect livestock and prevent big-game species numbers from dwindling, and they urged the agency to take further steps, such as allowing snaring.”
IT’S THE 11TH HOUR – It’s time MtFWP heard more voices on behalf of Montana’s wolves. The public comment period ends on June 25th, and we respectfully encourage your participation with comments that demand science-based, ethical decision-making via
the agency’s website at: http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/publicComments/2012_13proposedWolfHunt.html or
via this email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
The proposals include allowing:
(1) hunters to kill more than one wolf,
(2) the purchase of more than one hunting license,
(3) the use of electronic calls,
(5) increasing the quota for the number of wolves killed, and
6) extending the wolf hunting season.
I expect Montana FWP to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring scientifically responsible and highly ethical wildlife management policy. By doing so, its policies will help sustain Montana’s wildlife, in general, and the targeted wolf population, in particular, so that it can serve its vital ecological function in Montana. This can only happen through deliberate restraint.
Science has taught us that drastic and sudden reductions in wildlife populations can have broad implications on the health of a species. In the case of wolves, which have complex social networks, it can lead to the disruption of existing packs and a loss of genetic diversity. Because of this, I urge you to consider all aspects of the wolves’ ecology in your plans.
As the human population increases and moves into and uses the habitat of the wild creatures, further conflicts will continue. Independent research, non-biased recommendations by all special interest groups as well as the general population should be done and considered equally before any policy is put into effect.
As wolves recover in parts of our state, there is a growing need to develop both a better understanding of wolves and how to live harmoniously with them so that we can be afforded the ecological benefits they provide across the landscape. By helping communities – livestock producers, landowners, hikers, hunters, anglers, outdoor enthusiasts and resource professionals – identify and implement working solutions to wolf conflict, we learn to share the landscape with them for the benefit of healthy ecosystems across Montana.
Until now, recreational trapping and snaring have not been allowed in Montana. Trapping and snaring Montana’s wolves on public lands will further undermine this ecologically vital animal, expose other wildlife and non-target animals to unintended injury and death, and unleash a wave of wolf hatred and societal conflict that would only increase with their sport-killing in such an inhumane manner.
A recent University of Montana study found that visitors to the Yellowstone region – hoping mostly to view wolves – spend an estimated $35 million annually in the gateway areas of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Additionally, visitation to Yellowstone has steadily increased in recent years and an estimated 80,000+ visitors have based their decision to visit Yellowstone on the presence of the wolf! As American taxpayers who support our public lands with our tax dollars and as *wolfwatchers* who contribute to the economies of these states, our voice counts on behalf of wolves in the Northern Rockies. The proposed wolf hunting/trapping regulations for 2012-13 are unnecessarily aggressive, and this is unacceptable.
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