Montana Bill Seeks to Remove Federal Wolf Management

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The Missoulian has an article up about a new wolf bill that will be introduced to the state Legislature. State Senator Joe Balyeat, a Republican from Bozeman, plans to try again at passing a wolf management bill that he introduced in 2009. Its a powerful piece of legislation that directly takes on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) under the 10th Amendment.

“It’s still a 10th Amendment exercise to wrest control of wolves out of the hands of the federal government,” Marbut (a co-author of the bill) said. “It has been the traditional function of state police power to manage and regulate wildlife within the state. Only in recent times has there been construed authority for the feds to manage wildlife. When the Endangered Species Act has been argued in court, the claim for authority the feds make is the commerce clause. But how many wild wolves have you seen sold across state lines? The answer is zero.”

But the bill goes further than just addressing wolf management and also takes on the issue of liability for wolf damages, injuries and deaths.

It would make anyone “responsible for inflicting wolves on Montana or preventing state management of wolves” liable for damages to anyone injured or killed by a wolf, including anyone “party to a lawsuit with the purpose of preventing or delaying the implementation of state management of wolves.”


jaybe's picture

We keep seeing this issue

We keep seeing this issue coming up in many different forms. The federal government just wants to have control over every aspect of our lives. As CVC said, the states need to stand up to the feds and tell them in no uncertain terms that they can handle their own affairs, thank you very much. The fact that the judges have invoked the commerce clause for their authority just shows how thin their argument is and how tenuous is their position. That's one (only one) of the problems with our courts these days - they have stretched their arguments and the scope of their power way beyond the limits of logic and reasonableness just to pass a  judgment against hunters and conservation groups.

Another example is what is currently happening in the Lybia situation (March, 2011). The U.S. and several other countries launched an attack on Lybia, presumably to protect the Lybian citizens who were being attacked by their own dictator leader, Quaddafi. Now, after a few days of bombs and missle strikes, and a no-fly zone has been effectively established, the control of this situation has been turned over to NATO. And who in the world is NATO, and why are they involved in this? A little history refresher is in order.

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was originally established in 1949 as an alliance of North American and European countries to stand together against the Soviet Union. It was determined that an attack against any one of these allied states would be considered an attack against them all, and the Soviets would have to answer to their united answer - presumably a military answer.

Now - which one of these member countries was being attacked by the Soviet Union when they decided to set up a no-fly zone over Lybia? Oh, that's right - the Soviet Union no longer exists. This organization should have been dismantled when the Soviet Union was dismantled after the fall of the iron curtain. But never mind that - "we have jobs and people seated as representatives in this august organization - and besides, we like doing things this way - don't confuse us with facts!"

OK - enough of a rant. I hope that the federal government loses this one and the state of Montana is allowed to mange their own wildlife population as it best suits their needs and those of the people of Montana.



ecubackpacker's picture

The problem with the last

The problem with the last paragragh is the Federal Gov't can't be sued by the people, so who will they be sueing?

I agree the Feds should step in along side the state to help protect endangered species from becoming threatened or even extinct. But as soon as the species is delisted from the threatened statis, the Feds should relinguish all the management control to the state. I really don't think the Feds should have control, they should just ensure the species is soundly managed.

This issue has been beat to death. It time for the states to assume the management of wolves free from Gov't interference. The problem is the Gov't will hold the states hostage by refusing to fund different programs the states want. I thought that was the definition of a bribe at one time in our society.  

Ca_Vermonster's picture

This has been going on for a

This has been going on for a long time, states versus Feds, Feds versus states.  I fully believe that a state should have the right to manage their animals in the way that they see fit.  Heck, the state is not steppign in on every elk, deer, goat hunt, etc.  Why must they do it for wolves?  If Montana has a sustainable population of wolves, one that they can live with, they should know best. If they want to take a few out of the mix, more power to them.

gatorfan's picture

Good point!

"I fully believe that a state should have the right to manage their animals in the way that they see fit"

Good point Sean!

I truly believe that this is all adversely affecting a good source of state tax and income...hunting!  The wolves were reintroduced for good reasons but the entire scenario and the consequences were not thought out thoroughly enough in my opinion.  These animals are putting a serious dent in the elk and deer populations and without the large herds, there will be less hunting.  With less hunting, there will be fewer hunters (both resident and non-resident).  And of course with fewer hunters comes fewer dollars going into the very programs that are managing all of this in the first place.

I feel a little dizzy now.

Back to your regularly scheduled program...


CVC's picture

Why wolves?  Excellent

Why wolves?  Excellent question.  I think it comes down to this.  The wolf represents a spiritual creature that symbolizes the rising up of nature against man's brutal attack on it.  Man, especially the gun toting, bible clutching ones are evil and have attempt to commit genocide against the wolf.  The wolf has now risen and is fighting back.  The underdog, he is the champion for liberals and tree huggers in their fight against those that would dare to kill animals.

The wolf is their surrogate fighter against us.  Forget the fact that the wolf is wiping out elk herds, killing sheep, cattle and sometimes threatening man, the wolf is beyond reproach.  Kind of goes back to dances with wolves.

hawkeye270's picture

I agree with you that the

I agree with you that the management of wildlife lies with the states. As well as most other things such as health care like you mention but since this is a hunting website I will leave those topics to the political section so that people coming on here to research and talk about hunting do not have to filter through that stuff.

Do I think that the Endangered Species Act is enheritantly evil and bad legislation... No I don't. I think that the federal government needs to play some role in wildlife managment. Like stepping in when a species survival is threatened. But when that species is no longer threatened... the federal government needs to get the heck out of there because they are no longer needed in that situation and are only wasting resources at that point. As I have stated before... Idaho and Montana need to be given back management responsibilities of their wolves since their populations have met the delisting requirements spelled out in the Environmental Impact Statement. I personally do not believe that Wyoming's plan was reasonable (declaring wolves varmints in large portions of the state is not going to allow for the continuation of that species) and I hope that they use sound wildlife management to come up with their next plan.

CVC's picture

States must learn to stand up

States must learn to stand up to the federal government and fight against power grabs.  The federal government has abused and exceeded its authority and power granted by the US Constitution.  Our system always was for a limited federal government, but the Constitution has been ignored and the federal government has used our tax dollars to gain more power.  The hold the dollars hostage until the states do their bidding.

The health care reform law is the latest abuse of the Constitution by the federal government and all states that believe in a limited federal government should join in and sue.  I don't know if Montana has joined the other states in the lawsuit, but if they haven't they should.  Whether it is wildlife management or health care, states must unite in fighting back against the federal government.