Montana Governor: Remove Whole Wolf Packs

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In perhaps the boldest confrontation of state versus federal power in the wolf wars, Montana Governor Schweitzer wrote the Department of the Interior, notifying the department of "new directives" regarding Montana's wolf management.

First, for Montana’s northwest endangered wolves (north of Interstate 90), any livestock producers who kill or harass a wolf attacking their livestock will not be prosecuted by Montana game wardens. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) wardens will be directed to exercise their prosecutorial discretion by not investigating or citing anyone protecting their livestock.

Further, I am directing FWP to respond to any livestock depredation by removing whole packs that kill livestock, wherever this may occur.

Still further, to protect the elk herds in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley that have been most adversely affected by wolf predation, I am directing FWP, to the extent allowed by the Endangered Species Act, to cull these wolves by whole-pack removal to enable elk herds to recover.

Full text of the letter is available here. In related news, the Washington Cattlemen's Association is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over gray wolf protections.


riojohnmckinney's picture

Wolf Re-Introduction just a tool of the Anti-Hunters

Here in New Mexico, our Elk Herds are notably smaller and with fewer genuine trophy bulls of over 350 inches. I can make this statement because I have lived in this state since 1998. I have and do drive the central and northern portions monthly and whole state including southwestern and southeastern less frequently but still once every year or so. I spent my first several years in New Mexico driving trucks. So I saw a whole lot of the territory not only in New Mexico but all over the country. (Particulary the west though) I just don't see the Elk numbers I used to see and I believe we have deer populating areas they formerly did not. This I believe is due to an under-hunting of the black bears and cougar as well as the introduction of the mexican wolf. Bear Watch contends New Mexico has but 5,300 bears statewide. This number is extremely hard to prove and while the actual number of bears would seem to be higher, the instance of bear contact with humans is indeed measurably higher. I put in for the Valle Vidal draw tag (new hunt)because I have seen large bears and the signs of a large bear population in that Valle and the fact that the bears there traditionally have only been hunted by the fortunate whom have drawn the Valle Vidal Elk tag and purchase a Bear tag in conjunction with that hunt.

By taking a bear, habitat is then free for a relocated younger bear or a younger bear that has been forced away from that territory, by the bigger meaner boars, to exist there. I am of the opinion there are too many bears and other top predators in New Mexico to sustain the Elk and deer and antelope, sheep and oryx at their once healthy levels.

It is a huge point of contention, what is an animal populations healthy level?

Should we clone then re-introduce T-Rex and bring that population to a healthy level?

T-Rex once lived here just as the Mexican Wolf ONCE lived here.

I believe US Fish and Wildlife and senator Binghaman would if they could. (Clone a T-Rex and place him in New Mexico)

I only know this for certain the US  Fish and Wildlife service has constantly ruined youth hunts by scheduling/permitting cattle drives in the Valle Vidal and motocross racing on Ruidoso mountain, during those weekends last year, I was personally on that Valle hunt with my son, I did complain, those complaints fell upon deaf ears all the way up to Senator Binghaman. Shame on US Fish and Wildlife service. The taxpayer and America would greatly benefit from the firing of their whole buerocracy. They are the culprits whom locked every camprground and gate on the dirt roads just 3 months ago for the youth cow elk hunt in unit 6 over Thanksgiving weekend, Every public campground, every dirt road and even a controlled burn to contend with. (Thanks Jemez Ranger district, you people should all be fired.)

Anti- hunters have taken a new tact. Instead of confronting us with logical argument and discussion of wildlife management that could actually benefit all the animals, they have infiltrated the government and are depridating the elk and deer populations with laws protecting the top predators by restricting hunting activity and now with this highly unpopular wolf re-introduction. I surmise that if wolf re-introduction were placed on the ballot, here in New Mexico, it would fail at least 4 voters to 1. It is that terribly unpopular. It is interesting how the proponents claim to be a "majority" and it is interesting that they represent the farthest left of the democratic party. I believe we that hunt are in jeopardy of losing our ability to hunt and our opportunity to hunt both without ever seeing a public ballot. We have too many underhanded beurocratic decisions being made by US Fish and Wildlife and the US Forestry service for this phenomenon to be accidental. I have personally witnessed their scheduling of events that ruined youth hunts three times. I don't believe it is a coincidence. They believe that they are "entitled" and you and I have no business in the wilderness.

I will be more than glad to shoot a bear this year, although I wont eat any of it. It is good wildlife management. Too bad there is no season on the wolf. Again Washington could save millions by simply firing all the US Forestry dept and all the US Fish and Wildlife dept. These are redundant unnecessary agencies anyhow. I am also glad Jeff Binghaman is not running again. He is anti-hunter as he can be. (Although he doesn't admit to it directly.)

Why should an animal selected for extinction in our state because it kills our livestock pets and at times people, why should this animal be forced on us (the people) for re-introduction by some federal entity without a proper vote? I can only surmise that absolute power has gone to the heads of many anti-hunting congressmen and they see a clear way to harm the small farmer/landowner and the hunter all at once. You see through the use of an excessive amount of top predators whole states will be deemed as "poor places to hunt" and thereby end or greatly diminish hunting in their scheme of things. So to my friends who enjoy chicken fried venison and terriyaki elk tenders I would like to issue this open invitation; Come hunt New Mexico, we have some large black bears (I've seen them 500 lbs) and we have a lot of cougar.  We see both bear and cougar statewide and far from actual mountain ranges where they normally reside (because there are too many and are forced to range outside their normal habitat) and while I cannot advise the shooting of a wolf, you may legally shoot all the coyote you would like. If by some chance you do shoot a wolf dont ask and dont tell because the feds will fine you ten thousand dollars and you could spend six months in the hoosegow for your transgression.


John McKinney

Chuck-n-Alaska's picture

I think you guys are

I think you guys are basically screwed since your wolves are some kind of sub-species. You can bet their population  will never  reach "optimum" numbers.

Montana wolf

I think the move to take out the wolf is to stay ahead of the curve.The increase in the nonresident license(642 to 912) will have a negitive effect on the number of licenses sold for a couple of years. Elk numbers are down the license cost up and a severe winter, why go to Montana.


riojohnmckinney's picture

Id like to go to Montana and shoot a wolf

They should sell those wolf tags (inexpensively) as add ons for the Elk and Deer hunters. Killing a wolf is giving 30 head of various hooved animals another year of life. The Wolf thrives in the nether regions (Alaska, Canada etc.) Wolves cannot co-exist with man and/or domesticated animals.

It is wrong that our politicians and a vocal minority are able to perpetuate such a deadly scourge on the animals and people that live in this country. It should be placed on the ballot state by state, for the people to decide. I think the high-handed politicians know that wolf re-introduction would fail. Be careful who you vote for and remember that most politicians were lying sacks prior to ever running for office. They just got really good at being lying sacks of crap.

WishIWasHunting's picture

Right on!

I like that this governor is standing up for state's rights.  The Feds need to get out of the way, and let the states manage the wolf populations. 

Chuck-n-Alaska's picture

Go Guv! Some day the FWS has

Go Guv! Some day the FWS has to learn people come first cows and elk feed people not wolves.

jaybe's picture

Three cheers for the

Three cheers for the Governor! Let's just hope that this kind of action doesn't send the Fed's over the top and cause them to do something (more) stupid!

We need to see more states rights restored; people sitting in D.C. don't have even half a clue about what is going on in the mountains and valleys of Montana. The people who live there and are directly impacted by the wildlife (and their predators) should have the right to control them as it best suits their state.