MISSOULA — Private landowners may kill up to 100 wolves a year they believe are threatening livestock, dogs or people under a new state law that doesn’t count toward Montana’s wolf-hunting season.
But Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners opted to monitor those landowner killings in blocks of 25 instead of an earlier plan to allow 50 kills before review. The decision came during the commission’s meeting in Missoula on Thursday.
The landowner quota is separate from the state’s annual wolf hunt. Hunters must have a wolf license and operate during an annual season, while landowners or their agents can kill wolves “that are a potential threat to human safety, livestock or domestic dogs” at any time of year. That option comes from Senate Bill 200, passed in the last Legislature.
Landowners may also kill wolves in the act of attacking livestock without affecting the 100-animal quota.
But they can only use that privilege on private land — not on public-land grazing allotments. And while landowners may allow private hunters to kill threatening wolves on their property under the quota, the landowner (not the hunter) would be responsible for any illegal wolf kill.
So, for example, if a rancher told elk hunters on his land they had his permission to shoot wolves near his cattle, they could do so under the landowner quota without using their hunting licenses. But if a hunter killed a wolf after the quota was exceeded or somewhere that the wolf posed no believable threat, the landowner could be liable for the violation.
On Thursday, the commissioners also set rules for the 2014-15 wolf hunting season, which remained generally the same as last year. The coming rifle season will run from Sept. 15 to March 15, with a bag limit of five wolves per hunter. Two hunting districts near Yellowstone National Park have quotas of three wolves, to protect packs popular with wildlife watchers in the park.
Hunters have no quota on wolves except in those areas close to Yellowstone and Glacier National parks. Last year, hunters killed 128 wolves while trappers took another 97.
Landowners have killed far fewer wolves under previous shoot-on-sight rules for livestock protection. FWP wildlife manager Quentin Kujula said the past several years averaged less than 10.
“Landowners want the opportunity to deal with the situation themselves,” FWP director Jeff Hagener said after the unanimous approval of the quota. “They don’t want to wait for compensation for wolf depredation or for (federal) Wildlife Services to arrive. This way, they don’t have additional costs, and we the taxpayers don’t have additional costs.”
That prompted commissioners Matthew Tourtlotte and Gary Wolfe to amend the landowner rule. The original version required commission review after the first 50 wolves were killed. Tourtlotte and Wolfe proposed making checks in 25-kill blocks.
“I’m really concerned about a perception there’s open season on wolves on private land in Montana,” Wolfe said. “This is to give landowners the ability to address legitimate perceived threats, not to create an open season on private land. It’s easier to become more liberal than try and back off in the future.”
Commission chairman Dan Vermillion said estimates of the state’s wolf population show it has been able to absorb the impact of no-quota hunting seasons. Montana has around 600 wolves.
“I think this is the kind of program that helps foster more tolerance for wolves on the landscape,” Vermillion said.
When wolves were protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, Montanans felt powerless to deal with the predators’ impact, and that fostered intolerance for their presence, he argued.
…that Animal Planet spreads their latest wolf lies.
Contact info for Discovery (their corporate parent).
Discovery: 571-262-4899 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 571-262-4899 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Feel free to call them and tell them how you feel. Time to take a stand.
Petition by Elizabeth Huntley
You can leave a comment for Animal Planet at this number 1-571-262-4899 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-571-262-4899 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting - it’s the best way to do so – thank you!
Blood sells but it shouldn’t
I’ve written many essays about how media (print and film) often offers sensationalist and thoroughly misleading stories about various nonhuman animals (animals). Now, Animal Planet is guilty of putting forth sensationalist lies about wolves. Concerning gray wolves, Brooks Fahy, Executive Director of Predator Defense, alerted that they’ve recently written: “Razor sharp teeth, killer instincts, and senses so precise they hear your beating heart, and your fear. They’re on the hunt, and now with numbers growing out of control, they’re threatening humans like never before.”
These lies — there have been only two verified accounts of wolves killing humans — are to publicize Anmal Planet’s series called Monster Week and their episode titled “Man-Eating Super Wolves.”
(Note: The following was based on an earlier post I wrote on December 18, 2012, entitled Wolf Hunters Are Guilty of Hate Crimes. The wolf hunting and the seal/sea lion killing situations are so similar that about all I had to do was substitute the words seal/sea lions for wolf.)
It occurs to me that the killing of seal and sea lions by those who detest them qualifies as a hate crime. By definition, a hate crime is: A crime, usually violent, motivated by prejudice or intolerance toward a member of a social group.
Well, you don’t get a much more social group than a herd of sea lions—and you don’t find any greater prejudice or intolerance than among those who hate the seal family.
In addition to charges of pre-meditated murder and kidnapping, the person or persons who ran over the mother seal and left with her newborn pup in Ocean Park, WA, should be charged with committing hate crimes.
The same goes for the people who have been hatefully killing sea lions up at Bonneville Dam.
Talk about a bad case of self-entitlement—when it comes to wildlife, Idaho hunters give new meaning to the words. Ever since wolves were removed from the endangered species list, hunters in Idaho have been making a federal case of the fact that their “game” is feeding wild predators (as nature intended).
Meanwhile, you hear next to nothing about poachers, who take a bigger bite of the “resource” than wolves ever could. Their reaction to poaching seems to be: “Why get excited about that? At least they’re humans like us.”
To challenge poaching is to challenge all human entitlement to prey species who here long before humans even set foot on this continent.
It’s another case of the “it’s all here for us” mentality—on steroids.
If you’re interested in seeing more graphic images and reading an article bemoaning the potential threat to domestic reindeer herds numbering in the tens of thousands, be my guest. Personally, I can’t stomach any more wolf death or happy stories about any human’s way if life. Humans are the only plague on the planet: