It’s been another bad week for wolves in the Rocky Mountain States…
MFWP reports: On January 25th the Montana State wildlife officials canceled the Jan. 29 conference call to reconsider a recent court-challenged decision to close the wolf hunting and trapping seasons in two areas north of Yellowstone National Park. The areas were closed by the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission on Dec. 10, in response to concern about the harvest of wolves with collars that supply scientific information to YNP researchers. The seasons, however, were reopened by the district court in Livingston in response to a lawsuit brought by several sporting groups and a state representative from Park County.
FWP officials said today that the best course of action is to fully follow the judge’s Jan. 18 order that prohibits FWP from enforcing the wolf hunting and trapping closure.
“The judge clearly stated that FWP would have to return to the court to apply for an order to dissolve the injunction and have proof that requisite public notice was given. We have simply run out of time,” said Ron Aasheim, FWP’s spokesman in Helena. Aasheim noted that wolf hunting and trapping season is set to end in 34 days, on Feb. 28, and that obtaining a hearing and court action prior to the end of the wolf hunting season would be unlikely.
Meanwhile, The Jackson Hole News and Guide ran an article stating:
Predator zone eliminates wolves
By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: January 25, 2013
Wyoming officials wanted wolves removed from much of the state, and their hands-off management method has worked as designed.
Wolves can be killed in a “predator zone,” which covers 85 percent of the state, by almost any method, at any time, in any number and without a license. The anything-goes rules have had the desired effect: Wyoming Game and Fish Department harvest reports show that 31 of the canines have been killed in the predator zone since October. That’s more than the 20 to 30 animals department biologists estimated roamed the zone last year.
“It appears the predator zone is reducing wolf numbers there significantly,” said Mark Bruscino, Game and Fish’s large carnivore supervisor. “That’s what the management strategy was designed to do.”
Wyoming’s latest wolf management plan regulates wolf hunting in a trophy game area that encompasses about 15 percent of northwest Wyoming, including most of Jackson Hole. A portion of the trophy game area south of Highway 22 and Wilson is a flexible zone that rotates between being a free-fire zone and regulated hunting area.
Duane Smith, the wild species program director for the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, said the state’s management plan outside the trophy hunt area is “essentially an eradication program.”
“If you cut off the ability of a species to disperse, you essentially fence them in,” Smith said.
The alliance has filed one of three lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to try to re-establish protections for wolves in Wyoming.
But Bruscino defended the predator zone approach.
“Minnesota, Idaho and Montana also have incredibly liberal hunting provisions in some areas,” he said. “They aren’t that dissimilar from the predator area.”
And in Colorado, the group Wild Earth Guardians asks:
Sharpshooters, but not Wolves, in Rocky Mountain National Park?
WildEarth Guardians was frustrated but not yet defeated in early January when, in a stunning blow, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it wasn’t feasible for Rocky Mountain National Park to consider a wild wolf restoration, in spite of the Park being overrun by elk. The court concluded that it made more sense for hunters rather than wolves to kill elk in a national park. We believe allowing hunting in a national park sets a dangerous policy precedent. More importantly, wolves would have done what hunters cannot: keep sedentary elk constantly on the move preventing overbrowsing and protecting fragile streamsides and aspen groves. Wolves easily detect and remove diseased and sick prey animals. Guardians is committed to having wolves roam free in Colorado.
Add it all up and it’s seriously starting to look like a policy of speciescide for wolves…