Wolf advocates warn U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of coming lawsuit

http://missoulian.com/news/local/wolf-advocates-warn-fws-of-coming-lawsuit/article_76c1e772-ce25-55bc-9269-272cfd222e1a.html

 

A coalition of wolf advocates has warned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that they plan to sue if the agency doesn’t extend its supervision of wolf populations in Montana and Idaho another five years.

“When the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is offering five tags to every wolf hunter and Idaho Fish and Game is putting sharpshooters in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and funding aerial gunning in the Lolo Zone, we feel renewing another five years of federal monitoring is warranted,” said Matthew Koehler of Missoula-based Wild West Institute, one of five groups putting FWS on notice. “Given the situation on the ground and the ways state policy is changing, we think the prudent thing to do is keep monitoring wolf populations so they’re not hunted and trapped back to the brink of extinction.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Friends of the Clearwater and Cascadia Wildlands joined Wild West Institute in the notice. By law, groups objecting to a federal agency must give it 60 days advance warning to offer time to craft a solution before going to court.

Gray wolves were extirpated from the continental U.S. in early 20th century. The Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves in remote areas of Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1994 and 1995. The wolves were protected under the federal Endangered Species Act until 2011, when Congress passed a provision removing their listed status in Idaho and Montana. However, FWS personnel were required to monitor wolf populations for five years after giving state wildlife agencies local control of the species.

Wolves remain a federally protected species in Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and the Great Lakes region. Congress is considering several provisions to change or remove those protections this year.

In early January, Idaho Department of Fish and Game workers improperly collared two wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness along the Montana border while carrying out a helicopter-assisted elk-collaring project. The agency reported the incident to the U.S. Forest Service, which suspended Idaho’s permission for further helicopter work in the wilderness pending a review of the state’s practices.

Idaho has also maintained a state-sponsored wolf-removal program in addition to a public wolf hunting season.

In Montana, resident hunters may buy up to five wolf licenses a season for $19 each. The state removed its annual quotas on wolf seasons in 2012.

UPDATES IN THE WORLD OF FOOTLOOSE MONTANA!

 

2/29/2016 

http://www.footloosemontana.org/

https://www.gofundme.com/dyqky7ng

 

 

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Greetings friends of Footloose Montana! Spring is just around the corner, so it’s a perfect occasion to talk about the group that works everyday to protect your pets and public lands, Footloose Montana!

First off we’d like to say thank you to everyone who donated to us over the holiday season. You are true heroes to the people, pets and wildlife of Montana. We couldn’t continue to educate the public about the dangers of trapping without your generous support.

Second, we’re excited to announce that we’ve finally found the time to completely overhaul our website! Every page has been updated, and there is TONS of great information and resources on there… so check it out after you read the letter here!

We’ve been oh so hard at work already in 2016. With close to 10 workshops already this year, it’s safe to say that 2016 is going to be the biggest year ever for Footloose. We’ve been in Billings, Bozeman, Whitefish, Red Lodge, Livingston, and Missoula already this year, and we’re coming to Bigfork on March 8th and Helena March 10th! Make sure to email

info@footloosemontana.org if you’d like to set up a workshop in your area! We also have a Footloose Film and Dance night coming up at the Roxy Theater in May, so keep your eye on the website and Facebook for more information!

 

On a more somber note, we know that fur trapping has been going on in full force around Montana. Some species have been trapped over quota, and we’ve already seen over 10 dogs and 2 cats trapped

just since January 1st. There was also a close call with children finding foothold traps set near some apartments in Missoula. We must continue to educate the public about this environmentally atrocious and barbarically cruel practice. So let us know where we need to be. We’re looking for opportunities for Spring 2016. Is there an area near you that could use some help with beaver fencing? Do you know an area where traps are causing trouble for pets and recreating humans? Does your hometown need a trap-release workshop? Maybe you are hosting an event and you’d like to have Footloose there with a table…just let us know!

 

Thank you again so much for your continued support, we couldn’t do it without you. We are here to serve the good people, pets and wildlife of Montana, so please feel free to contact us anytime.

Keep reading for more news from around Montana!

-Best Regards, Chris and Footloose Montana

 

 

 

BALLOT INITIATIVE UPDATE

 

We still get questions about Initiative I-177, the ballot initiative written by Footloose members that would ban commercial and recreational fur-trapping on Montana’s public lands. They are actively gathering signatures and raising funds, but are their own entity. If you are looking for information, you must contact that separate committee. Thanks!

Email: montanatrapfree@gmail.com

Website: www.montanatrapfree.org

Gofundme Donations Page:https://www.gofundme.com/dyqky7ng

 

Service Spotlight: Crush!

Crush lost his leg in trap near Great Falls on Christmas Eve, and then had to undergo a high amputation. But the folks at Pet Paw-See in Great Falls took care of him for over two months, and he was just adopted yesterday by a member of the Footloose family! Welcome home, Crush!

Trapping and slaughter of hundreds of Yellowstone bison begins

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/trapping-and-slaughter-of-hundreds-of-yellowstone-bison-begins/ar-BBpAcKT?ocid=spartanntp

Josh Hafner

Yellowstone National Park officials started trapping bison Monday as part of an annual effort to kill hundreds of the area’s iconic animals through hunting or shipment to slaughterhouses.

Government agencies aim to drive down the bison population by as many as 900 this year to reduce the mammals’ centuries-old migration beyond the park’s boundaries and into Montana, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

A plan calls for eventually culling bison in the park from about 5,000 down to 3,000.

Efforts to winnow the bison’s migration came after fears from Montana ranchers and landowners that the bison may vie with cattle for grazing space or transmit disease, according to the Associated Press.

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About half of Yellowstone’s bison have been exposed to brucellosis, an animal disease that causes abortion in cattle, AP reports. There are no recorded cases of it moving from bison to cattle.

“There is recognition by both disease regulators and wildlife managers that the risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle is minute,” the National Park Service told Vice magazine last year.

In 1995, Montana sued the National Park Service over bison migration into the state. The settlement created a plan requiring hundreds of bison to be captured and killed each year.

A record-high 1,726 bison were captured in the park in 2008, according to AP, with most sent to slaughterhouses.

Meat and hides from the slaughtered bison are distributed among members of Native American Tribes, according to the National Park Service.

In 1902, the herd of bison in Yellowstone dwindled to as low as 23. The park now counts near-record levels of its bison, according to AP, which biologists cherish as genetically pure.

While hunters had killed more than 300 bison as of Sunday, the Chronicle reported, the park said it wasn’t enough to negate the need for regular capture and slaughter.

“We understand that many people are uncomfortable with the practice of capture and slaughter—we are too, so we’re looking for additional alternatives,” the Park Service said in a guide to the controversy on its site.

Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner

Francis Marsh, right, a Cayuse Indian from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Ore., stands next to a bison he shot and killed near Gardiner, Montana on Feb. 12, 2011.© Ted S. Warren, AP Francis Marsh, right, a Cayuse Indian from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Ore., stands next to a bison he shot and killed near Gardiner, Montana on

MT Trapping Updates

FUR PRICES DOWN!!!
“That’s right – low, low fur prices.  Bottom of the barrel.  In most cases, fur will sell for far less than what you’ll spend to trap it.”
Why are fur prices going to be so low?  Two words.  China and Russia.  Those two countries basically control the modern world market for wild fur because their citizens purchase the vast majority of the garments produced with the fur we trap.” Prices for dead Coyote, Beaver, Pine Marten, Bobcat, Wolves and Fisher are expected to hold. Trappers are claiming they are simply stockpiling the rest.
Trapping Today’s 2015-2016 Fur Market Update


Photo courtesy Montana Trappers Association, “fur auction, small”.
Reproduced for educational purposes.

TRAPPING DISTRICT CLOSURES
Hopefully  our  monitoring the quota harvest reports  for Montana furbearers have helped spare more unnecessary trapping deaths for Otter and Bobcat.

Bobcat is now closed in Districts 1, 2, 3, i.e. Northwestern, Western and Southwestern Montana. District 3 closed 8 over quota. Historically, over half of the 7 districts, including these three have gone over quota. In 2013/14, i.e. 62 extra bobcats were reported killed in the Districts 1,2,3,5. We especially appreciate FWP taking a proactive stance and closing District 2. In 6 years, from the 2008 through the 2013/14 bobcat trapping season a minimum of 11,062 bobcats were killed in Montana.


It might not seem much to save even one, but it is everything to that one. We don’t know how many might have gotten killed over the quota. Thanks for making those calls and being the voice for Otters, too!

ANOTHER KILLING CONTEST
A repeat of last January predator trapping and hunting killing contest, sponsored by groups such as Montana Trapper’s Association (MTA), but this time instead of for a weekend, it ran from Jan 8 to Jan 17th. We did not accept the MTA request  that we post the flyer fearing it would only draw more attention, more participation to their killing contest. That does not mean we are not following up on  this. Note they do not call it a killing contest but that does not make it less so! More to come.

EXPOSURE OF CRUEL UGLY TRAPPING
The much awaited article,  America’s trapping boom relies on cruel and grisly tool,  by award winner journalist, Tom Knudson, sheds more light on what becomes of millions of animals, annually, and in particular Bobcat, here out West, in the disturbing significant world of trapping. “Every year, 150,000 trappers here capture and kill up to 7 million wild animals, more than any nation on earth. In all, more than 20 species are targeted for their fur, from foxes to raccoons, coyotes to river otters. But it is the spotted, marble-white fur of one animal that has sparked a Wild West-like trapping boom in recent years.” We were honored to help with Tom’s informative investigation and trust exposure and increased awareness will lead to an end of trapping. Be sure to check out the link to the video of the a leghold trap snapping shut on various items.


Credit: Max Whittaker for Reveal

EFFORTS TO PROTECT FISHER
The rare fisher is getting closer to federal protections under the ESA. Legally trapped still in Montana, other Fishers, too, here have fallen victim as “incidental” “non-targets”. In December of 2014, a Fisher was killed in a conibear trap set for Pine Marten in the Bitterroots. More info to come on how you can help. Click to read  “Northern Rockies Fishers One Step Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection.

PETS CONTINUE TO GET TRAPPED IN MONTANA
An Akita was recently caught for days in a leghold trap set for wolves near Alberton, Montana. The dog was reportedly missing for six days!  Solid ice had to be chipped away from the trap to free the dog. The trapper was cited for not checking his wolf traps for the required 48 hours but will he have to pay the vet bills? The dog will most likely lose its leg.

Searching for the perfect Christmas tree, Petty Creek, near Alberton, a Chihuahua,  Dutley, was caught in a leghold trap, and luckily was released quickly apparently uninjured.

A dog was caught in a snare while accompanied fortunately close by its owner. Ghost town in Drummond.

Trap reports for Bracket Creek area north of Bozeman, Flathead national forest, Pleasant Valley……..

For updates see Trap Alerts  on our website.
Pets have us to look out for them but what of the average 60,000 reported wildlife annually trapped and killed in Montana that legally cannot be rescued and helped?

ANIMAL PLANET DOCUMENTARY FOR TRAPPERS?
Just in, Montana Trappers Association says because “of your relentless attacks on trapping” they have signed to do a trapping documentary with Animal Planet.  Imagine what kind of planet animals would succumb to if trappers had their way. It’s incompatible for a show that features the wonderous animals we share this planet with and their sponsors to promote such cruelty and trapping myths.  More to come on what you can do.

DAILY HAPPENINGS
Like, follow us, and invite friends on Facebook and be sure to check out our website www.trapfreemt.org for ongoing educational information, updates and our online store to purchase, i.e. “Ranger” story of a wolf, t-shirts.

Please lend a hand, be our eyes and ears, promote TFMPL, collaborate with us and let us know you how you are willing to do more for wildlife! 

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

Tis the ugly season of prevalent trapping!

trrapped-wolf-facebook
Recently a missing Golden was caught in a trap for 3 days up Sweeney Creek Loop, Florence area. She broke off several teeth biting the leghold trap to try to free herself. Her foot was badly swollen. She has been reunited with her owner.

Today, Sunday, a 30 lb dog, Molly, is now reported missing up Sweeney Creek. On Wed, Dec 15th, the legal trapping of wolves in Montana begins resulting in a whole new arsenal of leghold weaponry of mass destruction will be out on the lands.

Trappers are not required to assist trapped pets. They only have to report any they trap within 24 hrs to FWP. They have no required trap check interval though, except for wolf trap sets must be visibly checked every 48 hours.

Be sure to check with the regional Montana FWP office if your pet is missing. To see contact numbers visit our website at http://www.trapfreemt.org/about-trapping/incidental-trapped-dog-reports-montana

Please share with us any areas of known, spotted or suspicious trapping.

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

MT TRAP-RELEASE WORKSHOP SERIES

You’re invited to attend the
FOOTLOOSE WINTER TRAP-RELEASE WORKSHOP SERIES!
Coming soon to your area!
Hello friends of Montana’s pets and wildlife! We wanted to make you aware of some exciting events coming up in your area. We are planning a series of trap release workshops statewide. If you have never attended a trap-release workshop, we strongly encourage you to do so. There is no better way to learn how to spot traps in the wild, how to protect your pets from traps and how to release them in worst-case scenarios. This is also a great chance to meet like-minded individuals and to learn more about the current trapping situation in Montana. If you have attended a workshop before, its still a good opportunity to get a refresher, bring a friend, or make some new friends…so we hope to see you all there!

Workshops are free and open to the public, although we do ask that you bring a can of food for the local food bank, or pet food for the humane society. So check out the schedule below, and if we aren’t doing a workshop in your area contact us so we can set one up!

Best regards,

Chris and Footloose Montana

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9th 6:30pm@ Billings Public Libary (Billings, MT)

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15th 6pm@ Bozeman Public Library (Bozeman, MT)

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16th 6pm @ The Shane Center (Livingston, MT)

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6th 6pm@ Whitefish Public Library (Whitefish, MT)
IN THE WORKS
GREAT FALLS (JANUARY 2016)
KALISPELL (JANUARY 2016)
Please consider donating to help us with the costs associated with putting on workshops! Your donation is 100% tax deductible…

MT Wardens seeking information on elk poaching at Montana game range

 

http://helenair.com/news/crime-and-courts/wardens-seeking-information-on-elk-poaching-at-montana-game-range/article_6db2e2a9-7871-53a5-a5a7-09bf1c3e7833.html

HAMILTON – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are hoping the public will help them track down people who killed two elk on a game range and left one to rot Wednesday.

FWP Warden Capt. Joe Jaquith said someone killed two elk on the Three Mile Game Range northeast of Stevensville either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

The poachers drove behind a closed sign to retrieve one of the elk and left the other cow elk behind.

“We are hoping to talk with anyone coming in or out of the game range (Wednesday) morning who saw a vehicle with an elk in the back,” Jaquith said. “We are interested in getting any information that people might be able to provide about that.”

Jaquith urged anyone with information to call the TIP-MONT hotline at 800-847-6668.

Anyone providing information that leads to an arrest in the case will be eligible for a reward. Those providing information can remain anonymous.

Trap-free Montana initiative reaches signature-gathering stage

538458_532697610088640_841278349_n

http://missoulian.com/news/local/trap-free-montana-initiative-reaches-signature-gathering-stage/article_1506f517-eedb-5e9f-bb51-e70f73be167a.html

October 15, 2015 8:00 am  • 

A proposed ballot initiative to restrict and criminalize trapping on Montana’s public lands has passed its first hurdle.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch’s office approved the gathering of signatures for the November 2016 general election on Oct. 6. Proponents have set out to gather 24,175 qualified signatures from at least 34 house districts by June 17.

The numbers represent 5 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election and one-third of Montana’s house districts.

It’s the third time in six years an anti-trapping initiative has reached the signature-gathering stage. Efforts in 2010 and last year failed to garner the required number of signatures.

Initiative 177 would prohibit most commercial and recreational trapping and snaring for animals on public lands and establish misdemeanor criminal penalties for violations.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks could still use certain traps if nonlethal methods have been tried and found ineffective. Government employees and their agents could trap problem predators such as bears or mountain lions, or problem beavers or muskrats to mitigate damage to irrigation works on public lands.

Trapping by public officials could also be used to conduct “specified scientific and wildlife management activities,” according to the approved language of the initiative.

Proponents of I-177 say the law would address public safety concerns, control the “inhumane and indiscriminate” nature of traps, and relieve what they call the unsustainable pressure trapping puts on dwindling and endangered species.

Opponents argue it prohibits from using public lands the segment of the public who traps. They say the measure would drive up costs of state and federal wildlife management while reducing revenue, and it would handcuff those agencies from their charges of managing wildlife.

Chris Justice of Missoula, executive director of Footloose Montana and volunteer for Montana for Trap-Free Public Lands (MTFPL), said the initiative attempt in 2014 that got a late start and garnered just 10,000 signatures was sponsored by a separate group with a similar name: Trap-Free Montana Public Lands.

Justice said in crafting the current initiative, MTFPL focused on “very clearly defining in what cases the state still reserves the power to trap. Previous attempts have left that more ambiguous.”

House Bill 212, passed by the 2015 Legislature, went into effect Oct. 1. In part, it clarified that the word “harvest” in the Montana Constitution includes trapping. Opponents of the trap-free initiative maintain a constitutional amendment is needed to ban trapping. That would require twice as many signatures to get onto the ballot.

“We’re discouraged,” said Keith Kubista of Stevensville, president of Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and a vocal opponent of a trapping ban. “We’ve written many comments to the attorney general and others that suggest trapping is part of our constitutional right to harvest fish and game. That’s the foundation on which we’re going to approach this.”

***

Montana for Trap-Free Public Lands (MTFPL), with support from Footloose Montana, say trapping and snaring must go, or at least be eliminated from the public lands that constitute 35 percent of Montana.

“Under current law, trappers are able to set an unlimited number of traps, warning signs are not required, and trappers are advised but not required to check their traps in any specific period of time,” MTFPL said in a press release Wednesday.

“Montanans should not have to compromise peace of mind, welfare of children, and pet safety when using their own public land,” said Justice.

Trapping conflicts with hunting ethics, added Dr. Tim Provow, a Missoula anesthesiologist and president of the MTFPL and Footloose Montana boards.

Deal approved to protect grizzly bear habitat in Montana

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/10/us-usa-grizzlies-montana-idUSKCN0S403E20151010

U.S. judge on Friday approved a deal between conservationists and Montana officials to restrict road-building and logging in roughly 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) of state forest lands that make up core habitat for federally protected grizzlies.

The agreement resolves a lawsuit brought by conservationists after the state had sought to open 37,000 acres (14,974 hectares), mostly in the Stillwater State Forest, to timber harvesting despite what environmentalists said would be the destruction of prime grizzly bear territory.

The deal restricting road-building and logging in the Stillwater and Coal Creek state forests west of Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana is designed to benefit the so-called Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population of grizzlies, which is one of just five groups of grizzlies in the lower 48 states.

Montana will ban motorized access during certain times outside of winter when grizzlies are using that landscape, prohibit permanent road construction, reclaim any temporary roads and shorten the duration of logging projects, according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy in a decision last year found the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by issuing a permit to Montana for the project opening up the expanse to the timber industry.

Montana appealed the judge’s ruling and conservation groups later appealed separate parts of the decision, leading to a stalemate that set the stage for both sides to hammer out a settlement.

Molloy approved the agreement on Friday, said attorney Tim Preso of the firm Earthjustice, which represented the conservation groups.

Grizzly bears were classified in 1975 as threatened in the Lower 48 states after they neared extinction from hunting, trapping and poisoning.

Federal protections make it broadly illegally to injure or kill the large, hump-shouldered bruins or destroy their designated habitat without a special permit.

The settlement comes after a federal-state panel managing grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, mostly in Wyoming, said a separate population of about 700 bears has recovered and recommended they be stripped of federal protections.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to make a decision on delisting soon.

Preso said the deal struck between conservationists and Montana will protect lands for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population of grizzlies even if U.S. wildlife managers remove that population from the endangered species list.

Montana officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Victoria Cavaliere)

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

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