Wolf hunting could be allowed at nighttime under Montana bill

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https://ravallirepublic.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/article_fb2e7e60-ff9a-5de6-a2a4-3a79b883d4ae.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share&fbclid=IwAR2uSE4w_7HDX8dX3y-PKWfv1ZmDn7huyukyYAmchtEHCVDZcfoSMyxgNTk
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Gray Wolf

Wolves could be hunted at night and traps set along seasonally closed roads under a pair of bills brought by a northwest Montana lawmaker Thursday.

Rep. Bob Brown, R-Thompson Falls, brought House Bills 551 and 552 to the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee.

Rep. Bob Brown (R-Thompson Falls)
Rep. Bob Brown (R-Thompson Falls)

The first bill would allow nighttime wolf hunting, making them the only big game animal that could be hunted outside of daylight hours. Other nongame animals such as coyotes and skunks already may be hunted at night.

“I know this is going to be a kind of an unpopular thing,” Brown acknowledged after several wolf bills have already brought strong debate this session. But many of his constituents in northwest Montana have been outspoken about reducing wolf numbers, he said.

The bill saw support from two individuals who described it as “another tool in the toolbox” to manage wolves.

Garrett Bacon testified that it would help key in on problem wolves by allowing hunting when they are most active and possibly preying on livestock.

Scott Blackman also testified in support and believed the number of hunters that would focus on hunting wolves at night would be limited to a few serious individuals.

Several conservation groups testified in opposition on topics ranging from ethics to safety.

“We feel hunting any game animal at night is unethical,” and won’t help the image of hunters, said Nick Gevock with the Montana Wildlife Federation.

Marc Cooke with Wolves of the Rockies agreed with the ethical concerns but also noted that shooting at night raises safety issues with identifying a target and beyond.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks testified in opposition, echoing the concerns of others as well as the propensity for poaching at night, which is often associated with spotlighting.

Brown’s second bill, SB 552, was borne out of what he sees as difference in opinion about what constitutes a closed road when it comes to trapping and particularly the trapping of wolves.

Along open roads and trails, trapping regulations require traps be set a certain distance away. Called a “setback,” the distance is intended to reduce conflicts with other recreationists, particularly those with dogs that may be unintentionally caught. Traps for most animals must be set 50 feet from a road or trail while wolf traps require a 150-foot setback.

Under the bill, setback regulations would not apply to roads closed year-round to highway vehicles nor would they apply to seasonally closed gated roads for wolf trapping. The setback regulations currently apply to seasonally closed roads.

Brown said he believed the definition of a closed and open road should be made by legislators rather than the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, and that many of the gated roads are in the high country that sees lower use by other recreationists. He also noted that while the areas in question are public land, pet owners “also need to take responsibility for their pets” when venturing out in wolf habitat and where trapping is taking place.

Blackman, testifying for the Montana Trappers Association, agreed with the bill and felt it was “nothing more than a clarification.”

KC York with Trap Free Montana Public Lands disagreed, holding up a wolf trap and saying “Traps hold our public lands hostage,” and adding that a great deal of work went into establishing setbacks.

Art Compton with the Sierra Club felt that roads closed year-round should be the last place to lift setbacks, as recreationists such as skiers and snowshoers seek those areas out to get away from motorized users.

Brown closed on the bill by noting that many miles of ungated roads would still fall under the setback regulations and reiterated responsibility.

“(We’re) asking some responsibility from trappers in many cases and I think we need to ask some responsibility from pet owners,” he said.

The committee did not take immediate action on the bills.

Letter: Mandatory trap checks needed in MT

    •  https://missoulian.com/opinion/letters/mandatory-trap-checks-needed-in-mt/article_916d9166-c08c-5bc7-811e-72007a5158fe.html
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Letter

According to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, trappers should check their traps at least once every day.

The American Society of Mammalogists states, “Snares or foot-hold traps should be checked a least daily, but more frequent depending upon target species, the potential for capture of non-target species, and environmental conditions. Frequent checking of traps is the most effective means of minimizing mortality or injury to animals in live traps.”

Montana has no mandatory trap check time. Trapped animals can suffer for days, even weeks, injured and exposed to the elements. Only bobcat trap sets in designated lynx protection zones and traps set for wolves require checking every 48 hours.

“The longer that animal is in a trap, the more likely you have foot injury, shoulder sprains, vascular damage, neural damage,” said Carter Niemeyer, a retired wildlife biologist.

Thirty six states have 24-hour/daily trap checks in their trapping regulations. House Bill 287 requires daily trap checks and allows for exceptions if a trapper cannot tend to the traps. HB287 helps end prolonged suffering of trapped animals and gives the trap-released non-targets, i.e. raptors, mountain lions, grizzly, deer, lynx and beloved pets a chance to survive.

Trapping is a bipartisan issue.

KC York,

Hamilton

Montana Trap Check Bill, Trapped Mtn Lion

Friend,

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Sorry for our absence and the length of our trapping news but….

Montana HB787 for MANDATORY DAILY TRAP CHECKS is almost complete and should then be scheduled for a hearing soon!

TFMPL partnered with our good friends at Wolves of the Rockies to make this happen!  Now we need you to be contacting your legislator!We know from our many diverse supporters that trapping is bipartisan issue! Regardless of your legislator’s party affiliation, mark our words, they need to hear from you and NOW! 

Montana Legislators & contact info can be found at find a Montana legislator.  It is best to call. Let them know you are in their district and that you urge them to vote for HB 787 Mandatory Daily Trap Checks! If necessary, leave a message as such. Let us know if you have any difficulty looking them up. Legislators want to be re-elected so it matters what their constituents want!

Trust us, make absolutely no assumption the Democrats will support it and Republicans will vote against it! Start calling NOW as their vote is often decided ahead of the hearing! You can follow-up with an email to them but best to use your own words and keep it brief.

Currently in Montana, traps set for bobcats in designated lynx protection zones and traps set for wolves are the only traps that are required for the trapper to check every 48 hrs. Other traps and snares can remain unattended for days even weeks with trapped animals legally suffering. 36 other states have 24 hr/daily trap checks in their regulations. 3 states have none, Montana included.

All of you should know by now we oppose trapping. We hope to see it end in our lifetime! However, that doesn’t mean there is not a lot we can do to help end the suffering of trapped animals and enable those released from traps a better chance at survival whether that be an eagle, lynx, mountain lion or your lost beloved dog!

HB787 also has a limited exception if the trapper cannot tend to his/her traps daily. Once the language is approved by legal, it will be of public record and we will provide it to you. Our deepest appreciation to Representative Bridget Smith of Wolf Point for sponsoring this bill!Please let us know if you plan to attend the hearing or want to. The House Fish & Wildlife Committee meets on Tues. and Thurs. at 3:00 to hear the bills.

 * We are also working with any interested parties on the language for Mandatory Trapper Education LC538, too!

More on the MOUNTAIN LION TRAPPED & KILLED IN MONTANA
January 3,2019 – Square Butte, Montana

A large male mountain lion was found dead on a Square Butte trapline near town of Great Falls. TFMPL obtained more specifics and learned the mountain lion was killed in a snare. The trapper was not charged as the warden deemed the mountain lion was unintentional. TFMPL also learned the trapper did follow the law and reported.


photo courtesy GreatFalls Tribune

Snares only cost a couple of dollars and so are a favorite weapon trappers like to set in large quantities and leave to strangle any animal to death, eventually. No matter the victim, routinely, trappers are not charged since traps and snares by nature do not discriminate. A Montana Trapping Advisory Committee (TAC)member has been asking about allowing the keeping of trapped mountain lions.  In just 2 years, 2013-2015, 48 mountain lions were known “accidentally” trapped in Montana. Over 80% were dead or reported noticeably injured. Meanwhile, another TAC member continues to push for the legal snaring of wolves which is currently illegal.

RALPHIE UPDATES!

The sweet goofy boy, Ralph, from Laurel, Montana who lost his leg to a snare after missing for a couple of days is recovering!

Thanks to your donations, Trap Free Montana was able to donate $1,000 towards Ralph’s reduced veterinarian bill of $1,125! Please remember Ralph and all the other trapped pets and the need for mandatory daily trap checks. We continue to hear of yet another precious dog in Montana trapped! Think too of all their medical bills and who pays those costs? Certainly, not the trappers. Keep this in mind with LC/HB2007 a bill for “Wolf Trapper Expense Reimbursement”.

WILDLIFE COLORING BOOK
Check out this wonderful educational coloring book, award winning, “Endangered Species Have Feelings, Too”!

It’s 32 pages front and back of wildlife and teachings promoting knowledge and compassion. “Endangered Species Have Feelings Too” is a wildlife coloring book unlike anything else on the market. Not only does it provide an opportunity for children to bring each page to life, but to also develop their morals and “feelings vocabulary” along the way.”

The author, Dr. Delis-Abrams, has generously offered 25% of sales to Trap Free Montana.
Purchase
 at http://bit.ly/2S1xnp2  Please be sure to mention Trap Free Montana in your purchasing! 

UPCOMING FINAL TRAPPING ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
The Montana Trapping Advisory Committee (TAC) will have their final meeting in Great Falls on 1/31 and 2/1. To review the previous meetings and the upcoming agenda http://bit.ly/2FNMyvR. The meetings are open to the public and we are given 3 minutes to speak. People can submit a written comment to the TAC urging them to support mandatory 24hr/daily trap checks and support HB 787, mandatory reporting of all trapped animals, closure of trapping on rare species such as swift fox and fisher, trapping limits and protections for beaver, mandatory trapper education for all trappers with all stakeholders equally providing oversight and supporting LC/HB 538 for Mandatory Trapper Education.

Send your respectful comment & in your own words to FWP:
 jvore@mt.gov with subject line: Public Comment for TAC

WOMENS’S MARCH HELENA
TFMPL was given the honor and privilege to speak up for wildlife and for support for HB787 Mandatory Daily Trap Checks at the Helena Women’s March on Saturday 1/19/19!http://bit.ly/2DmNGox It was a great experience with excellent speakers promoting necessary changes!

MORE “END THE SUFFERING” BILLBOARDS ARE UP!
Trap Free Montana, our 501(c)(3) affiliate now has added Great Falls and Billings to the list of “End the Suffering” billboards on major highways across our state. To learn more and be one of the proud owners of a billboard visit: trapfreemt.org/our-work

Thank you friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands.

Actual NBC Headline: Advocates press Montana to ban trapping of fanged predator

AA

Wildlife advocates are asking Montana wildlife officials to ban trapping along much of the Idaho border to protect a cat-sized predator that lives in old-growth forests.

Representatives of five environmental groups said in a petition submitted Tuesday to Montana wildlife commissioners that trapping is a serious threat to the Northern Rockies fisher.

Federal wildlife officials say at least 100 of the animals were killed in Montana between 2002 and 2016. Idaho does not allow trapping of fishers, but 86 were killed by trappers accidentally in that time period.

The fanged predators once ranged at least five states. They’re now limited to an area straddling the Montana-Idaho border. Federal wildlife officials in 2017 said fishers were not in danger of extinction despite worries about habitat loss and trapping.

Gray Wolf Trapping Orientation Announced

http://csktribes.org/more/archived-news/365-gray-wolf-trapping-orientation-announced

The Tribal Wildlife Management Program announces the scheduling of a Gray Wolf trapping class for CSKT Tribal members who plan to participate in 2018-2019 trapping activities for Northern Gray Wolves.

 

Lands within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation are sectioned into three Wolf Management Zones – the Northwest, South, and the Mission Zone.  The general hunting season for wolves opened on September 1st in all three Zones and will extend through April 30, 2019 within the Northwest and South Zones.  The Mission Zones hunting season will close on March 31, 2019.

 

Trapping season for the all three Zones will commence on December 1, 2018 and extend through April 30th, 2019 within the Northwest and South Zones, and close on March 31, 2019 within the Mission Zone, to avoid potential captures of non-target bears.  Tribal members must also follow Tribal off-Reservation wolf hunting and trapping regulations when hunting or trapping wolves in open and unclaimed areas, which are generally recognized as U. S. Forest Service lands.

 

Trapping regulations approved by the Tribal Council included the provision that potential trappers attend an informational class on wolf trapping if they have not previously attended a similar class conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Proof of completion of a wolf trapping class, through the Tribal Wildlife Management Program or Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks must be presented to the Tribal Fish and Wildlife Permits Office to receive a wolf trapping permit. The scheduled Tribal informational class will cover topics such as Tribal wolf trapping regulations, appropriate trapping equipment, required marking of traps, setting and checking traps, minimizing the potential to capture non-target species, trapping reporting requirements and properly caring for trapped animals.  If trappers would like the trap pan tension of their traps tested, they should bring their traps to this informational class or make alternate arrangements with the Tribal Wildlife Management Program.

 

Members of the Tribal Wildlife Management Program staff will conduct this informational class on Wednesday, December 12th from Noon to 1:30 pm @ the Mission Valley Power conference room.  Please contact Stephanie Gillin, Wildlife Biologist at the Tribal Wildlife Management Program by phone at (406) 675-2700, extension 7241 or by email at stephanie.gillin@cskt.org to sign up.

Famous Alpha Wolf’s Daughter, Spitfire, Is Killed by a Hunter

 

The shooting of another Lamar Canyon pack member has renewed calls for a buffer between Yellowstone and nearby lands, to protect roaming wolves.

926F, a wild wolf in Yellowstone, in the late fall of 2016. Like her mother, she was killed by a hunter.CreditDeby Dixon
926F, a wild wolf in Yellowstone, in the late fall of 2016. Like her mother, she was killed by a hunter.CreditCreditDeby Dixon

HELENA, Mont. — A wild wolf known as 926F, dear to the hearts of wolf watchers who visit Yellowstone, was killed by a hunter as it wandered just outside the park last weekend.

A member of the Lamar Canyon pack in the national park’s northeast region, 926F was the daughter of 832F, an alpha female that had become a celebrity, famous for her hunting prowess and for her frequent appearances along the road traveled by tourists in the park’s Lamar Valley.

While wolf biologists called the mother 832F, the she-wolf was famously known as “06” for the year she was born. The subject of the book “American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West,” she was killed by a hunter as well.

“Everybody’s mourning, everybody’s thinking about what to do to stop this madness,” said Karol Miller, who founded a group of wolf lovers on Facebook called The 06 Legacy. “People love the Lamar Canyon Pack and people know 06 from her New York Times obituary. These are the descendants of 06, her legacy. People love those wolves.”

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Wolf watchers called 06’s daughter Spitfire.

The shooting occurred near cabins and was within hunting laws; Montana has permitted hunting of wolves since 2011, and a few hundred are killed each year.

“A game warden checked with the hunter and everything about this harvest was legal,” said Abby Nelson, a wolf management specialist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

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But the killing has renewed calls for a buffer around the park so wolves that live within the safe harbor of Yellowstone and that have little fear of humans cannot be shot if they wander beyond the park’s invisible boundary.

Spitfire, or 926F, chased away a grizzly bear that was trying to steal her kill in 2013.CreditDeby Dixon
Image
Spitfire, or 926F, chased away a grizzly bear that was trying to steal her kill in 2013.CreditDeby Dixon

While Montana lawmakers have passed legislation forbidding creation of a buffer zone, there is a hunting limit of two wolves in each of two districts adjacent to the northern boundary of the park.

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Still, wolf hunting near Yellowstone has been extremely controversial, highlighting the clash between the New West’s ecotourism and the Old West’s hunting to protect game and livestock.

Wolves were restored to the park in the 1990s and quickly grew in number. About 100 wolves belong to 10 packs in Yellowstone, which is considered the ideal park for sightings of the animals as they hunt elk, feed on carcasses and play with their pups. Some 1,700 wolves live in the Northern Rocky Mountain states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Famous Yellowstone park wolf shot dead by trophy hunter

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Hunting and killing wolves is legal in Montana

One of Yellowstone National Park’s most popular wolves has been shot dead by a trophy hunter.

Spitfire, also known as Wolf 926F, was killed legally a few miles outside a park entrance in Montana, according to animal rights group Wolves of the Rockies.

The organisation shared the news on its Facebook page on Wednesday.

Spitfire was previously the alpha female leader of the Lamar valley wolfpack.

Spitfire and her pack attracted animal lovers from all over the world (Leo Leckie)

Her mother was also killed by a hunter in 2012 and Spitfire was credited with keeping the pack together after her death.

Both animals were stars in an area described by Yellowstone officials as a “wolf-watching mecca”, which attracts animal lovers from all over the world.

The hunter who killed Spitfire was acting legally according to The Dodoas it is currently hunting season for wolves in MontanaIdaho and Wyoming, the states that Yellowstone covers.

Wolf hunting licences in Montana cost just $19 (£15) for residents and $50 (£39) for others, according to the Wolf Conservation Centre.

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The predators were reintroduced in Yellowstone in 1995 but remain at the centre of a debate in the US between conservationists who argue that the US wolf population needs protection, and hunters and farmers who argue that rising predator numbers are out of control.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/wolf-926f-spitfire-killed-hunter-yellowstone-national-park-lamar-valley-a8660741.html

Two hunters rescued in Beaverhead County by helicopter after ATV accidents

 

 

https://mtstandard.com/news/local/two-hunters-rescued-in-beaverhead-county-by-helicopter-after-atv/article_4bfee70f-3234-55de-adb4-fdd5571cff2e.htm

Two hunters rescued in Beaverhead County
The Blackhawk helicopter used to rescue a hunter in Beaverhead County is seen here.

Two hunters have been rescued in Beaverhead County after serious ATV accidents around the opening of general hunting season. Both rescues involved helicopters, one from the Montana Army National Guard and one from Life Flight.

According to Sheriff Franklin Kluesner II, the first call came in Friday at 12:27 p.m. The caller said his 58-year-old brother was unable to move after an ATV accident in the south end of the Gravelly Mountains. The men were scouting hunting areas for the next day when the accident occurred, Kluesner said. The caller hiked about a mile and a half from his brother to find cell service.

Kluesner said his office was able to help the caller determine his location coordinates through a cell phone app, which showed he was near Fossil Creek, over 60 miles southeast of Dillon — a two or more hour drive for emergency vehicles.

After learning their location, Kluesner said Life Flight was requested and a helicopter was dispatched from Rexburg, Idaho. Ground support was also dispatched, including a local search and rescue team and an ambulance from Lima.

About 90 minutes after receiving the call for help, the injured man was transported via Life Flight to a hospital. Kluesner believes the man is from North Dakota and is at a hospital in Bozeman as of Wednesday afternoon, with serious injuries.

Two days later, Kluesner’s office received three more search and rescue calls within a few-hour time frame. One was from a woman concerned about her husband, who returned back to his camp shortly after she called; another was from a group of people whose truck slid off of a road west of Lima, and were assisted by Bureau of Land Management rangers in the area; and a third resulted in a full deployment of local search and rescue volunteers, along with assistance from the Montana Army National Guard.

Around 1 p.m. on Sunday, the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a woman who said she hadn’t heard from her 69-year-old husband since Saturday afternoon. The woman told law enforcement she had driven to his campsite Sunday morning, about 15 miles south of Dillon, but did not find him or his ATV. The man had planned to hunt in the area.

Kluesner said after his office spoke with the woman, Beaverhead Search and Rescue volunteers began a ground search for her husband while aircraft searched overhead. The hunter was not located on Sunday.

An expanded search resumed early Monday. At this time, Kluesner’s office looked at what other resources they had available. The search and rescue team decided to call the Montana Army National Guard, which promptly deployed a five-person crew via Blackhawk helicopter from Helena. The helicopter arrived in the area around noon.

At 1:30 p.m., the ground crew located the missing hunter, who had spent 44 hours pinned beneath his upside-down ATV in a ravine. The crew called the National Guard helicopter, which landed in the area, stabilized the man and transported him to Barrett Hospital and Healthcare in Dillon. Kluesner said the man is now at Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula with serious injuries.

In the last four years Kluesner has been sheriff, he said he’s seen a steady increase of ATV use in Beaverhead County. This has also led to an increase in accidents.

“We have a lot of areas where you can still use four-wheelers and side-by-sides, which have become very popular,” Kluesner said. “But they aren’t that stable and do have the potential to cause real serious injuries.”

Kluesner went on to say these injuries are especially concerning when hunters and other recreationists ride into the backcountry, where they become harder to reach and there is little to no cell service. He said his office was extremely lucky to have access to Life Flight and Montana Army National Guard teams to rescue the two injured hunters, and he is proud of the collaboration that went into finding them.

“Helicopters are invaluable in these situations. They (helicopter flights) are expensive endeavors, but there’s no price you can put on a human life,” Kluesner said.

 

Camel owner applies to house 2 black bears in Paradise Valley

Bear menagerie
A Paradise Valley business is applying to house two black bears in this facility.

A Paradise Valley company is seeking a permit to house two black bears in a roadside menagerie near Emigrant, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The agency is seeking public comment through June 30 on an environmental assessment for the Mayfield Roadside Menagerie, north of Emigrant, owned by Jason Mayfield.

Any person wishing to keep, in captivity, one or more wild animals for the evident purpose of exhibition or attracting trade must first secure a Roadside Menagerie Permit from the state of Montana. A USDA Class C Exhibitor’s permit is a prerequisite for permitting.

The facility has been built and is ready to receive the two bears and will be operated in conjunction with Camel Discovery along Highway 89.

The facility has an interior and exterior portion. The interior is constructed of poured concrete for the floor; partitioned cages constructed of welded wire and pipe; insulated walls; and water, electrical and gas services. The interior has ample room for food preparation and veterinary care if needed.

The exterior fencing is constructed of chain link fencing with four strands of charged electrical wire along the top. A secondary fence within the primary fencing is made of four strands of charged electrical wire attached to t-posts.

The proposed menagerie is in near proximity to the owner’s residence and doors and gates are to remain locked at all times to prevent escape of the bears or entry by unauthorized individuals.

The environmental assessment is available on FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov. Click on the News tab and choose Recent Public Notices.

Comments can be submitted online or mailed to Attn: Mayfield Roadside Menagerie; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Enforcement; P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620.

Bear Attacks Hunter Near Hungry Horse Reservoir

Attack apparently a “surprise encounter” in a very brushy area between hunter and bear

https://flatheadbeacon.com/2017/09/25/bear-attacks-hunter-near-hungry-horse-reservoir/

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports that a bear attacked a hunter along the East side of the Hungry Horse Reservoir over the weekend.

FWP is investigating the Sept. 24 attack, which took place in the Twin Creek area near the reservoir. The hunter who was attacked – an adult male – was apparently involved in what FWP is initially calling a “surprise encounter” in a very bushy area.

The man was injured, and drove back with his hunting partner to a hospital for medical attention. The two did shoot at the bear during the encounter, and the bear ran off.

The Region One FWP Wildlife Human Attack Response Team was dispatched to the area immediately upon notification. Details about the attack, including the type of bear involved and the injuries the victim incurred, were not yet available.