Game and Fish proposes reduced wolf hunt quota

https://www.gillettenewsrecord.com/news/wyoming/article_1ff5ed2d-cc11-5844-a41a-aedd86998f2d.html

PINEDALE – One of the anticipated changes to this year’s hunting season regulations will be the trophy-game gray wolf quota set by Wyoming Game and Fish each year.

This year, with most trophy wolf hunt areas opening on Sept. 1, Game and Fish is proposing a lower harvest of 34, compared to the quota of 58 set in 2018. The proposed wolf hunts as well as changes in furbearing, falconry, firearm cartridges, archery and mountain lions regulations will be discussed and are open for comment through June 17.

The proposed 2019 wolf quota appears conservative, with some quotas almost halved from 2018, but large carnivore biologist Ken Mills of Pinedale said the end-of-year objective remains at about 160 wolves. Higher human-caused mortality rates are expected – and much larger litters are expected, he added.

“The main data from which the mortality limits are derived include the number of wolves in the Wolf Trophy Game Management Area and the estimated mortality rate required to move the population toward the end-of-year objective,” he said.

Last year ended with an estimated 152 wolves within the trophy-game management area, eight below the wildlife agency’s objective. Balancing all of the factors includes gaining eight more wolves to be right at 160.

“We had at least 152 wolves in the WTGMA, which is 28 percent less than what we had at the start of 2018,” Mills explained. “However, we estimate a much higher human-caused mortality rate will be required to offset population growth (49.5 percent this year vs. 25.8 percent last year) because the population is lower and should reproduce at a higher rate.”

Mills added, “Note we are proposing the same end-of-year population objective as we did last year, 160 wolves, which means a slight increase in the population (eight wolves) to be sure we continue to remain above minimum recovery criteria, mostly the 10 breeding pairs.”

Mills said Game and Fish will keep the “same approach to depredation response as usual, not more or less aggressive.”

In 2018, predator conflicts declined but about the same number of wolves were removed as in 2017.

“We usually have had around 23-percent human-caused mortality, which includes lethal control in addition to hunting since 2009, so (it is) pretty constant.”

By one vote, Minnesota House moves to ban wolf hunting

PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

By a one-vote margin, the Minnesota House on Tuesday voted to ban hunting on wolves — a victory for wolf protectionists hoping to gird against the Trump administration’s plan to remove protections for the iconic animal.


UPDATE: On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz said he supports a ban as well


A ban on wolf hunting would be a reversal for Minnesota — the only state in the Lower 48 where the animals were never eradicated and the first to adopt a hunting season when it became legal again several years ago.

Today, wolf hunting isn’t allowed — but only because the animal is on the federal endangered species list. Under current state law, if wolves were removed from the protections of the Endangered Species Act — as the Trump administration has announced it plans to seek — they could be hunted as soon as fall 2020, although some think a hunt this fall could be possible.

From 2012 to 2014, hunting and trapping seasons were held on wolves, until a federal judge ruled that the plans of Upper Midwestern states — Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — were inadequate.

Biologists with the Department of Natural Resources have said the wolf population, which is most concentrated in the northeast portion of the state, is stable and able to withstand limited hunting and trapping. In September, the agency estimated the population around 2,655 wolves in 465 wolf packs.

WOLF-HUNTING POLITICS

But the question of whether to hunt them has remained divisive and the politics of wolf protections have often crossed party lines.

In broad strokes, metro lawmakers have often opposed hunting, while those in greater Minnesota have tended to be in favor of allowing it. That often has meant Democrats have opposed it, while Republicans have supported a hunt — but that’s an overly simplistic view.

Gov. Mark Dayton, for example, a Minneapolis Democrat, allowed the resumption of hunting in 2014, and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, also a Minneapolis Democrat and presidential candidate, has been a vocal supporter, often suggesting a “Governor’s Wolf Hunting Opener” when speaking to hunting groups. Each year for years, some lawmaker has proposed banning wolf hunting, but it’s never gained enough traction.

That phenomenon of crossing party lines was on display Tuesday, when state Rep. Rick Hansen, a hunter and one of the leaders of the House Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Caucus on hunting-related issues, announced he would vote in favor of the wolf-hunting ban, but he recommended to his fellow lawmakers, “Vote your districts.” In other words, Hansen said, this issue is beyond mere party unity.

The ban was proposed by Rep. Peter Fischer, DFL-Maplewood, as an amendment to a larger environment and natural resources bill.

The amendment passed 66-65.

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Dave Orrick

@DaveOrrick

By ONE VOTE, MN House votes to ban wolf hunting. Here’s how they voted. (Green = a vote in favor of ban.)

16 people are talking about this

The larger environment bill passed 73-60.

CHANCES OF BECOMING LAW?

The likelihood of the ban becoming law was unclear Tuesday.

The ban is not included in the companion bill that passed the Senate last week, and past attempts to pass a ban in the Senate have failed. Nonetheless, it will now be the subject of negotiations between the two chambers and could be the subject of compromises and horse-trading. The bills vary on numerous issues, ranging from how to regulate deer farms, protection of pollinators, rules regarding pollution, and even how many fishing rods anglers can use.

Gov. Tim Walz, a hunter, doesn’t appear to have publicly stated a position. As of last month, he hadn’t made up his mind, saying only that he wanted a decision to be “thoughtful,” the Minnesota News Network reported. Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan’s position wasn’t easily discernible Tuesday, although many suspect that she would support a ban on a wolf hunt, based on her past record as a state lawmaker. She’s also a member of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, and American Indian groups have generally been united in opposition to wolf hunting and trapping.A request for clarification on Walz’s and Flanagan’s position from their office wasn’t immediately returned Tuesday.

$12 to Kill a Wolf in Montana

Center for Biological Diversity

APR 27, 2019 — 

$19 is apparently too high a sticker price for the privilege of killing a wolf in Montana. A new state proposal would cut the cost of a wolf-hunting license to just $12.

This sick disdain for wolves, literally cheapening their lives, once pushed them to the brink of extinction. The same forces who see wolves as target practice want to spread this mentality nationwide.

They must be stopped, and you can help.

The administration’s plan to take away Endangered Species Act protection from most wolves in the lower 48 would expose the animals to more hunting, more trapping, more shattered packs.

In some places it would cost more to go to the movies than to slaughter a wolf.

Idaho is even paying trappers to kill them.

These states are showing how little they care for wildlife and how easy they want to make it for wolves to be shot.

This is the war on wolves the Trump administration is encouraging states to wage.

The job of wolf recovery is far from over, which is why we’re pushing hard for a national recovery plan.

 

Yellowstone’s Beloved Wolf, Spitfire, Was Killed by a Trophy Hunter

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: U.S. National Park Service
238,957 SUPPORTERS
240,000 GOAL
Spitfire was beloved by many. The young wolf was often spotted at Yellowstone National Park, much to the delight of wolf enthusiasts, biologists, and tourists. 

Sadly, future park-goers will never catch a glimpse of Spitfire. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks just confirmed that she was cruelly killedby a trophy hunter. What’s even worse is that her murder was completely legal. Spitfire had wandered just outside of the park, where she was no longer protected.

Please sign this petition calling for a no-hunting buffer zone around Yellowstone National Park to protect more animals from being senselessly killed for sport.

Spitfire’s mom met a similar fate six years ago, leaving Spitfire as the new leader of the Lamar Canyon Pack. According to wolf lovers, she “led her pack through a number of very difficult circumstances” and “showed incredible strength, courage and resilience in everything she did.” Now she’s gone, and the Lamar Canyon Pack is yet again without a leader.

It’s not uncommon for animals to roam just beyond national park boundaries — which is why their protection should be extended. Sign now to demand buffer zones around Yellowstone National Park.

Photo credit: Facebook

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/503/335/245/?src=ca_facebook_ads&campaign=sign_503335245-23843335022030015&fbclid=IwAR3M27CiwKI2_Je36dTO7sJ56NnXJqZDAJTMB5XzAGOlgble24oDWUXTRBI

 

The Latest: Wolves resilient, but proposal tests expansion

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on the proposed removal of federal protections for wolves (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

A proposal to strip gray wolves of federal protections could curtail their rapid expansion across vast swaths of the U.S., yet the predators already are proving to be resilient in states where hunting and trapping occur.

The Interior Department on Thursday declared gray wolves recovered across the Lower 48 states. If finalized, the proposal would allow hunting in more areas.

The species has seen a remarkable turnaround — from near-extermination to more than 6,000 gray wolves spread across nine states.

Critics say hunts could kill thousands of the animals and prevent their further spread.

But in the Northern Rockies, where legal wolf harvests began a decade ago, the animal’s numbers have held relatively steady and packs have expanded west into Oregon, Washington and California.

__

6:45 a.m.

U.S. wildlife officials want to strip gray wolves of their remaining federal protections and declare the species recovered following a decades-long restoration effort.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal released Thursday would put wolves under state authority and allow hunting in more areas. The Associated Press reported last week that the proposal was coming.

Critics argue the move is premature, with wolves still absent across most of their historic range.

Government officials say their goal was to protect against extinction, not restore wolves everywhere.

Trapping, poisoning and hunting exterminated wolves across most of the Lower 48 early last century. They bounced back under federal protection, and more than 6,000 now live in portions of nine states.

A final decision on lifting protections will follow a public comment period.

Wolf hunting could be allowed at nighttime under Montana bill

  • Updated 
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.

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 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

Hunters down a dozen wolves

Wyoming hunters were successful tracking down and killing smart, stealthy wolves as the season began Sunday.

A dozen wolves were legally harvested in the first 40 hours of the three-month season. It’s a number that amounts to over a quarter of the total wolves that can be killed in the state’s managed hunt area. Wyoming Game and Fish Department carnivore manager Ken Mills attributed the considerable success to the opener falling on a weekend, winter weather pushing lots of sportsmen into the field, and also a species that may temporarily have lost its fear of mankind.

“Three years have gone by since the last hunting season,” Mills said. “In wolf generation time, it’s getting close to an entire generation of wolves. So there’s almost a whole new generation of wolves out there and they’re naive to human hunters.”

“I think they’ll learn over time,” he said. “I would expect them to adapt relatively quickly.”

Wolf hunters found swift success in Upper Green River country, where they exceeded a three-animal quota by one and triggered the closure of the zone Sunday.

Wolves were also killed Sunday and Monday around Jackson Hole. Game and Fish harvest reports showed one wolf killed in area 8, which encompasses the Leidy Highlands and has a quota of seven animals. A hunter also was successful in area 10 southeast of town, which runs from Cache Creek to past Bondurant.

In its “trophy game management area,” Game and Fish is permitting a total of 44 wolves to be killed in a season that ends Dec. 31.

Technically, there is no statewide limit on the number of wolves that can be hunted in Wyoming. That’s because of an expansive area outside the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem where wolves are managed as a predator that can be killed by any means throughout the year. Some 17 wolves, as of Monday afternoon, had been reported killed in that zone since Wyoming gained jurisdiction over its wolf population this spring.

Wolf hunting opened with a relative bang, judging by the pace of harvest in years past.

The state’s first modern-day wolf hunt dates to 2012, a year hunters managed to kill four animals in the first 40 hours of the season, according to the Jackson Hole News&Guide archives. The next year, 2013, hunters shot three on the opener.

There’s been a wolf hunting hiatus in the Equality State ever since, owing to a 2014 court decision that fell a week before the wolf hunting season would have started. Two and a half years later, a U.S. Court of Appeals’ opinion overturned the ruling.

Game and Fish’s intent for the wolf hunt is to slightly reduce the population, last estimated at 380 statewide. A little over half those animals are believed to reside in the trophy game area that just opened to hunting. Another approximately 50 animals were thought to live in the predator zone. The balance of Wyoming’s wolves — an estimated 117 animals — live in Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation, where hunting is not allowed.

It is wolf hunters’ responsibility, Mills said, to check to make sure the hunt area they set out for is still open. Game and Fish has 12 wolf hunting units, and each closes individually as its quotas are met. Harvest reports are updated “constantly,” he said, and posted online at WGFD.wyo.gov.

How O-Six became Yellowstone’s ‘most beloved’ wolf

Every hunter that kills a wolf ends a wonderous adventure, says author

CBC Radio · 2 hours ago

<https://i.cbc.ca/1.4760707.1532518854!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_780/nate-blakeslee-and-book-cover.jpg>

The Wolf author Nate Blakeslee says every hunter that kills a wolf ends a wonderous adventure. (Penguin Random House Canada)

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Listen23:23

Originally aired on November 28, 2017.

Read Story Transcript <http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-november-28-2017-1.4421390/tuesday-november-29-2017-full-episode-transcript-1.4423592#segment2>

When Alberta grey wolves were introduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995, not everyone who lived around the park howled with delight.

Wolves had been absent from the area since they were killed by hunters in the 1920s.

“Because so much of that land is controlled by the federal government, you see this us versus them, this local control versus intrusive federal bureaucrats — at least that is how it is cast in the West,” says Nate Blakeslee, author of The Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West.

“The ranching industry is so powerful there, the hunting industry is so powerful there, all those state legislatures were largely opposed to reintroduction, even though a number of people there were very excited about it,” Blakeslee tells The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti.

While wolf experts initially thought the wolves would be pretty invisible to humans, living deep in the park, some of the packs lived in open areas easily watched by nature enthusiasts.

She was such an accomplished hunter.- Nate Blakeslee

And of those wolves, none was more loved or photographed than an alpha female called O-Six, who lived and hunted close to humans.

“She was a grey wolf. She had uncommonly attractive facial markings, sort of this owl-like mask around her eyes,” says Blakeslee.

“She was such an accomplished hunter.”

* Grey wolf wins Canada’s Greatest Animal contest <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/grey-wolf-calgary-zoo-canada-greatest-animal-contest-1.4123430>
* Using poison to cull wolves in Alberta is inhumane, says animal advocacy group <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-wolf-cull-animals-poison-1.4388721>

The wolves of Yellowstone were free to hunt and roam the area safe from hunters until 2012 when they were removed from the endangered species list.

Any wolf that left the safe confines of the park itself became a potential target for hunters.

“‘O-Six sadly did leave the park during that first legal hunting season,” Blakeslee says.

“Who could have foreseen that one of the first wolves to be shot during Wyoming’s first legal hunting seasons in generations would be the park’s most beloved animal?”

What is the value of one wolf’s life?- Nate Blakeslee

After she was shot, the rest of the wolf pack came out of the woods and circled their fallen leader.

And then they began to howl.

“What is the value of one wolf’s life?” Blakeslee asks.

“If every wolf leads this wonderful adventure story as O-Six did, if every wolf’s life is like that, and every wolf killed by a hunter ends such an amazing story, does it force us to reevaluate how we think about those policy goals and does it force us to go back again and take a look at what our values are in that process?”

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.

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This segment was produced by The Current’s Howard Goldenthal.

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/how-o-six-became-yellowstone-s-most-beloved-wolf-1.4421434