The Montana Wildlife Commission has adopted several new rules and regulations pertaining to the management of the most controversial apex predator in the state, the grey wolf. After a long debate and much opposition to the new regulations by pro-wolf advocacy groups, it was passed in a vote of 3-2 by the Commission.
As a result, Montana will structure its trapping season much like Idaho’s. Each hunter and trapper can now purchase up to 10 wolf licenses per year and many new methods of harvest can be used such as snaring on public and private lands, except in specific grizzly bear recovery areas. Snaring and hunting at night including and the use of bait will also be legal now on private lands only.
The new plans did draw criticism from the board because of the perceived lack of hunting ethics, which is a big reason why it received two votes against the measure.
Montana’s wolf season will start the Monday after Thanksgiving and end March 15. The special quotas around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks that were geared to take fewer wolves in high tourism areas were also done away with.
Marc Cooke with the Wolves of the Rockies group is threatening lawsuits and commented that these new mandates will decimate wolves in Montana and that “You people disgust me…” when he walked away from the public comment podium. He also pleaded with federal officials to re-list wolves under the ESA.
Hunters and trappers killed 330 wolves in Montana last season, which is a record and the new quota will be 450 wolves. The commission believes that the addition of snares would help meet this objective because wolves are so difficult to catch in leg hold traps. Snaring is not a new trapping technique and is very effective if they are set wisely. The commission will meet immediately and consider adjusting the snaring regulations if any non-target species are caught and killed like a grizzly bear or Lynx. The new legislation will also institute mandatory trapper education and a reimbursement payment system for wolf hunters and trappers who harvest wolves.
It’s all very interesting but what is your take?