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Wolf hunt limits set for 2014-2015; landowners may kill up to 100 threatening wolves per year

Private land | Owners can kill wolves they believe are a threat without it counting toward hunting season
2014-07-11T06:00:00Z Wolf hunt limits set for 2014-2015; landowners may kill up to 100 threatening wolves per yearBy ROB CHANEY Missoulian Helena Independent Record
July 11, 2014 6:00 am  • 

MISSOULA — Private landowners may kill up to 100 wolves a year they believe are threatening livestock, dogs or people under a new state law that doesn’t count toward Montana’s wolf-hunting season.

But Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioners opted to monitor those landowner killings in blocks of 25 instead of an earlier plan to allow 50 kills before review. The decision came during the commission’s meeting in Missoula on Thursday.

The landowner quota is separate from the state’s annual wolf hunt. Hunters must have a wolf license and operate during an annual season, while landowners or their agents can kill wolves “that are a potential threat to human safety, livestock or domestic dogs” at any time of year. That option comes from Senate Bill 200, passed in the last Legislature.

Landowners may also kill wolves in the act of attacking livestock without affecting the 100-animal quota.

But they can only use that privilege on private land — not on public-land grazing allotments. And while landowners may allow private hunters to kill threatening wolves on their property under the quota, the landowner (not the hunter) would be responsible for any illegal wolf kill.

So, for example, if a rancher told elk hunters on his land they had his permission to shoot wolves near his cattle, they could do so under the landowner quota without using their hunting licenses. But if a hunter killed a wolf after the quota was exceeded or somewhere that the wolf posed no believable threat, the landowner could be liable for the violation.

On Thursday, the commissioners also set rules for the 2014-15 wolf hunting season, which remained generally the same as last year. The coming rifle season will run from Sept. 15 to March 15, with a bag limit of five wolves per hunter. Two hunting districts near Yellowstone National Park have quotas of three wolves, to protect packs popular with wildlife watchers in the park.

Hunters have no quota on wolves except in those areas close to Yellowstone and Glacier National parks. Last year, hunters killed 128 wolves while trappers took another 97.

Landowners have killed far fewer wolves under previous shoot-on-sight rules for livestock protection. FWP wildlife manager Quentin Kujula said the past several years averaged less than 10.

“Landowners want the opportunity to deal with the situation themselves,” FWP director Jeff Hagener said after the unanimous approval of the quota. “They don’t want to wait for compensation for wolf depredation or for (federal) Wildlife Services to arrive. This way, they don’t have additional costs, and we the taxpayers don’t have additional costs.”

That prompted commissioners Matthew Tourtlotte and Gary Wolfe to amend the landowner rule. The original version required commission review after the first 50 wolves were killed. Tourtlotte and Wolfe proposed making checks in 25-kill blocks.

“I’m really concerned about a perception there’s open season on wolves on private land in Montana,” Wolfe said. “This is to give landowners the ability to address legitimate perceived threats, not to create an open season on private land. It’s easier to become more liberal than try and back off in the future.”

Commission chairman Dan Vermillion said estimates of the state’s wolf population show it has been able to absorb the impact of no-quota hunting seasons. Montana has around 600 wolves.

“I think this is the kind of program that helps foster more tolerance for wolves on the landscape,” Vermillion said.

When wolves were protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, Montanans felt powerless to deal with the predators’ impact, and that fostered intolerance for their presence, he argued.

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. Leahberyl
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    Leahberyl - July 16, 2014 4:55 pm
    A poorly written article at best..
  2. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - July 15, 2014 1:47 pm
    Somehow, I have a hard time with the idea that being allowed to kill wolves en masse is going to improve public tolerance for their presence.
  3. GreatWhite
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    GreatWhite - July 15, 2014 8:18 am
    Reality22, you live in your own little head. That is what you are proving 100%. I have NEVER insinuated that man (of any origins) and any predator lived 'happily side by side' as you seem to believe I have.

    All I have said is BEFORE man intervened with nature, nature was in balance. That is worlds apart from your whole attempt at whatever. All you have shown is how ignorant man (native American included.) has been and is towards predators. But don't stop with return trips to Europe, or stop going back only to 1759...what happened in the early Americas was the same thing the Europeans did over in Europe before coming over here.

    Humanity at its worst, thanks for pointing it out so eloquently. Don't bother mentioning all the other species man did kill to extinction in the past. No. Man is the savior of nature.

    Read more about Washington wolves.

    Poaching and lack of education has become their greatest enemies there. The problem is, these animals were largely removed from the landscape for far to long, and the deep seated bitterness and resentments towards them that came over with our ancestors is what they fight today.

    You don't like them, that is all you will ever see. And you will automatically hate anybody that does like them. It's a given. You ain't the first, you won't be the last.

    The genius of some men: set up an industry in direct conflict with nature, and come up with a solution to make nature fit around that industry. And that solution is 'predator management'. Very little of which has to do with any real threat or danger to man. That is statistical fact. The majority of this is driven because these men introduced a food item into an existing, functional food chain, and then opted to punish and remove parts of that existing food chain for mans convenience. Nothing more, nothing less.
  4. Reality22
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    Reality22 - July 14, 2014 7:43 pm
    Millions of acres on the Northern Range of Yellowstone and "great whites" only healthy is what unmanaged wolves leaves for scraps..... The fallacy that he wants everyone to believe is that these predator pits he and his ilk have created are the only state of health in the eco-systems around Yellowstone.... The problem is wolves have NEVER lived around people and have gotten a free pass. Natives have been part of the eco-systems around Yellowstone for at least 12000 years ..... this is what we know about Natives & wolves.

    * Early Shipping manifest for return trips to Europe show young wolf pelts from dug up dens along with hibernating bears as being common place.

    * Excavation of discard pits from early Native Americans shows ratios averaging 65 prey 35 predator bones.

    * Native American lived with dogs as pets...Anyone with any knowledge of an outdoor people living with dogs in the way Indians would have would know this to be absurd. Without a doubt, an outdoor people WOULD NOT live in harmony with wolves & having Canis Lupus familiaris as pets.

    * Letharia vulpina – wolf poison - goes back to AT LEAST 1759 & was believed to have been used by and originated with Natives to kill wolves and foxes (predators) by stuffing dead animals with this lichen…

    * Young Apache Native Americans would kill wolves, cougars or bears as a rite of passage to adulthood.

    * The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation have opened a hunting season for gray wolves two years ago on their reservation that sprawls across 1.4 million acres even before delisting and hunting of wolves all across Washington State. Wolves are not hunted in the state of Washington to this day EXCEPT on the reservation.

    The unprecedented pass for all predators that people like great white pimp upon the game animals of the Yellowstone ecosystems is disgusting.... As the population went into its free fall when it hit 9000 the wolf scientist were gushing over themselves to say how "healthy" Yellowstone was ....same rhetoric at 6000 and more of the same at 4000 and the population was still falling.... two years ago they counted 3921 elk. NOW last year they used the excuse that "the conditions were bad" and they couldn't get a chopper as to why they didn't count the elk.

    Native Americas lived all over North America especially on water ways..... To think that as they (native americans) live on the Yellowstone river and were living "in harmony" with wolves as GW would want us to believe is a real laugher. NEVER have the predators of Yellowstone had it this good (as the eco-systems suffer) .....thanks to the predator pimps.
  5. GreatWhite
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    GreatWhite - July 14, 2014 11:06 am
    Find it kind of curious how my comments keep disappearing from some of these threads.

    And they haven't been abusive...but apparently someone doesn't like the message. And there is a common poster that tags along and appears to be reporting them...

    It appears there is more 'extreme prejudice' against predators than the FWP's either realizes, or has the authority to do anything about. They probably should really rethink what they are doing here, it's just going to make an already existent problem even worse.

    When there are people commenting about killing them illegally (it's happened on other threads.) and people practically salivating on their keyboard while they brag about 'having 5 tags' and shooting anything they see around their cattle, it's pretty obvious we have a huge problem in Montana. And the bulk of it is those that that lack the reason and understanding to really know what drives them into the extreme hatred they have towards certain animals.

    To literally hate an animal...what kind of mind does that reflect!?!? Really.
  6. NONYA
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    NONYA - July 14, 2014 10:25 am
    We wish you had a better state to live in!
  7. NONYA
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    NONYA - July 14, 2014 10:25 am
    So I have 5 tags AND I can shoot anything I see around our cattle,sounds like a good season coming up!
  8. GreatWhite
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    GreatWhite - July 14, 2014 9:39 am
    Hmmm unReality11 1/2....

    "The ones that benefit from a "Donate Now" button being pressed or a book they have written." Wrong on that account.

    "The ones that are on the Government dole and benefit from the increase tax dollars being spent cleaning up after these vermin or the extraordinary amounts of money to study them." Wrong again!!

    "The ones that benefit from the gross amount of tax dollars being spent on litigation like EAJA dollars we spend on rich environmental lawyers." Strike three!

    " Or, the ones that have a bigoted hate for sportsman, ranchers or farmers."

    Looks like you are "0" for "4".

    If you think wolves are 'managed' from the same 'heart spot' as say, Elk, you are a fool. Well...worse than I thought anyways. And your comment has a bit of deception in it...the northern Yellowstone herd has long been known to be way more than the area should have ever had. Not to mention, while you are attributing their lowered numbers strictly to predators, there are other reasons for the decline; weather (drought related issues) and a season where the state issued a very high number of cow tags for Elk that strayed outside of the Yellowstone border. (You know how trigger happy those guys in Gardiner can be!!)

    My problem is with ignorance, mainly, those that keep wanting to focus on the 'reason' they can't see beyond and ignore that there are many factors causing this situation. It's selective blindness or selective ignorance.

    I would rather my tax dollars IN MONTANA go towards protecting the wolves, and out of state wolf haters but(t) out of this issue.
  9. Reality22
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    Reality22 - July 13, 2014 5:53 pm
    17 Trillion in debt and Louise want the Feds back sticking their nose where it don't belong both constitutionally and morally. Typically, people that pimp wolves for controversy like Louise & Snow White fall into one or more of the following categories,

    The ones that benefit from a "Donate Now" button being pressed or a book they have written.

    The ones that are on the Government dole and benefit from the increase tax dollars being spent cleaning up after these vermin or the extraordinary amounts of money to study them.

    The ones that benefit from the gross amount of tax dollars being spent on litigation like EAJA dollars we spend on rich environmental lawyers.

    Or, the ones that have a bigoted hate for sportsman, ranchers or farmers.

    Wolves are managed as other animals to keep a balance in the wide spectrum of healthy for eco-systems. The problem Louse can't get past is that in areas where wolves are saturated game herds have plummeted to predator pit status. Two of the numerous examples of predator pits are: The Northern Yellowstone one 19000 falling to 3921..... And the Lolo range in Idaho where that herd went from 19000 to 1000. What about those animals. We have been told that Yellowstone is "healthy" at 9000 elk.

    It has been shameful, tawdry and very sad the amounts of money spent on frivolous lawsuits for this animal an animal that is not endangered or even threatened. The international organization IUCN list the gray wolf as a species of "least concern" and Louis wants them back on the Federal Endangered List so we can waste more of our precious federal endangered resources on wolves. ...shameful tawdry and sad....very sad.
  10. RobertJ
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    RobertJ - July 12, 2014 8:19 am
    Louise keep your ideas out of our state, you and your wildlife liberal friends on the wildlife news are cowards hiding behind law suits. The wolf never has been endangered and never will be. These wolves are not pets as some of you have made to be like a celebrity like OR7.
    GW I could care less about your condescending snide remarks, bring it on.
  11. louise kane
    Report Abuse
    louise kane - July 12, 2014 6:00 am
    He said I" am really concerned there is a perception that its open season on wolves". There is an open season on wolves in Montana. It's time to push to have wolves relisted and to demand the federal government do its job and monitor these populations in hostile and irresponsible states like Montana, Idaho and Wyoming as well as Wisconsin. The treatment of wolves since delisting has been shameful, tawdry and very sad.
  12. FlamingLiberal1
    Report Abuse
    FlamingLiberal1 - July 11, 2014 2:36 pm
    Pity there is so much irrational hatred for the wolf.

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