Montana FWP Holding Hearings Tonight On Increasing Wolf Hunt Quotas For 2010…

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is holding hearings tonight across the state to discuss their proposed increased wolf hunt quotas. Please see the list of locations at the bottom of this post.

 It seems the hundreds of wolves that were slaughtered in Montana since their delisting last year wasn’t enough. The state wants to kill more, lots more. They are proposing to raise the wolf hunt quotas from 75 to either 153, 186  or 216.  There is no going back to 75.  It’s either double or nearly triple the wolf hunt quotas or somewhere in-between.

What does this mean for wolves and the people that want to see them on the landscape, raising their families, living in peace?  The news is all bad. The state seems determined to greatly reduce the wolf population in the state and are using the outdated 15 breeding pair, 150 wolf minimum recovery numbers, which is what all wolf advocates feared would happen once the states took over “management” of wolves from the feds.


“The current and predicted number of breeding pairs is above the 15 breeding pairs required to offer harvest opportunity. Furthermore, the total number of wolves and the number of breeding pairs are also above levels which could trigger relisting under ESA.”

So there you have it wolf supporters.

Why are they doing this you ask?  Here is the summary of reasons they give for the  increased killing:  


1. Maintain a viable and connected wolf population in Montana.
 Both quota alternatives look to maintain the current overall distribution of wolves albeit at a reduced level.
 ( I completely disagree, how will killing this many wolves maintain a viable and connected wolf population in Montana? It will further decrease genetic connectivity, wreak  havoc on pack structure and  cohesiveness placing the wolf population in peril. Have any studies been done on what effect all this killing has had on wolves? I haven’t seen any?)

2. Gain and maintain authority for State of Montana to manage wolves.

 (Well that is certainly true, the state and feds (Wildlife Services)  are certainly making life and death decisions over wolves lives)

 Of 1000 simulations for each proposed quota, no individual simulation produced less than 15 breeding pairs statewide.

(There they go again, referring to the 15 breeding pair limits, indicating they want to “manage” (kill) wolves down to the bare minimum that would trigger ESA to relist them.)

 3. Maintain positive and effective working relationships with livestock producers, hunters, and other stakeholders.

 (So livestock producers and hunters get a mention but everyone else is lumped into “other stakeholders? Do they even talk to wolf advocates or consider their input? It doesn’t look like it.)

Current wolf levels are well above conservation minimums. The proposed reduction maintains species distribution and viability while recognizing growing sentiment among some publics for a reduced wolf presence. It also seeks to recognize and balance an awareness that other publics seek a greater wolf presence.

( Who are these publics that are asking for a reduced wolf population besides ranchers, hunters and outfitters? Has there been official polling or discussion about this? I don’t remember the state asking what Montanans feel about greatly reducing the wolf population? The only people the state seems to be listening to are hunters, ranchers and outfitters)

4a. Reduce wolf impacts on livestock.

(Well there you have it, even though wolves were only responsible for 214 cattle losses in 2009 out of a population of 6 million cattle in the entire Northern Rockies. Where’s the crisis? Stock growers lose tens of thousands of cattle to non-predation. Wolves aren’t event close to the main predator of cattle who are coyotes, followed by domestic dogs.)

While it is not clear exactly what relationship will evolve between hunter harvest and any reduction in livestock depredations, given the history of wolves and depredation events it is reasonable to assume that some reduction to a previous population level stands to potentially reduce livestock depredations. Additionally, hunter harvest has some unknown potential to literally and directly curtail or prevent livestock loss or agency response to that loss at a local scale.4b. Reduce wolf impacts on big game populations.”

 (More hunting priorities, haven’t seen anything yet that benefits wolves. It’s all about hunters and ranchers and their interests)

FWP’s commitment to wolf is no less than its commitment to other wildlife and is adaptively pursuing a balance that accommodates all species’ biology and population status.

(Sure you are.)

 4c. Maintain sustainable hunter opportunity for wolves.

(Again what hunters need.)

 Consistent with all managed wildlife species, FWP wolf management is grounded in the statutory direction and agency intent to prevent relisting and to provide species viability and presence and associated public opportunities in perpetuity. 

Uh-huh…you want to take the wolf population down to the bare minimum  right above where ESA would trigger.)

4d. Maintain sustainable hunter opportunity for ungulates.

(Hunters needs again, I see a pattern here)

This proposed reduction in wolf numbers reflects concern over ungulate populations but does not dismiss the value of the wolf, its biological needs and its ecological role.

(The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation released a rosy picture of elk numbers in Montana in their Spring 2009 press release, stating elk numbers in the state had risen by 66% since the group was  founded in 1984.  They stated the Montana elk herd was at 150,000. Doesn’t sound like elk are doing badly in Montana at all. Yes there may be some areas where elk have declined but it’s called nature. Numbers in nature are not stationary but overall elk are doing just fine in Montana.)

5. Increase broad public acceptance of sustainable harvest and hunter opportunity as part of wolf conservation.

(Nice PR but it doesn’t fly with wolf advocates)

 This proposal looks to keep hunters and livestock producers supportive of wolves in Montana and recognizes that without the elements of hunter harvest the wolf cannot be widely supported in the state. It also looks to demonstrate Montana’s careful consideration of wolf population data as the basis for proposing two quota options for the Commission to consider.

(So again we have to please hunters and ranchers by killing more wolves so they will be more accepting of wolves. Makes absolutely no sense whatsover)

6. Enhance open and effective communication to better inform decisions.

Staff efforts in this proposal development have exceeded usual proposal development process. The modeling simulations and other information will be proactively made available to decision makers and to others upon request. A single night of public meetings in each of the seven FWP administrative regions will assist all parties in understanding any Commission adoption and how to engage the public comment opportunity.

 (So the commission just arbitrarily decides to get rid of the 75 wolf hunt quota and give three other options, 153, 186 or 216. There is no going back to 75.  How does this contribute to open and effective communication? People that support wolves don’t want the quota’s increased, period or believe we should even be having wolf hunts.)

7. Learn and improve as we go.

Given current uncertainties associated with a relatively short history of wolf management with hunting on the Montana landscape, the present high and growing dissatisfaction with the current wolf population level by some segments of the public and the specie’s reproductive ability to grow and/or rebound, it is paramount that FWP move forward in decisive fashion that clearly prescribes actions with predictions that can be recognized, measured and responded to. Season adoptions are scheduled to be annual rather than biennial to better adapt to evolving management understanding.” 

(I give them an F so far on wolf killing, ooops I mean management for having a wolf hunt mere months after wolves were delisted. No buffer zones around the two national parks, Yellowstone and Glacier. The state opened the 2009 hunt  right outside of Yellowstone and decimated the famous and studied Cottonwood Pack.  Three wolves that were known poached in the North Fork of the Flathead were NOT added to the quota. )

Just to sum up the situation and the seriousness of what the state of Montana is proposing to do to the wolf population.

64 wolves have died in 2010 already, 44 were killed by WS, the rest shot by ranchers, hit by cars, etc.  Out of a population of 520 that leaves 456.  If WS matches last years killing of 145 wolves and I have no reason to believe they won’t match or exceed that number, since they continue to kill wolves, right now they are gunning for 18 more wolves and it’s only June.

If we factor in another 100 wolves or more that could likely be killed by Wildlife Services in 2010, that would take the wolf population down to 356. 

Then deduct 150, which is the first hunt quota proposal. That would leave 206 wolves.

If they go with the 186 quota that leaves 170 wolves on the landscape at the end of 2010.

If the  216 quota is selected that could leave only 140 wolves left in Montana by the end of the 2010, which would actually trigger ESA to relist them. So not matter what quota is chosen wolves will be slaughtered in high numbers between the hunts and Wildlife Services.

Another thing that has not been factored is poaching (SSS), accidents (getting hit by cars) and general wolf mortality. This will certainly reduce the wolf population even further.  The USFWS should be seriously looking into this dire situation instead of agreeing with what has been going on:

From the Missoulian: May 17-21 | 15 from five packs killed in Montana, 5 Deadly Days For Wolves

(article concerning the recent killing of fifteen wolves in five days from five different packs by Wildlife Services for agribusiness) Ed Bangs, USFWS

Bradley and Ed Bangs, who managed wolves for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until those duties were turned over to the state, note that high wolf mortality is typical in the spring. That’s because wolves are close to calving livestock in the lower elevations and big game hasn’t moved into the high country yet, drawing wolves out of the valleys.

Bangs added that in previous years, federal agents have taken out large packs for livestock depredation, pointing to the removal of 22 out of 23 wolves in the Livermore pack during a three-day period last September as an example.

But this month, the removal actions are all over the map. Four wolves were killed May 21 west of Missoula and another to the north, from a different pack, on May 20. In the east fork of the Bitterroot, a wolf was shot on May 15 and another on May 17. Two wolves were killed north of Wisdom May 18 and another was shot the next day. Two wolves were killed north of Helmville May 18 and another on May 23. Two wolves were killed May 18 north of Wolf Creek.

“We knew from early on that this would happen, which is why Wildlife Services has been a partner from early on,” Bangs said. “You can see from the wolf reports that we’ve been heading toward this for years — more depredations so there’s more control. When we started, we would move problem animals around, capturing them and putting them somewhere else, but there’s enough now that we just kill them.”

Nuff said, thanks Ed for that perspective. Now there are enough wolves they can just kill them. Terrific! (sigh)

Of course FWP will counter with we haven’t counted the 2010 wolf puppies that were born this Spring. But pups have a high mortality rate and five hundred wolves died in the Northern Rockies last year, so who knows what effect that had on breeding pairs?  Plus Wildife Services has been actively killing entire wolf packs in 2010 right in the middle of pup season.. How many of the 2010 wolf pups were killed along with their parents in “control actions”.  They can’t comfortably fall back on the 2010 puppies to make up for all the killing that’s going to go on between the hunts and Wildlife Services in 2010.

Please attend one of these meetings and speak out for wolves. Don’t let the ranchers and hunters dictate wolf pollicy. Wolves have no voice and they are being treated like vermin. Please stand up for them!!

 From News Channel 642:

Posted: Tuesday, 01 June 2010 3:18PM

Montana’s Fish Wildlife and Parks holding hearings (tonight)

“Montana’s Fish Wildlife and Parks is holding hearings around the state……in reference to the plan to more than double the wolf hunt. Here’s the schedule:The meeting will be held at the following locations on June 2 from 7-9 p.m.:

• Billings-FWP Headquarters; 2300 Lake Elmo Dr.

• Bozeman-Holiday Inn; 5 E. Baxter Lane

• Glasgow-Valley County Court House; 501 Court Square

• Kalispell-FWP Headquarters; 490 N. Meridian Rd.

• Great Falls-FWP Headquarters; 4600 Giant Springs Rd.

• Miles City-FWP Headquarters; 352 I-94 Business Loop

• Missoula-Double Tree Hotel Missoula Edgewater; 100 Madison

Last year, Montana’s first ever wolf harvest quota was 75 wolves across three WMUs. Officials estimate that at least 524 wolves in 101 verified packs and 37 breeding pairs inhabited the state at the end of 2009. The Montana wolf population is predicted to decrease under each of the quota alternatives currently being considered by the FWP Commission.”


Posted in: Montana Wolves, Wolf Wars, Howling For Justice

Tags: Montana FWP, Increased Montana wolf hunt quotas, war on wolves, where are the wolf studies?, hunters and ranchers 



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