Three wolves were poached in the North Fork of the Flathead recently but the quota of allowable hunted wolves was not changed in response to those illegal acts. Montana FWP defended their non-action on the premise that wolves die from lots of things so they just worked the poached wolf numbers into general wolf mortality. Sorry I’m not buying it. Three wolves were illegally shot and the guy that shot two of them, Randy Houk from Columbia Falls, Mt, got off with a fine. He didn’t lose his hunting license, because supposedly he cooperated with authorities. So what, give him a gold star and still take away his hunting license. Altogether five wolves were lost in the North Fork. Two to hunting and three to poaching. Why not stronger poaching consequences?
There are two North Fork wolf packs that den in the relative safety of Glacier National Park, the Dutch Pack and Kintla Pack. Before wolf hunting started these packs were safe to roam, as wolves have been doing in the North Fork for the last thirty years. Unfortunately, like Yellowstone’s Cottonwood Pack, they don’t read signs and regularly cross back and forth across park boundaries.
Why are wolves being “managed” as replaceable units with the “wolf is a wolf is wolf” approach? The loss of alphas can destroy a pack, as we saw in the recent slaying of Yellowstone’s Cottonwood alphas. Defenders of Wildlife spoke out on this issue stating poached wolves should be counted in the quota.
In the meantime wolf hunting marches on with 98 dead wolves in Idaho and 64 + 3 poached wolves in Montana.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Categories posted in: Glacier National Park, Montana wolf hunt, North Fork,
Tags: wolf poaching, Montana wolf hunt, gray wolf