Montana Declares War On Wolves, AGAIN!

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I’ve always loved Montana, especially Western Montana. The Rocky Mountain Front, Bob Marshall Wilderness, The Great Bear Wilderness, Glacier National Park, The North Fork,  The Swan Range, Jewel Basin, Flathead Lake, Logan’s Pass, Going to the Sun Road, Spotted Bear, The Bitterroot Mountains and so many other wonderful places too numerous to mention.  Even its name reflects its majesty, Montana, land of mountains. Louis and Clark journeyed there on their epic exploration.

“In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned an exploration to trace the Missouri River to its source and find a water route to the Pacific Ocean.

Under the leadership of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark the Corps of Discovery covered almost 8,000 miles from St. Louis, Missouri, to the mouth of the Columbia River, returning two years later. They journeyed westward across Montana from April 1805 to September of that year. On the return trip to St. Louis in the summer of 1806, the leaders crossed Montana using two separate routes.”….

Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was struck down by the power of the Sioux Nation, on a bloody Montana battlefield.

Charles_Marion_Russell_-_The_Custer_Fight_(1903)

“It is estimated that as many as 12,000 Indians, of whom 4,000 were warriors, gathered near the Little Big Horn River, in what is now Montana, to meet with Sitting Bull. The encampment included Lakota bands (Oglalas, Brules, Sans Arcs, Minneconjous, and Hunkpapas) as well as Cheyenne and Blackfeet. The Sioux had a reputation as warriors”….eyewitnesstohistorydotcom

Montana is the third largest state in the Lower Forty Eight,  it’s huge. When I was a kid I dug for fish fossils there.

During much of the Cretaceous Period (144 to 65 million years ago) a large portion of Montana was covered by the waters of a shallow, inland sea called the Western Interior Seaway. The sea was formed as west-central North America was subsiding to an elevation below sea level. As this sinking occurred the area filled with water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean….“formontanadotnet

I can still remember sifting through the shale rock looking for a perfect two-sided fossil, it was great adventure. My childhood memories were filled with Montana, a magnificent place where the sky never ends.

Montana is blessed with abundant wildlife and certainly plenty of room for wolves. Montanans’ should be proud to live in a state that supports all top predators in vast intact ecosystems, the grizzly, the mountain lion, the gray wolf. But sadly the state has been hijacked by people who care nothing for trophic cascades or apex predators.  They want to turn Montana into a giant elk farm for their pleasure, as if elk or any of the wildlife belong to them.

I still love Montana’s beauty but there is an ugliness that hovers there now, an intolerance that holds Montana in its grasp. Montana is killing wolves, just as they did decades ago.

“In the United States, large-scale predator control programs were carried out, with wolves hunted and killed nearly to extinction.  By the middle of the 20th century, few wolves existed in the Lower 48 states.  Only several hundred gray wolves in Minnesota remained, with a few Red wolves and an occasional Mexican gray wolf reported. Both the Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf were eventually completely eliminated in the wild and prior to recent reintroduction efforts, existed only in captivity”..National Wolf Fact Sheet

The Endangered Species Act was signed by President Nixon in 1973 and by the late seventies wolves started to return home to Northwestern Montana, forming packs, some large, like the Magic Pack.

“Reports of wolves near Glacier National Park began to trickle in during the late 1970s. In 1979 a wolf was captured just north of the U.S. border in British Columbia. She was released with a radio collar. Three years later this same wolf had mated and produced a litter of eight pups. According to Hank Fischer in his book “Wolf Wars,” this pack was named the “Magic Pack” due to its tendency to appear and disappear for long periods.The Magic Pack became the first pack of wolves to inhabit the western United States in 50 years.”..Wolf Report 8/18/96

They weren’t reintroduced, they reintroduced themselves. They belong there and no hysterical elk hunter is going to tell me any different. Montana is prime wolf country and it’s their home. It’s been their home for thousands of years, before European settlers ever set foot on the continent, where Native Americans lived peacefully among them, where gray wolves co-existed with Dire wolves.

Now with wolf hysteria reaching a fever pitch, Montana has declared war on wolves once again. Ready to do the bidding of the ranching and hunting lobbies, Montana legislators aren’t satisfied that hundreds of wolves have died in the state since wolves lost their ESA protections in 2009.  They want to make life even harder for wolves. Science be damned, let politics reign. A particularly nasty piece of legislation, HB 73, sailed through the Montana Senate last week and is waiting newly elected Governor Bullock’s signature. Will he veto it? I don’t hold out much hope for that.  Again politics before science.

House Bill 73 lets the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks increase the number of wolves one hunter can take, allows for electronic calls, and removes a requirement to wear hunter orange outside general deer and elk season.
 
The measure also prohibits the state wildlife agency from banning wolf hunts in areas around national parks. Its swift passage would allow the changes to take effect during the hunting season that’s currently under way…missoulian

Take note Montana legislators, you’ve turned a once beloved state into wolf killing fields, becoming a smaller version of Alaska, a state who kills wolves without mercy or an Idaho clone, where it’s now legal to use wolf carcasses to bait wolves to their deaths.

Montana is a place where wolves howl but those howls could be silenced forever and the state I loved will never be the same again!

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Contact Governor Bullock and ask him to veto HB 73

Governor Steve Bullock 

406-444-3111

governor@mt.gov

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Two Big Horned Sheep Rams, Glacier National Park (Nabeki)

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Top Photo: tumblr

Middle Photo: Wiki Commons

Bottom Photo: Nabeki

Posted in: Wolf Wars,  Montana wolves

Tags: Montana, HB 73,  Wolf Wars,  Inland Sea, Fish Fossils, Sioux Nation, Custer, Lewis and Clark, wolf hunts

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