Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Posted: 17 Feb 2012

Montana hunt ends for season – In a unanimous vote, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission decided not to extend the 2011-2012 wolf hunt in the Bitterroot Valley. Chairman Bob Ream told the Associated Press on Wednesday: “The quota is a ceiling; it’s not a basement. If we haven’t reached the ceiling we haven’t failed. It’s been a good season and people should treat wolves like other game animals.” In comments submitted to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission Defenders agreed that the quota should not be treated as a target. Defenders also called into question assertions that wolves were to blame for declining elk numbers in the area as research into the causes of the decline is ongoing and as yet incomplete.

Thanks to all our supporters who voiced their concerns with the proposal, urging Montana to take a more measured approach to managing wolves. Your calls and letters helped convince the Montana wildlife commission that wolf management should be based on sound science, not unsubstantiated claims about the impacts of wolves.

Now that the extension has been denied, the wolf hunting season in Montana is officially over. A total of 166 wolves were killed this season during the hunt, filling or exceeding quotas in four hunting zones and coming close in several others. This summer, wildlife officials will revisit the overall quota of 220 wolves and consider modifying hunting restrictions for the next hunting season.

Wyoming wolf bill passes Senate committee – Wyoming’s revised wolf management plan, which would allow wolves to be shot on sight across a majority of the state, sailed through the state Senate wildlife committee with unanimous approval on Thursday (see full story in Casper Tribune). That shouldn’t be surprising, especially after Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead made the plan a focal point of his State of the State address on Tuesday. Mead told state legislators to approve the plan before concerned citizens have a chance to challenge it in the courts (see full story in Jackson Hole News & Guide). The controversial wolf plan has gained national attention as it would allow wolves to be killed along the John D Rockefeller Parkway that connects Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Listen to the story on NPR’s All Things Considered:

Idaho’s latest, craziest wolf kill bill – A bill circulating in the Idaho state legislature would take unchecked wolf-killing to all-new heights. A provision introduced by state Sen. Jeff Siddoway would allow ranchers to kill wolves using motorized vehicles, night vision scopes, electronic calls, traps with live bait, and ultra-light aircraft like powered parachutes.

The state has already foregone hunting quotas across most of the state and authorized the use of aerial gunning to kill up to 75 wolves in the Lolo zone of Clearwater National Forest. Now, state Sen. Jeff Siddoway wants to give ranchers carte blanche to kill wolves by practically any means. When will Idaho’s elected officials stand up and say enough is enough?

The bill comes before the state Senate Environment and Resources Committee on Monday afternoon. Please help us speak out in opposition to this awful legislation.

Read more in The Republic or click here to see the text of the proposed bill.