Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lawmakers look for stronger actions against wolves in MT

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HELENA - The Montana House of Representatives is taking a bold stand and asking the state's wildlife agency to more aggressively manage wolves.

Lawmakers have unanimously approved House Bill 73, which gives Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks more tools to manage wolves.

The measure allows hunters to purchase more than one wolf tag and use electronic calls to lure the animals, and also reduces the price of a nonresident wolf license from 350 dollars to 50.
The bill is responding to cries from livestock producers and hunters who say the wolves are negatively impacting the landscape in Montana and want to see the state more aggressively manage the species.

"This bill is about one of the great successes we've had with wildlife recover in Montana, the recovery of the wolf. Unfortunately, along with the recovery we've found we need more management tools in Montana," said Rep. Kelly Flunn (R-Townsend).

The bill also states that in hunting districts adjacent to national parks the FWP Commission is prohibited from closing a district unless the wolf quota has been met.

This responds to a recent Commission decision to close a district outside Yellowstone Park after hunters reported killing several wolves with tracking devices on them.

Following one more procedural vote, the bill will move to Senate.