Posted: Jan 3, 2013 6:12 PM by Ben Trotter
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is being sued over the closure of a wolf hunting district outside Yellowstone National Park.
Advocacy group Citizens for Balanced Use alleges the FWP Commission that decided to close the wolf hunting district did so without posting proper public notice.
According to Citizens for Balanced Use Chairman Kerry White, "The citizens were not afforded the opportunity to make public comment before the decision was made, which violated the Montana Administrative Procedures Act, and also the constitution of the State of Montana, and the publics' right to be involved in public meeting."
According to court documents several hunters killed wolves which were wearing electronic monitoring collars. When wildlife groups heard about this they asked the Commission to shut down the wolf hunt in the district outside Yellowstone Park.
The FWP Commission in charge of wolf hunting seasons voted to close it at its December meeting. Citizens for Balanced Use then petitioned Livingston Judge Nels Swandal to issue a restraining order, to keep the district open for hunting and trapping, which he did.
FWP spokesperson Andrea Jones says that public comment on the hunting district closed in June, and after that, the commission left itself the authority to close hunting seasons if it saw fit.
According to Jones, "In numerous press releases explaining what the wolf season was all about, and how the decisions came down, we said that we gave ourselves the ability to change the wolf season as needed, and that's what was done."
A hearing for the case is scheduled for January 14th.