Posted: Mar 27, 2013 11:09 AM by Evan Weborg
Updated: Mar 27, 2013 11:09 AM
HELENA - Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reports that there are more than 600 wolves roaming Montana, and a bill before the legislature would allow land owners to take wolves off their private property without a license in some cases.
"You are going to have to report to [wolf kills to] the department [FWP]. You are going to have to preserve the carcass of the wolf, if that wolf is on your property and is a potential threat to safety to your livestock or pets, so there still is some requirements for the landowner," explained Sen. Chas Vincent (R-Libby).
Montana saw 225 wolves harvested by and hunting and trapping across the state during the 2012-2013 season, which met there 220 quota set by state wildlife officials. The recently released wolf report provides officials with an accurate count to work into the current wolf management plan that has been established by FWP officials.
"We really think that Senate Bill 200, as it now exists, is a good compromise. It provides reasonable management flexibility, it gives the landowner the opportunity to protect their property without compromising the wolf population," FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim said.
Opposition for the bill comes with idea that the legislation might open up the flood gates for those hunting without a license, thus endangering wolf population numbers.
"Well originally we didn't have any hunting licenses in Montana, and elk were essentially wiped out, wolves were wiped out, big game was wiped out. Unregulated hunting has proven not to be a good idea," observed Michael Garrity with the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.
"The adapted management provision of the current plan that we have in Montana will ensure that this species will not re-listed [as an endangered species], as long as [the numbers don't] get down to 15 breedable pair, or 150 wolves," Vincent pointed out.