Montana lawmakers call for wolf de-listing for eating elk

spectr17

Administrator
Admin
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
69,494
Reaction score
378
De-listing of wolves sought

By JENNIFER McKEE, Billings Gazette State Bureau

HELENA - Concerned about what they see as an elk-hungry, exploding population of wolves in the state, a group of lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Judy Martz Monday asking the state to push for more control over wolves and thousands in federal dollars to pay for the elk wolves eat.

Reps. Dan Fuchs, R-Billings, and Joe Balyeat, R-Bozeman, and Sens. Mike Sprague, R-Billings, and Jack Wells, R-Bozeman, called wolves and other large predators like mountain lions and grizzly bears "killing machines."

"But the distinct thing about the wolf is - it's a killing machine and a breeding machine all rolled into one," the letter reads.

The lawmakers, who represent the chairman and vice chairmen of both the House and Senate Fish, Wildlife and Parks committees, are concerned that before the lengthy federal process of taking the wolf off the federal endangered species list will be over, wolf numbers in Montana will have swelled to the point of nuisance, if not outright danger, said Fuchs.

Wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone Park in 1995 as part of a federal effort to replant the animals in Yellowstone and the lands round it. Wolves are native to the park, but were exterminated early in the last century. As part of the wolf reintroduction plan, the federal government manages the wolves - and killing one is a federal offense - until the wolf population reaches a certain point.

"They're territorial," Fuchs said. "Each litter has to search out some new territory, so they're going to be moving all over outside the park."

Already, Fuchs said, wolves are making their presence known. He cited one late-season elk hunt that has been cut back extensively, he believes, to fewer elk as a result of hungry wolf packs.

The letter said each elk is worth about $4,000. Fuchs said that figure came from both the game farm industry and what Fish, Wildlife and Parks has estimated the replacement cost of one elk to be.

To that end, the lawmakers say they're ready to push for new laws in the 2003 Legislature that would bar the state from agreeing to take over management of the wolf until a handful of criteria can be met.

Among other things, lawmakers want the federal government to kick in 80 percent of the cost for managing wolves, even after the animals have been de-listed and can be legally hunted in Montana.

They want Washington, D.C., to reimburse the state for hunting losses due to elk and deer who were killed and eaten by wolves.

They want the state to act quickly, Fuchs said, because wolf populations are on the rise and by the time the slow, de-listing process is complete - which isn't expected until 2004 at the earliest - hundreds of wolves could be all over the state.

Fuchs said the letter was supposed to be dropped in the mail Monday.

Ed Bangs, wolf recovery specialist for the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, said he completely agrees with the lawmakers that wolves rebounded quickly after their reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park seven years ago and will likely have enough wolves this December to begin the process of taking the wolves off the federal endangered species list. Bangs said he estimated the wolves could be off the protected list by 2004.

But, he said, the agency has no intention of letting the wolves swell to uncomfortably large numbers and stress farmers, ranchers and city-folk.

"We've killed eight entire packs since 1987," Bangs said. And the agency is prepared to kill wolves who kill livestock or attempt to set up new packs in places they're not welcome, like the agriculturally-dominant plains.

For now, most wolves are on public land.

Montana, with 123 wolves, has the smallest population of wolves of all the states where wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone in 1995.

Before the states can take over management of the wolf, all three - Montana, Wyoming and Idaho - must pass certain laws and have a state-level wolf management plan ready. Idaho's management plan is already finished, Bangs said. Montana's is nearly finished and appears to be a good plan. But Wyoming just started theirs, Bangs said, which is why, although the wolves will technically have reached their "population goal" this December, they cannot be turned over to the state for management.

Suzanne Laverty, the western field representative for the Defenders of Wildlife, the private group that has paid ranchers for livestock lost to wolves, said she thinks some of the lawmakers wants are ridiculous - like the federal reimbursement for elk killed by wolves.

"I bet hunters don't pay $4,000," she said.
 

spectr17

Administrator
Admin
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
69,494
Reaction score
378
De-listing of wolves sought

By JENNIFER McKEE, Billings Gazette State Bureau

HELENA - Concerned about what they see as an elk-hungry, exploding population of wolves in the state, a group of lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Judy Martz Monday asking the state to push for more control over wolves and thousands in federal dollars to pay for the elk wolves eat.

Reps. Dan Fuchs, R-Billings, and Joe Balyeat, R-Bozeman, and Sens. Mike Sprague, R-Billings, and Jack Wells, R-Bozeman, called wolves and other large predators like mountain lions and grizzly bears "killing machines."

"But the distinct thing about the wolf is - it's a killing machine and a breeding machine all rolled into one," the letter reads.

The lawmakers, who represent the chairman and vice chairmen of both the House and Senate Fish, Wildlife and Parks committees, are concerned that before the lengthy federal process of taking the wolf off the federal endangered species list will be over, wolf numbers in Montana will have swelled to the point of nuisance, if not outright danger, said Fuchs.

Wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone Park in 1995 as part of a federal effort to replant the animals in Yellowstone and the lands round it. Wolves are native to the park, but were exterminated early in the last century. As part of the wolf reintroduction plan, the federal government manages the wolves - and killing one is a federal offense - until the wolf population reaches a certain point.

"They're territorial," Fuchs said. "Each litter has to search out some new territory, so they're going to be moving all over outside the park."

Already, Fuchs said, wolves are making their presence known. He cited one late-season elk hunt that has been cut back extensively, he believes, to fewer elk as a result of hungry wolf packs.

The letter said each elk is worth about $4,000. Fuchs said that figure came from both the game farm industry and what Fish, Wildlife and Parks has estimated the replacement cost of one elk to be.

To that end, the lawmakers say they're ready to push for new laws in the 2003 Legislature that would bar the state from agreeing to take over management of the wolf until a handful of criteria can be met.

Among other things, lawmakers want the federal government to kick in 80 percent of the cost for managing wolves, even after the animals have been de-listed and can be legally hunted in Montana.

They want Washington, D.C., to reimburse the state for hunting losses due to elk and deer who were killed and eaten by wolves.

They want the state to act quickly, Fuchs said, because wolf populations are on the rise and by the time the slow, de-listing process is complete - which isn't expected until 2004 at the earliest - hundreds of wolves could be all over the state.

Fuchs said the letter was supposed to be dropped in the mail Monday.

Ed Bangs, wolf recovery specialist for the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, said he completely agrees with the lawmakers that wolves rebounded quickly after their reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park seven years ago and will likely have enough wolves this December to begin the process of taking the wolves off the federal endangered species list. Bangs said he estimated the wolves could be off the protected list by 2004.

But, he said, the agency has no intention of letting the wolves swell to uncomfortably large numbers and stress farmers, ranchers and city-folk.

"We've killed eight entire packs since 1987," Bangs said. And the agency is prepared to kill wolves who kill livestock or attempt to set up new packs in places they're not welcome, like the agriculturally-dominant plains.

For now, most wolves are on public land.

Montana, with 123 wolves, has the smallest population of wolves of all the states where wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone in 1995.

Before the states can take over management of the wolf, all three - Montana, Wyoming and Idaho - must pass certain laws and have a state-level wolf management plan ready. Idaho's management plan is already finished, Bangs said. Montana's is nearly finished and appears to be a good plan. But Wyoming just started theirs, Bangs said, which is why, although the wolves will technically have reached their "population goal" this December, they cannot be turned over to the state for management.

Suzanne Laverty, the western field representative for the Defenders of Wildlife, the private group that has paid ranchers for livestock lost to wolves, said she thinks some of the lawmakers wants are ridiculous - like the federal reimbursement for elk killed by wolves.

"I bet hunters don't pay $4,000," she said.
 

SDHNTR

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Messages
6,716
Reaction score
13
I love that last line.  Man does that show her ignorance.  She should spend 15 minutes and search the web for outfitted elk hunts.  They just barely start at $4000, not to mention tags, gear, gas, etc.  She needs to pull her head out of her a$$ and do some research before she opens that big yapper.

(Edited by SDHNTR at 7:11 am on July 17, 2002)
 

Latest Posts

Advertisement



Top Bottom