Please scroll down for wild bison, trapping, and grizzly bear issues. Scroll down–we’ll tell you how to contact the governor and tourism office. This page was updated 2/13/14 with wild bison news.
NOTICE! Learn about a citizen-driven ballot initiative for 2014 to eliminate trapping on Montana’s public lands; visit Trap Free Montana Public Lands.
“Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of the wolf.”
~from Thinking Like A Mountain by Aldo Leopold
NEW (1/18/14): Judge refuses to halt wolf extermination in ID Wilderness – here
ALSO ADDED (1/20): Top Yellowstone Expert Takes on the Wolf Critics – here
9/15/13: Montana’s wolf rifle season opens today; two wolves shot during archery season. “Conservation groups have criticized the state’s liberal wolf hunting rules as a threat to their long-term population. But livestock owners and hunters have pushed for even more wolves to be killed…” Full article here. MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks wolf hunting guide (includes “harvest” status) – here.
5/2/13: FWP recommends expanded wolf season & bag limit - a 6-1/2 month hunting season? Up to FIVE wolves per hunter/trapper? No statewide quota?
Use of electronic calls? “We’re just looking for opportunities to hunt wolves…” said the Wildlife Management Chief for MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Article here. Check out the comments posted to it. UPDATE: Final bill language (as signed by governor) is here.
Montana Wolf Advisory Council’s former members meet again–call for bounty system: Background info: Billings Gazette – “Wolf advisory group to meet with governor” here; Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) news release here. The wolf advisory council was created in 2000 to advise FWP on the development of a wolf conservation and management plan before de-listing occurred. Given the overwhelming animosity toward predators in the current state legislature and the governor’s signature on a bill rammed through to expedite wolf killing (see item below at 2/14), this advisory council meeting won’t be a love fest for wolves. Pro-trapping forces are already angling for snares and body-grip traps to be added to the arsenal of foothold traps and projectiles.
4/15/13 UPDATE: Follow-up to meeting reported here.
UPDATE: SB 397 is DEAD! Previous actions:
BEAR BAITING stricken from bill; WOLF SNARING remained. Another Montana “sportsman” legislator (he’s also a hunting outfitter; visit his website) has introduced a bill to expedite the killing of predators–another extremist bill that throws so-called “fair chase ethics” out the window to give elk hunters a leg up. Especially egregious: an outfitter/legislator introducing a bill to kill native predators by hook or by crook so he can make money (check out his fees) leading hunters to elk!
WOLF SLAUGHTER SEASON ENDED 2/28/13.
3/1/13 tally: MONTANA WOLF SLAUGHTER AT 225: 128 WOLVES DEAD IN HUNT; 97 DEAD IN TRAPS (NRDC photo)
”That’s on top of 104 wolves that were killed by government wildlife agents and ranchers last year due to livestock attacks or other conflicts.” Missoulian
2/14/13: Gov. Bullock signs law expanding Montana wolf hunt – Missoulian
2/10/13: Yellowstone wolf biologists lament wolf deaths: Billings Gazette - ”When reports of the wolf kills hit the media, (wolf researcher) Smith said he got calls and emails of outrage from around the world. ‘The park has an international constituency and our mission is preservation…The kills are a big hit on our research, but another big concern for us is that too many kills affect visitor enjoyment.’”
2/8/13: Legislature (MT) give quick OK to expanded wolf hunt…Missoulian
12/28: “Montana won’t limit Yellowstone-area wolf hunts” – Missoulian
12/18: “Judge: Wolf hunting, trapping can continue near Yellowstone Park” Missoulian
12/16: “Wolf trapping season begins; protest held in Missoula” – Missoulian
“Montana shuts down wolf harvest near Yellowstone” Full article at the Billings Gazette. Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks commission met via phone conference Monday, 12/10 to discuss setting restrictions on wolf trapping–due to start the 15th–around Yellowstone. “We don’t want to close any area off if we don’t have to. But if we keep losing collared wolves … management becomes difficult,” (Commissioner) Colton said. “We want to do this first trapping season right.” Article (prior to the phone conference)
Why this recent development? The “world’s most famous wolf”–a collared research wolf–was killed outside of Yellowstone. The alpha female of the Lamar pack is the 8th collared wolf to die in the Northern Rockies near-free-for-all slaughter.
12/8/12: ‘Famous’ wolf is killed outside Yellowstone: “The wolf…was the alpha female of the park’s highly visible Lamar Canyon pack and had become so well known that some wildlife watchers referred to her as a “rock star.”” From an article in the New York Times. This story has gone around the globe–the entire world knows that the Northern Rockies states are waging war on their own wildlife.
11/15/12: Yellowstone wolves dying in Northern Rockies wolf hunt–seven of them collared by park researchers. And Montana’s brutal wolf trapping season hasn’t even started yet! Story here. Pic: US FWS ESA page.
7/11/12: “WOLF TRAPPING: CRUEL, UNNECESSARY” ~Missoulian editorial
Why is it necessary to kill “enough” wolves by hook or by crook?
FWP has been under pressure by ranchers and hunters to do more to reduce the wolf population just a year after a congressional budget rider removed federal protections for the animal from Idaho and Montana. They complain that the rising wolf population threatens elk herds and livestock. ~Ravalli Republic
That’s right. Ranchers and hunters are calling the shots in the management of native wildlife in Montana. Let our governor and tourism office know that you won’t be spending any vacation dollars in Montana until the war on wildlife ends. This goes for the brutal hazing of Yellowstone-area wild bison, as well–another travesty committed to benefit the livestock industry.
“Wolf Torture and Execution Continues in the Northern Rockies; Montana anti-trapping group gets death threat for releasing photos,” Earth Island Journal, 28 March 2012.
NEW, 2/13/14: Yellowstone initiates 2014 wild bison slaughter: Buffalo Field Campaign news release here; AP article here. Ask Montana officials to stop the slaughter of these genetically-pure, wild bison: Gov. Steve Bullock: (406) 444-3111; Natural Resources Policy Advisor Tim Baker: (406) 444-7857. Ask National Park Service Director John Jarvis to rescind the slaughter contracts and pull out of the flawed and destructive Inter-agency Bison Management Plan: here.
For background on the Yellowstone bison issue, see “Wild bison in the American West: Beloved icons inside Yellowstone; persecuted and slaughtered outside its boundaries,” blog post at Britannica Advocacy for Animals.
WHY is Montana’s Dept. of Livestock killing national park wildlife? Two bull bison killed Wed., 6/5/13. Article.
May 2013 BUFFALO NIGHTMARE: Helicopter hazes moms, babies for 3 days straight! Video here. Please contact Montana–scroll to bottom for addresses.
VIDEO DOCUMENTATION OF BULL’S DEATH: here. For the full story, see the next item below.
4/13/13 – “Bison shot after wandering from buffer zone” Billings Gazette covers this disgusting, tragic saga (don’t miss the comments); 4/21 - “Killing of bison was reprehensible” letter to editor (again, read comments)
4/17/13 – GOOD NEWS: SB 143 (bison extermination) failed on its 3rd reading (vote: 50-50) and is “probably dead.” Find bill details here.
2/23/13: Summary of bison management bills in legislature - the clown car assembly of Montana wildlife-haters combine their brainpower to come up with these losers. Missoulian
1/31/13: “Bison: Shoot first, call later” Msla Independent
1/7/13: Yellowstone bison can roam, judge says. “Judge upholds Montana’s free-roaming bison plan,” Billings Gazette.
12/28/12: “Park Service recommends removal of female bison from northern Yellowstone herd” – Missoulian …recommend killing 450 females…
A NOTE ABOUT BRUCELLOSIS: Journalists are still prone to inaccurate statements about brucellosis–see this article (here) for example. Note this inaccuracy: ”But Yellowstone bison are also heavily infected with brucellosis, making their wanderings outside the park a concern to livestock owners.” “Exposed” and “infected” are not interchangeable terms:
Q: How many bison have the disease? A: About 50 percent of the park’s bison test positive for exposure to the brucella organism. Testing positive for exposure (seropositive) means the animal has been exposed to the bacteria at some time in its life; it doesn’t mean the infection is active or contagious. Currently, the only way to confirm an active infection is to test the tissue of a dead animal. These tests reveal that less than half of seropositive female bison were shown to have the infection. NPS
It has been a long slog to get the media to report on this issue fairly and in a way not slanted toward the livestock industry and against native wildlife. It wasn’t that long ago that news items stated, in a categorial manner, “Bison transmit brucellosis to cattle” without further noting that this has never once been documented to have occurred in the wild within the nearly 100 years since exotic cattle originally transmitted the disease to wild bison. Visit Buffalo Field Campaign for grassroots activist reports.
National Bison Legacy Act: An effort is underway to have the American Buffalo designated as the National Mammal of the United States. The National Bison Legacy Act, S.B. 3248 / H.R. 6304, was introduced by Senators Enzi (WY) and Johnson (SD) and Congressmen Clay (MO-1) and Fortenberry (NE-1). Visit Buffalo Field Campaign for more info. This is a comment opportunity.
Nov. 2013: The proposal to list the wolverine as threatened in the contiguous states has been re-opened for public comment (and that deadline has passed, 12/2/13). I created a page specifically for that 2nd comment period and will leave it up for the valuable links it contains–click here.
9/23/13: Enviro groups seek fisher protection due to increased trapping – Independent Record; US Fish & Wildlife Svc. previously denied them protection as recently as June 2011. Click here. More fascinatin’ fisher facts: OUR fishers are the real deal! “Ancient DNA Confirms Native Rocky Mountain Fisher (Martes pennanti) Avoided Early 20th Century Extinction,” here.
5/6/13: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming oppose federal protection of wolverines - Missoulian (Geez, you could see this coming from a mile away.)
2/1/13: Feds say wolverines need protection, cite climate change - Ravalli Republic “In recent years, Montana wildlife officials have waged court battles against environmentalists who want to stop trapping.” Way to go, Montana.
1/7/13: AT LONG LAST! Wolverines to be protected as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act! This will put the final nail in the coffin of wolverine trapping in the state of Montana–the only state in the lower 48 to allow trapping of the rare carnivore. Read more at the Missoulian. ESA protection and the cessation of trapping means one less pressure on an animal for whom climate change is a serious threat. Wolverines’ eating habits and denning requirements will be impacted by vanishing snow cover. Note that comment period was reopened late in 2013…look here.
11/30/12 WOLVERINE TRAPPING HALTED on eve of destruction!!! This is HUGE for those who’ve advocated and agitated for this rare carnivore for many years. “A state district court judge has halted Montana’s wolverine trapping season while he prepares to hear arguments on why the animal should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.” Story here. “In the decision to grant the temporary restraining order halting the trapping, the Court opined, ‘Balancing the loss of a ‘recreational harvest opportunity’ against the possible damage to a potentially endangered species, the Court finds equity lies in favor of issuing a temporary restraining order,’” according to a news release from Wild Earth Guardians. Congratulations to all who brought the lawsuit (listed in news release) and all who’ve made a stand for Gulo gulo.
8/22/12 Missoulian: “Groups say wolf traps theaten lynx, file notice they may sue the state” Excerpt: “The conservation groups allege that trapping and snaring in occupied lynx habitat is illegal because Montana has not exercised “due care” to prevent harm to lynx as required by the Endangered Species Act.” Check out the comments! E.g., “This is america. Send those lynx and the canadian wolves back to canada!!!!”
GRIZZLY BEAR HUNTING
NEW! 12/11/13: “Grizzly bear managers agree to move ahead with delisting plan” – Missoulian
“On 30 years of grizzly bear conservation in the Northern Rockies” – A High Country News interview dated 4/12/13
5/22/13: Wildlife officials extend comment period (now closed) for Yellowstone grizzly plan, here. Related: “Is the proposal to hunt Yellowstone grizzlies based on sound science and public support?” NRDC
5/5/13: ”Biologists: Grizzly bears need more habitat to thrive in northern Continental Divide” – here. Will griz delisting be the animosity-fueled debacle that wolf delisting has become?
1/1/13: “Grizzly recovery does not require hunting” – The Wildlife News
“We don’t want grizzlies to descend back into vermin status. If you can’t use them, they won’t have the same value to people as deer and elk. The shoot-and-shovel ethos is alive and well.” The Northern Rockies war on wildlife continues and expands. With wolf hunting and trapping installed as part of the killing scene, trophy hunting for grizzly bears is now being discussed, prior to de-listing from ‘threatened’ status. Full article here; hunting recommendation article here.
Send your thoughts regarding Montana’s wildlife policies (and how they might affect your vacation plans) to Gov. Steve Bullock here: Montana: 406-444-3111; Toll Free: 1-855-318-1330; FAX 1-406-444-5529; or e-mail him here or here firstname.lastname@example.org Send a brief (150 characters) message to the Montana Office of Tourism, also. For more contacts (MT Dept. of Livestock, Yellowstone National Park, etc.), see below. All 10 contacts below are appropriate for bison issues.
Governor Steve Bullock email@example.com
Tim Baker Natural Resource Advisor to Governor Bullock firstname.lastname@example.org
Marty Zaluski State Veterinarian Dept. of Livestock (DOL) email@example.com
Christian MacKay Executive Officer DOL CMacKay@mt.gov
Mary Erickson Gallatin National Forest Supervisor firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Wenk Yellowstone Park Superintendent email@example.com
Dave Hallac Chief Yellowstone Center for Resources firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Flowers Region 3 Supervisor Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks email@example.com
Jeff Hagener FWP Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan Clarke with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Patrick.R.Clarke@aphis.usda.gov