One day before the season was to start, a state district court judge has halted Montana’s wolverine trapping while he prepares to hear arguments why the animal should be protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The Helena-based Western Environmental Law Center led a slate of eight environmentalist and conservation groups in suing the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks over the trapping season. District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock issued a temporary restraining order blocking the season Friday and will hear oral arguments Jan. 10.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed wolverines on its “warranted but precluded” list of candidate species for ESA protection in 2010. That meant it had reason to believe wolverines were at risk of extinction in the continental United States but lacked the money or resources to complete its research. The agency estimates between 250 and 300 wolverines live south of the Canadian border. About 150 of them are in Montana.

“We petitioned back in August to stop the trapping, and the department refused, so we sued in state court,” said Michael Garrity of Alliance for the Wild Rockies, one of the plaintiffs. “If they were actually listed, the state would be prohibited from having a trapping season anyway.”

FWP allowed five wolverines to be trapped per season. The 2012 season was scheduled to open Saturday.

“Our management is conservative, sustainable and reasonable,” FWP state wildlife manager Ken McDonald said in an email. He argued the agency’s research showed Montana’s wolverine population could absorb the loss of five animals a year.

But Garrity said during a recent wolverine tracking study in the Pioneer Mountains, six of the 14 collared animals were killed in traps over three years. That included four adult males of breeding age and two pregnant females.

Sherlock said the tri-state area of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming likely only had 35 wolverine females of breeding age.

“There appears to be no harm to the defendants whatsoever if the wolverine season is suspended until the court can more carefully consider the parties’ arguments,” Sherlock wrote. “In an affidavit presented by George Pauley, (FWP) wildlife management section supervisor, it appears that the wolverine trapping season presents only ‘recreational harvest opportunities.’ In other words, the wolverine trapping season is not designed to prevent wolverine depredation on other species, domestic livestock or humans. Balancing the loss of a ‘recreational harvest opportunity’ against the possible damage to a potentially endangered species, the court finds the equities lie in favor of issuing a temporary restraining order.”

Wolverines use deep snowpacks to den and give birth to young during the winter. Shrinking winter snowpacks over recent years are believed to have a serious impact on wolverine breeding success.

The rest of the plaintiffs in the case were Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana Ecosystem Defense Council, Native Ecosystems Council, Swan View Coalition, WildEarth Guardians and Footloose Montana.

Reporter Rob Chaney can be reached at 523-5382 or at rchaney@missoulian.com.

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(46) comments

dsrobins
dsrobins

It's obvious the NRA gun goons, trappers and right wing loonies who advocate gun rights want to exterminate every living wild thing in America. They are a disgusting lot.

trapchain
trapchain

I can see that there has been alot of GMO and Floride consumption in some these replies. You can not eat wolverines,there is alot of things that you treehuggers do that I dont approve of but do you hear me CRYING about it.Grow up and live in the real world.If you knew anything about trapping you wouldnt be flapping your pie hole about it.GET educated about a subject before you start running your pie hole.

Lobo Bandito
Lobo Bandito

I'm a conservationist AND a trapper... I've been to Doug Chadwicks seminar on campus about his YEARS of wolverine research... read his wolverine study book...
I have no desire to trap a GuloGulo, but think that if there are 20,000 wolverines in north america that harvesting 5 per year in MT is "quite inconsequential"...
Even Doug himself says that the harvest of so few really does nothing to the population...
Not to mention the NON BIAS biologists with degrees that work for FWP concur...
ALSO while these biologists are smart they don't know it all... They claim the first sighted Gulo in colorado was M56 in 2009... he was photographed in northern CO...
http://rockymountainwild.org/blog/colorados-only-wolverine-photographed-on-guanella-pass
But while in 2007 I was elk hunting at 11,500ft with 2 friends and saw a Gulo in SOUTHERN Colorado only 60 miles from NEW MEXICO!!!
How many others do the scientists have no clue about??? I'll tell you, just like the wolves, most of them!!!
Stop taking away our rights....
The population has been stable for years... so why fall for the Extremists LIES???
Pretty soon the only legal perfume/cologne will be Patchouli if we keep believing the hype!!!!
~Lobo Bandito~

Bob Marshall
Bob Marshall


Some of you obtuse, dead brained fools who like to talk about "harvesting" and brutally torturing highly evolved mammals because it's all for the good of science and the animal's own benefit need to spend a couple nights in the great outdoors with a steel trap on your miserable carcasses. If you think this is any less of a horror for them than it would be for one of those furry-less, little monkey sapiens, then you're just exposing yourself as someone on the lower end of the human scale...one of those miserable slugs who've dragged us back throughout the centures. So, it's traditional...duh...so was slavery and a hundred other of your vile practices til the "bleeding hearts" put an end to your foul activities.

Kuato
Kuato

"Furry-less little monkey sapiens" what are you some sort highly evolved alien human hybrid, with a huge over sized brain and a pencil neck, observing earth from a flying saucer. Let me guess your a grown man but you still wear footie pajamas to bed and you sleep with a stuffed teddy bear. Like you have never eaten had a steak or owned a leather belt, hypocrite your no Bob Marshall.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

I honestly do not know if wolverines are "endangered" or "threatened." I guess it depends if you are looking only at Montanas population. I do feel if anything they should have been receiving the attention wolves have been getting for years. One thing I am curious about is how (and if) Woverine populations have plumetted in Montana over the last century? Has the population changed little or at all? Obviously their range is big and they are few and far between, possibly they have always been few and far between here? I don't know the answer to that and am curious about it.

Bob Marshall
Bob Marshall

"recreational harvest opportunities!!" The kind of subhuman who would find recreation in this kind of evil torture of one of our most magnificent creatures is not someone whose interests we should have anything but utter disgust for. To place the life of even one wolverine beneath the depraved motives of these fools is a calumny on the very concept of civilization.

DoItRight
DoItRight

Now we just need to get it extended to ALL trapping statewide.

Kuato
Kuato

Trapping is a valuable wildlife management tool that keeps our wildlife populations healthy,and it helps keeps wildlife disease like Rabies and others in check. Trapping in America is a tradition that has gone on for hundreds of years. Fur makes the best cold weather gear a person can find,as anyone who has every lived in the arctic knows.The native people believe that wolverine fur is superior ,in that it doesn't collect frost. Russia and China are actively buying fur harvested in America and Canada( no progressive liberals there). Like it or not mankind is part of the landscape and the wise, balanced use, and management of our wildlife is a good thing for man and wildlife..

MTNimrod
MTNimrod

Oh yeah - no agenda here. "It's for the animals. Or the children. I get confused. But don't you dare trap any of the cute and fuzzy-wuzzy critters. That would be wrong!"

Your narrow-minded perspective is exactly representative of what's wrong with this country.

Keni
Keni

"But Garrity said during a recent wolverine tracking study in the Pioneer Mountains, six of the 14 collared animals were killed in traps over three years. That included four adult males of breeding age and two pregnant females"

Humms, a female Wolverine has two or three kits a year. Seems to me, based on the above statement, and assuming two kits for each pregnant female, the Wolverine population went down by six animals with the non-discriminatory steel traps.

I'd suggest live trapping so the females can be released. .

;)

Gadfly
Gadfly

Never Ending Encroachment

The arguments for continued wolverine trapping for subsistence or recreational purposes are that they are not threatened, which it seems they are in Montana with only 250-300; that there are plenty in Canada (20,000 approximately) and Alaska, so why worry about Montana, well because they are here and in Montana purview are therefore our responsibility to protect. Global warming may soon threaten them everywhere since they like cold, snowy climates and go for higher elevations. Recreationally trapping a threatened species because it is recreational is a perverse logic. Subsistence trapping is also extremely weak, subsistence trapping to extinction or threatened status. Go find other work and recreation. The arguments for war on wildlife are old: subsistence, recreation, encroachment for other reasons such as development, extraction industries, ranching and farming. Quite often those arguments are by a very, very few. Hunters and trappers represent only about 5% of the USA population although they may be about 19% in Montana. Other threatened species are also threatened by these ages’ old arguments, such as the Bluefin Tuna, some whale populations, lions, elephants. Hunters and trappers, ranchers and others, and the wildlife the wildlife agencies that work for them (FWP of Montana, USDA Wildlife Services, USFWS, and other states’ wildlife agencies, will not always look out for the best interests of wildlife over these mentioned human groups, thus the need for conservation groups to hold them accountable for the best interest of wildlife and biodiversity and all the rest of us.

Roger
Roger

Your global warming alarmism is typical Gadfly. Warming and cooling periods have been occurring for millions of years - and the wolverine has survived them all. It's possible that warming could actually increase precipitation - which would lead to more snow in the high country.

Kuato
Kuato

Pure Balderdash, designed to mislead and pull at the heart strings of the uninformed! The ESA is being used to shut down America and tie the little guys up in red tape and take over our states rights to manage our own wildlife.Wolves and grizzly bears out the ying yang, look what happened with the delta smelt out in California,or the spotted owl.just to mention a few. Gadfly gets his info straight off a UN web sight.

lakeguy406
lakeguy406

Bully !

Sukey
Sukey

These comments re needing dead wolverines to study them reminds me of the brohaha regarding the elephant seal in the late 1800's. There were only a handful left, so they went out to "save" them hoping to catch the remaining few, kill, stuff, and put in a museum. So everyone could see them and they could be studied. Fortunately, a few escaped. Fortunately, for them, the California grizzly bear went extinct. It was their biggest predator as they lay on beaches having their babies. Today, there's thousands on the beaches around Ana Nuevo. And, the hunters/trappers certainly saved the elephant seal by exterminating all the grizzlies, except for the one on the flag of California...So, richard11, there's a case where you're wrong, And, it also shows how lopsided human thinking is when we upset the balance of nature. Footloose Montana, thank you so much for all your hardwork, this is one of the only predators I haven't seen in the wild in Montana.

Deadwolf
Deadwolf

Wolverines are not endangered! They exist in large numbers all over the northern hemisphere. Montana just happens to be on the southern edge of their habitat. This is just another excuse to further the agendas of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, the Wildlands Network and Agenda 21. The re-wilding of Northwest Montana and the reduction of people in the region and shutting us out of public lands. The wolf, grizzly bear, wolverine are key species to bring it about. Doubt it? Do an in depth study on these groups and learn the facts.

troutcreek
troutcreek

As a left wing Obama voting enviro, it is about time wolverines received some protection.Green world order, are you kidding me.

Kuato
Kuato

They harvest hundreds if not thousands of wolverines across Canada and Alaska each year .Good healthy populations of Wolverine are found in Siberia , Sweden Norway, and all across the northern globe.

MTminded
MTminded

Well don't just hang around here harping... Get yer bus ticket and go!

troutcreek
troutcreek

Thanks to WELC and everyone else involved in getting some long overdue protection for a species on the brink. The ruling is welcomed by the vast majority of sportsmen in the Montana. Now let's get some permanent protection for the species.

Kuato
Kuato

The fish and game has a quote of five wolverines to be harvested each season, I doubt if they even fill it. Another words, they are all ready protected . Why even have a game and fish department with professional science based wildlife managers if we are going to let Ashly Judge and Defenders of Wildlife manage our wildlife. Why even have states or a Tenth amendment if the federal government can use the ESA to shove wolves down our throats and do what ever it wants. Force us to buy health care or tell us what kind of light bulb to use. Where does it end?

detonate
detonate

We're not going to trap an animal that has estimated numbers around 250. It's called common sense...Z

Deadwolf
Deadwolf

There are a lot more wolverines out there than anyone realizes, you just need to know how and where to look or them. Some right alongside paved highways.

Kuato
Kuato

He is right, but these ex Kalifornians that run up here to Montana don't care about the facts or what the fish and game says, they just want a nanny state take over!

detonate
detonate

I think what is paved is your cranium..Z

elkguy
elkguy

This is just the enviros new favorite cash cow. They wore the wolf thing out and needed a new fuzzy critter to get the idiot bleeding hearts to open their checkbooks up again so that they wouldn't have to try to earn a living in the real world. People think that since thety never see a wolverine they must be nearly gone. Not true, thet live in an alpine world that few people venture into, especially in the winter. I have seen more wolverines in the flesh than mountain lions, does that mean lions are on the brink of extinction? Hardly. I trapped a wolverine many years ago, just wanted one and got it. Then every licensed trapper could take one per year and guess what? They are still here, as many as ever. They have huge territories so what we have now is probably what the state can carry. A lot of valuable knowledge will be lost without the people who actually spend time up there pursuing these awesome creatures being up there any more. But the richturds of the world will feel all warm and fuzzy
in their studio apartments in san francisco.

DoItRight
DoItRight

You forgot mention that the earth really is flat.

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

With so few wolverines allowed to be trapped. A ban on that would hardly affect those who trap for income. I'm not anti-trapping or hunting. But on the other hand, the wolverine is close to extinction and since it hardly makes a dent in what trappers can take, I don't see why trappers should oppose putting wolverines on the list. How is that going to hurt them?

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

I don't know of any trappers that are objecting to this decision. (Not that there aren't any, but I do not know of any opposition from trappers) I think the MT FWP gets hit hardest here. Not for money, but for research data.

khadroma
khadroma

I'm not opposed to hunting or trapping either, but in this case this was absolutely the right decision. Montana FWP has monitored wolverines for years using track surveys and data from trappers, but this information is far from effective in keeping track of the wolverine population as a whole. You can learn only very limited things about a rare, widely distributed species like wolverines from trapping data. There are multiple wolverine research projects that have run or are currently running in Montana and that are gathering data on live wolverines throughout the state. These projects have given a much more comprehensive (though still not complete) picture of the population and the threats it faces, and it is in light of these data that the trapping season is being questioned. I am sure that FWP has as much access to the data as anyone, and probably participates to some degree in discussions about these research projects. So the loss of information from trapped wolverines is of minimal importance in the broader scheme of research and monitoring.

raptor53
raptor53

you dont hunt or trap endangered species. this was the right thing to do and should have been done years ago. and guess what ? I hunt now and trapped when I was younger. mostly coon and foxes. not trapping this animal it's just good conservation and wildlife biology. read about wolverine research and biology in Doug Chadwick's book, "The Wolverine Way", before you spout off here like this is just more bunny hugger mentality. If Theodore Roosevelt were alive today he would applaud this decision. Do your homework then comment. This is a true wilderness mammal and there isn't much of either left in the lower 48.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Have you done your homework raptor? Do you realize how crucial the locations/age and sex information/dna samples from those few Wolverines are/were to the FWP's research on this elusive mammal? All at no cost for them to go out and obtain? Again, FWP wasn't allowing wolverines to be taken to make trappers happy. Look in to things a bit more before you come to a conclusion about what is right and wrong.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Seemed like a good idea on paper but unfortunately the crucial research information the FWP gathers by allowing an extremely small amount of Wolverines to be legally trapped, tagged and reported is, or was, extremely beneficial to monitoring the overall population in Montana.

Kuato
Kuato

Here you go folks the "green world order"(UN agenda 21) it starts little and before you know it everything is illegal. Don't let these Globalist funded radical left wing groups steal your liberty and destroy our wildlife and science based wildlife management.

richardr11
richardr11

you vermin trappers and hunters do a good job destroying out wildlife.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

^^^ How original ^^^^ Your childish comments hold no weight here in Montana. It is simply pointless for you to post them leotard/richturd. I can assure you all the trappers that I have known have done much more to benefit wildlife of all types than you ever have....or ever will. Chew on that a bit.

richardr11
richardr11

what have trappers done for wildlife besides trap wildlife and kill it? trappers are anti-wildlife sadist lowlife rural scum.

RPT
RPT

Your comment has been reported.. Your time here is limited.
Must suck to be you.

Long Duck Dong
Long Duck Dong

D...ick, I'm not sure about you but I am part of the wildlife on this globe. My blood runs just as red as any mammal on this earth. I am predator and like it or not so are you. Our eyes sit forward on our head and we have canines.
If you have no problem with wolves decimating our elk and deer herds, why do you have a problem with humans trapping a few wolverines?

richardr11
richardr11

you're a predator? haha is that what you tell yourself? i have no problems with wolves eating their food source. they can eat all of the elk and deer they want. wolverines are endangered. don't you get that you anti-wildlife vermin?

AAO22
AAO22

Long Duck Dong...awesome!

Kuato
Kuato

Hey,poor righardr11 tell me you have never had a hamburger or owned a pair of leather shoes, can you say hypocrite?

Kahlotus
Kahlotus

Globalist funded radical left wing groups, FEMA death camps, UN take over the US government, birth certificates, Muslims infiltrating the government, sharia law, gun confiscation under the disguise of UN arms treaties, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Kuato
Kuato

Yea and Hitler Stalin or Mao never had millions of people killed ether!

AAO22
AAO22

Kuato - You're absolutely right, sadly.

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