Establishing a roster of wolf trappers, implementing a bounty system or changing the rules about hunting wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park all were ideas bandied about at a Fish, Wildlife and Parks special meeting Friday.

The ideas came from members of the Montana Wolf Management Advisory Council, which helped develop Montana’s wolf management plan 10 years ago and reconvened this week in Helena to give the FWP Commission and department feedback on their implementation of the plan.

The overview comes one month before the FWP Commission sets tentative rules for the 2013-14 wolf hunting and trapping season, and the same day the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the 2012 Annual Report for the Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) Gray Wolf Population.

Overall, the council members complimented the department on its wolf management activities, and said they were amazed at the amount of new science that’s been developed since the plan was written. However, they also noted that a lot has changed since wolves were delisted and urged FWP to remain flexible when dealing with wolves.

Chase Hibbard, the council chairman, said it was a good discussion about how FWP should proceed.

“There was a lot of discussion about wolf numbers, and I think the consensus is more or less not to meddle with the process that’s going on and that it would be a mistake to set a quota,” Hibbard said. “You need more tools, maybe a bounty … or a trapper roster possibly to be used in situations where population control is needed, maybe on private land or private and public land.”

He noted that the council members also spoke at length — as did members of the public — about being sensitive to the area around Yellowstone National Park. Competing economic interests in the area, between outfitters who say there are too many elk and tourist groups that say the increase in wolves is drawing sightseers. Collared wolves that were part of a park study were killed by hunters during the last season, which prompted a temporary closure that was litigated.

“I think you should combine Wolf Management Units 313 and 316 into one and permanently limit the quota to one wolf,” said Ilona Popper of Gardiner. “I think you should resume using quotas because that allows public debate about what the number of wolves is that we’re talking about.”

FWP Director Jeff Hagener said they purposely didn’t set quotas because they don’t do that for other predators, and when they did it in the past for wolves they were criticized when the quota wasn’t met.

“Harvest is pretty proportional to the number of wolves out there,” he said. “Without setting a quota, nobody is saying that you wanted to take 250 but you only took 225 and so you failed. So we are staying away from that. We also don’t have a target for the number of wolves on the landscape that we want because we’re still learning. We’re moving from the recovery side to the management side and we’re really only two years into it.”

Council member Jim Cross also urged FWP to proceed cautiously when it comes to special treatment near the national park.

“Be careful setting aside areas because of the financial gain of some other shareholder,” Cross warned. “Be careful you don’t set that precedent because it could snowball.”

Council member Robin Hompesch voiced concerns about what she sees as the increasing polarization of people regarding wolf management, and urged FWP to do more public outreach, especially to nonhunters.

“When we started the first scoping meetings, the rooms were packed with tons of people who yelled until midnight. Then later when we went out there was no one. They weren’t happy with all aspects of the plan but they thought it was balanced,” she said. “Within the last five years it seems like there’s been a re-eruption of public anger and I think we’ve gone back to a volatile situation.

“I’m not sure where to go with that and would like that to be a part of the public discussion.”

Hagener readily acknowledged the need for more outreach, but noted that with hunters and anglers providing his agency’s funding, they tend to want FWP to focus on their concerns and needs. He said the efforts to raise money with an excise tax on items like binoculars, hiking boots and bird seed haven’t gotten much traction.

“Nationwide we are getting more interest from the nonconsuming side; they’re not anti-hunting or fishing but nonconsuming … like bird watching,” he said. “So it’s getting more of an emphasis.”

At the end of the meeting, Hagener said it was a good session and he encouraged the council members to contact him if they have additional ideas or concerns.

“This has been helpful to us,” he said. “Somebody said very strongly that we need to listen to the public and we pride ourselves on that. We get abused regularly from people saying we didn’t do enough and get sued regularly … but that’s because people are passionate about the resource.”

Reporter Eve Byron: 447-4076 or eve.byron@helenair.com Follow Eve on Twitter.com/IR_EveByron

(38) comments

oldie
oldie

to Snowcrest... I see by your post from yesterday that you think I am childish for writing that there should be a be bounty on animal trappers, and then, asking "oldcowgirl" to name the threat she accused me of making against trappers and hunters. Is this not correct "Snowcrest"? Is this why you think I am being childish? Is this why YOU deign to ask ME if I am 7 years old? I think it is, isn't it.

Keep in mind that in my original comment I said that I wanted all trapping criminalized. You must be aware that if trapping were criminalized then anybody could arrest that criminal if they caught them. Citizen's arrests, right? You have heard of that, of course, being as well educated as you sggest you are, right? Then you must also know that if trapping WERE criminalized, then it would be possible to put a bounty on trappers for their arrest. For their Arrest, "Snowcrest", not their death, only for their arrest.

You have heard of the phrase "Wanted Dead or Alive" haven't you "Snowcrest"? Well, if you care to notice, tha phrase presents you with an option, doesn't it. It is not necessary for a bounty to specify that option. A bounty might only specify the one choice a bounty hunter might be given. That one choice should be obvious to anyone older than 7 years old. That only choice is "ALIVE"! You don't get no money for dragging them in dead.

Now, smart boy, suppose you tell us, what IS a bounty? Now, suppose YOU name the threat "oldcowgirl" accused me of making. Suppose YOU name the threat, "Snowcrest"! What exactly did I threaten Montana hunters and trappers with? Come on, smart boy. Name it!

oldie
oldie

@oldcowgirl...Wow! So you think I just made a threat against Mt hunters and trappers do you? And you think somebody at The Missoulian should take a look into this "oldie" person? Because this threat is serious you say? Well it sure is a good thing that The Missoulian has good ol' eagle-eyed "oldcowgirl" looking out for them, isn't it.

But personally I do not see a serious threat tp Mt. hunters or trappers in my comment, "oldcowgirl". Before somebody at The Missoulian is forced to take a second look at you for slandering me with a lie, why don't you tell us just exactly what was this threat of which you speak? Go ahead, the spotlight is on you now cowgirl..

This not only "could" this be serious, it IS serious now. What was the threat "oldcowgirl"? Or are you really just running around screaming that the sky is falling? Cause that's just what you like to do maybe? Name the threat then. Name it..

Snowcrest
Snowcrest

Grow up, will you?
You type that there should be a bounty on a certain group of citizens and then act like a child,saying to name the threat you posted.
What are you, about 7 yrs old?
You are certain proof that our school system is failing the nation.

oldie
oldie

@ "Snowcrest"...In my reply to "oldcowgirl" I did ask her to name the threat that she accused me of making. Notice that she has not done that. Do you know why she has not done that? Because she can't. Because I did not make a threat against Montana hunters and trappers and she knows it now. That is why she is keeping her big mouth shut. She's dumb, but she does catch on eventually, if somebody shows her the way. Evidently somebody must have shown her the error of her ways or she would still be harping on about it. But she is as quiet as a lamb now. Which, I suspect, you will be too. Shortly.

oldcowgirl
oldcowgirl

oldie, check my reply below to your first post......control your anger or seek help !! You really have a anger problem......don't blow a gasket. Trappers have every legal right to trap in the state of MONTANA with their paid licence fee. So don't threaten to have a bounty of $5000 for every live trapper that is caught in your twisted fantasy... and sent to prison........... Snowcrest has it Right.... GROW UP!! You are not worth replying to again......Period.......

Gadfly
Gadfly

The Pittman-Robertson Act creates a distortion in wildlife management because it does involve fees and taxes on guns and ammunition which is distributed back to the states. So, hunters have this entitlement idea of killing wildlife since they think they are paying for it. The bed tax in Montana also pays for it, with a portion sent to FWP. Tourism and wildlife viewing are much bigger revenue builders than hunting. Just wolf viewing alone in Yellowstone brings in $35 million to the surrounding states, with about 4% of 28 million Yellowstone visitors per year coming just to see wolves. Wolves and grizzlies are the most sought after sightings. The Pittman-Robertson results in an emphasis on elk and other sport killing target animals, marginalizing the predators. Wildlife would be better served if more tourism dollars was funneled into wildlife protection and wildlife habitat acquisition and protection. We need the recognition of the impact of wildlife and wilderness viewing dollars that provide employment and lodging and retail purchases and dining and gas, and from employment income and taxes. Americans and Montanans also pay federal and state taxes with an understanding that significant money goes to Parks and National Forests and wilderness protection. So, the entitled sense that hunters and fishermen have about their contribution is inflated. But maybe we should find ways to get more wildlife viewing dollars going back directly to wildlife protection and habitat protection and balanced ecology(s) instead of just the sportsmen emphasis on elk and hunter targeted wildlife.

RPT
RPT

Another total BS post by Gadfly trying to inflate the visitor numbers to Yellowstone to make the wolf seem more important then it actually is.
Visitor numbers to YNP in 2011..... 3,394,327 / Visitor numbers in 2012...3,447,729... ( Glacier NP ... 2,162,034 )
No doubt some of the visitors showed up hoping to see a wolf but only a tiny fraction of the visitors to YNP actually saw a wolf.
Despite the fact that the park has been turned into a predator pit.

RPT
RPT

I've started hitting the “Report Abuse” option on every irrelevant post Ms. Richard makes..If all of us do it the Missoulian will take action and remove her post. It’s gotten ridicules the disgusting use and abuse she's trying to get away with on this forum.

Snowcrest
Snowcrest

A bounty on the Gray Wolf would be good for the state. It would accomplish what game managers want and allow them to concentrate on other important issues with our wildlife. It has been coming to this all along and no one was honest enough to say it until now. The sooner we have a bounty on the predator known as the Gray Wolf, the better. The anti's will cry their eyes out eventually move on to the Lynx, just give us a bounty and get it over with.

peterdragon
peterdragon

I love the title of the article. All the other papers don't have anything like this one, way to drum it up Missoulian. I don't see a problem with bounties, I mean after all biologist Richard11 says there are thousands of wolves feasting 365 days 24 hours and 7 days a week on all ungulates, I mean why not believe him, he knows, right little Richard.

oldie
oldie

instead of a bounty on wolves I would like to see a bounty on all animal trappers. I want animal trapping to be criminalized by law. I would like to see prison terms for wolf trapping to be the equivalent of crack cocaine selling prison terms, at least. I would probably do it for a lot less but I think a bounty of about $5000/per trapper should be enough incentive to get many potential trapper bounty hunters out into the woods. Somebody has to keep our prisons full, don't they?

oldcowgirl
oldcowgirl

Wow, I think this person "oldie" just made a threat against the hunters and trappers of MT. Missoulian I think you need to take a second look at the "oldie" poster person. This is some serious threats. This could be serious...

oldcowgirl
oldcowgirl

Answer!!! You said" YOU " would like a Bounty on all animal trappers. NOW !! That is a threat in my Book.....You would like to see trapping criminalized by law and a $5000 bounty per trapper Another threat in my book..... Besides trappers have a Legal right to trap with a paid licence fee during the trapping season in the state of MT. Now if your statement was not a threat then what was it ???? By your hostility maybe you should seek counseling with Gadfly in Great Falls..... May do you a both good.... LOL.......................................

lonna421
lonna421

If all of you wolf haters knew how ridiculous your ranting sounds to someone who actually has been reading factual reports, papers and articles based in science regarding elk numbers deer numbers and wolf numbers, you might even get a laugh out of it. For one, wolves aren't decimating your elk population. On the contrary, they are making your elk healthier by preying on the sick and the old and culling your elk population. They are also making them more wary so they don't linger and overgraze an area, they are moving up into the higher country and keeping on the move. Just because they are not being seen as often doesn't mean they are not there. I would like to suggest a few factual papers, reports and articles that I have read that may give you a different perspective of the wolf. At least it is my hope that suggesting this reading material will enlighten you to the truth. The first one is "Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves: A Public Policy Process Failure: How Two Special Interest Groups Hijacked Wolf Conservation In America" By Wendy Keefover-WildEarth Guardians. The next is "The Inhumanity OF Wolf Management" by Jay Mallonee, "Hunting Wolves In Montana- Where Are The Data" By Jay Mallonee, published in Nature and Science 2011., "Science Is Lacking In FWP Predator Management" By George Wuerthner, and "More Than A Mile Of Dead Wolves Need Your Attention Now" By Bob Ferris.

And before you pass any judgement on me I'd like to add that I like elk just as much as the next guy. However, I love all wildlife and the mountains and especially wolves and I want to be able to enjoy them for years to come and have my grandchildren be able to enjoy them as well. We were not given this beautiful earth to destroy at will all the beauty in it. We are only here for a little while.

digger
digger

There is a bunch of ridiculous ranting from both sides. One of the most overstated comments is that the wolves only pray on the sick and the old. If you truly believe that, you have not spent enough time in Montana or our mountains. They are known to prey on anything they want (even the healthy). Thats great that you have done some reading, but have you actually seen it? The list of material you have provided seems pretty biased. You should do some reading on some articles that are not biased. Get some facts from the people that actually see whats going on, not some califruit that has never been to Montana.

Comment deleted.
speedbow20
speedbow20

Roger Hewitt, unbiased mental healh counselor from Great Falls. How can you honestly say you would help another human being with his/her problems no matter what they did outside your office; ie hunt, when on your page you joke about getting a tag for a "yokel" and killing them. And you joke about yokels wandering too close to a ranch so they got shot. How truly disgusting you must really be, I feel bad for your patients.

"Roger Hewitt Is there a season on yokels? I would like to buy a tag."

https://www.facebook.com/#!/roger.hewitt3?fref=ts

Dubs
Dubs

Alaska hunters can get about $800 per wolf which changes some lifestyles. They hunt them, still they are killing about 85% of the moose calf crop. A bounty would help, as they need to be managed soon.

not mom
not mom

I only wish there were a way to charge those who caused the problem in the first place to pay for it's repair. At the least Defenders, the CBD, Western Watersheds, and all their ilk should pay damages high enough that they cease to exist. Managing wolves is a science based wildlife issue. Managing reactionary fringe groups is more difficult.

Comment deleted.
LCHelenajr
LCHelenajr

The true apex predator(humans) will continue to shoot and trap wolves. You can do nothing to stop it. Wolves can chew their foot off if they want out of the traps badly enough.

Comment deleted.
Roger
Roger

Same old mindless Gadfly wolf-worshiping rant.

tomurphy2017
tomurphy2017

you people are out of your minds - hunters are the biggest threat to wildllife in your state and many others. this backwoods barebacking thinking is out of this world. i truly hope tourist stay the hell out of your state and see how your bounty on wolves works for you. put away your guns for 1 year and you'd be over run with elk- morons.

MTSierra
MTSierra

You should start by doing some research on conservation and the positive effects that hunting has on wildlife. There are areas that need to be managed more than others to prevent over population leading to starvation, diseases, and human/wildlife conflicts. Next you should do some research on the amount of revenue that hunters bring into the state of Montana each year and ask your small local towns if they could support themselves if it were not for hunters each fall. Also tomurphy, keep your out-of-state opinions where you live and try using the shift key once in awhile.

Roger
Roger

Hunters are no threat to wildlife - legal, licensed hunters have never caused the extermination of any species, to my knowledge. In fact, hunters have funded wildlife conservation, through license fees and a tax on guns and ammunition.

It may be hard to believe today, but in the 1930s the sighting of even one whitetail deer was a notable event. Encroachment of humans on habitat and over-hunting without regulation had caused populations of many game species to plummet rapidly. Today, however, the nationwide deer population is nearly 20 million strong. Other wildlife success stories are the pronghorn (antelope), elk, and wild sheep.

Contrary to the belief of recently spawned animal extremist groups, hunters and sportsmen have been and continue to be the primary players in the effort to protect the game which they hunt. Conservation tactics such as carefully regulated hunting, habitat acquisition and species transplants contributed to bring populations back to healthy levels.

The Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act has provided funds for wildlife restoration, which is paid for by hunters. Sponsored by Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and Congressman A. Willis Robertson of Virginia and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Sept. 2, 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act created a 10% excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition. A few years later the tax became 11%.

The tens of millions of dollars generated by Pittman-Robertson each year were mandated to go back into state and local organizations to increase game populations, expand habitat and train hunters. As the money kept piling up, a repeal bill was drawn to relieve sportsmen from the financial burden of the excise tax. However, because dramatic results could be seen nationwide, sportsmen insisted on keeping the tax in place.

Comment deleted.
dave ajou
dave ajou

We ? What we is that ? You've done nothing, and never will. You never donated a penny, you never set a foot in the field, you have contributed nothing, and you never will. In all fairness, your options operating from the asylum are undoubtedly quite limited.

Gadfly
Gadfly

The Pittman-Robertson Act creates a distortion in wildlife management because it does involve fees and taxes on guns and ammunition which is distributed back to the states. So, hunters have this entitlement idea of killing wildlife since they think they are paying for it. The bed tax in Montana also pays for it, with a portion sent to FWP. Tourism and wildlife viewing are much bigger revenue builders than hunting. Just wolf viewing alone in Yellowstone brings in $35 million to the surrounding states, with about 4% of 28 million Yellowstone visitors per year coming just to see wolves. Wolves and grizzlies are the most sought after sightings. The Pittman-Robertson results in an emphasis on elk and other sport killing target animals, marginalizing the predators. Wildlife would be better served if more tourism dollars was funneled into wildlife protection and wildlife habitat acquisition and protection. We need the recognition of the impact of wildlife and wilderness viewing dollars that provide employment and lodging and retail purchases and dining and gas, and from employment income and taxes. Americans and Montanans also pay federal and state taxes with an understanding that significant money goes to Parks and National Forests and wilderness protection. So, the entitled sense that hunters and fishermen have about their contribution is inflated. But maybe we should find ways to get more wildlife viewing dollars going back directly to wildlife protection and habitat protection and balanced ecology(s) instead of just the sportsmen emphasis on elk and hunter targeted wildlife.

RPT
RPT

Another total BS post by Gadfly trying to inflate the visitor numbers to Yellowstone to make the wolf seem more important then it actually is.
Visitor numbers to YNP in 2011..... 3,394,327 / Visitor numbers in 2012...3,447,729... ( Glacier NP ... 2,162,034 )
No doubt some of the visitors showed up hoping to see a wolf but only a tiny fraction of the visitors to YNP actually saw a wolf.
Despite the fact that the park has been turned into a predator pit.

speedbow20
speedbow20

Roger Hewitt, unbiased mental healh counselor from Great Falls. How can you honestly say you would help another human being with his/her problems no matter what they did outside your office; ie hunt, when on your page you joke about getting a tag for a "yokel" and killing them. And you joke about yokels wandering too close to a ranch so they got shot. How truly disgusting you must really be, I feel bad for your patients.

"Roger Hewitt Is there a season on yokels? I would like to buy a tag."

https://www.facebook.com/#!/roger.hewitt3?fref=ts

not mom
not mom

Speaking as someone who doesn't come from Montana...

Montana has a reputation in the western US as having the highest ethical hunting standards in the US. People go to Texas to shoot an easy trophy on private land, other people go to Montana to hunt in the place with the most pristine wilderness and wildlife laws in the world.

digger
digger

Really? We are the biggest threat to wildlife? You have obviously never stepped out side of the city life, have you? What have you done to help wildlife? Hunters are the biggest reason why there is wildlife. Once again, what have you done? The conservation groups like D of W have done nothing compared to what hunters do to preserve wildlife. You should educate yourself before you rant about something that you have absolutely no knowledge toward. You can read all of the books you want to educate yourself, but your opinion is worthless unless you have actual experience. I am guessing you have none.
People like you are out of their minds. Don't tell Montana how to run when you should focus on your own worthless state. Just cause you like being a city slicker does not mean we should be like you. It is funny that you bring up tourists. I want the exact same thing. I cannot stand tourists. There is nothing worse than some dumb out-of-stater giving their opinion on how the state should manage our wildlife.
Do yourself a favor. Go experience life outside of the city. Who knows you might like it.

LCHelenajr
LCHelenajr

The once proud Northern Yellowstone elk herd has dropped in half during the past 3 years. Keep in mind this herd has not been hunted (by humans) in over 3 years. Your theory is wrong. You have no clue what you are talking about. Wolves are Americas worst poacher and they will continue be shot and trapped and you can do nothing to stop it.

Comment deleted.
sep924
sep924

Well said, Gadfly.

RPT
RPT

All the more reason why an extended hunting and trapping season of 24/7 365 is required...And a bounty declared...$500 per wolf should do the trick to start with..More if required.
We have millions saved up and available in the Pittman Robertson Fund so lack of funds shouldn't be a problem.....Time to get a return on OUR investment...Time to get serious about wolf management in this state

RPT
RPT

It’s pretty obvious what’s needed is a much longer hunting and trapping season until the wolf populations in both Montana and Idaho are brought down to acceptable levels.
Perhaps 24/7 365 seasons for the next two years for a start?

elkguy
elkguy

I'm pretty sure there aren't any outfitters near Yellowstone saying there are too many elk. And 313 and 316 should absolutely not be combine, no matter what Mary Poppins says. Bring on the bounties! I knew history would repeat itself, bringing wolves back was the dumbest thing i've ever had to experience.

Comment deleted.
Roger
Roger

What are you talking about?

rajaju
rajaju

I'm talking about you hunters talking for the whole state and country mental midget,with the federal funding being cut, your welfare ,SS check might get smaller,that means you might have to actually work instead of killing ,read the poll on this paper 60% think the state is doing a poor job in animal management of the wolves ,I'm saying they(the feds) should cut all MT infrastructure grants until the state gov does what the people call for instead of your special interest groups , RMEC,Safari Int,ect...and it looks like the sequestration is going to hit ID and MT hard............so like I said with fire season right around the corner call RMEC or your Trappers to put out your house fire cause the feds tapped out helping the red states

Kuato
Kuato

30,000 less hunting tags sold, tells us wolves are having a very negative impact. If that trend continues the modern day conservation model ,the Montana FWP, and wildlife management are in big trouble. We can not sustain the current population of wolves, and have big game hunting in the state of Montana. And that violates our states constitutional rights. The wolf hunting and trapping seasons need to be longer and snares need to be legal. We have seen the Absoraka, Gradiner, the Gallatain, the Gravelly,the Pioneer ,the Bitteroot,the Blackfoot, the Clarksfork and the deer in north west Montana wiped out or greatly reduced as Elk and deer harvest producers to a fraction of what they used to be before the wolf reintroduction. Enough is enough ,maybe it is time for a law suite to take back our constitutional rights under our states constitution or bring the wolf population down to the original agreement numbers. Elk meat should be used for human consumption and not tuned into wolf droppings.

Sukey
Sukey

Kuato, you are really guessing at why 30,000 less hunting tags are sold. Its the economy, stupid. No one can afford the travel/hotel/restaurant fees along with sky-high out of state tags. I see people all the time buying Idaho out of state tags, they are a fraction of the cost. And who cares where the border actually is, its not marked, the $135 fine if caught by the one game warden per million square mile district is paltry compared to the actual tag cost in Idaho versus Montana. The local people just poach now, we see things in newspapers in 4 different counties where people are caught poaching, "why pay for the milk if you can get it for free"?. Somehow you translate all this into its the wolf fault.

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