Elk Foundation donates $25K to Montana FWP to manage wolves

2014-05-29T18:00:00Z 2014-08-07T13:52:23Z Elk Foundation donates $25K to Montana FWP to manage wolvesBy ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian missoulian.com

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has donated $25,000 to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for wolf management.

“This grant will put more collars on more wolves so Montana’s wildlife managers have more relevant data on Montana’s wolf population,” RMEF President David Allen said in a news release. “We are far over objective on wolf numbers and the more specific data we have the better we can manage the population downward.”

The money will go toward a new population modeling effort FWP uses to determine wolf numbers. It combines hunter observations with a calculation using average pack territory sizes and average pack individual counts to estimate how many wolves might be on the landscape.

The RMEF funds will pay for GPS radio collars and related equipment. FWP uses the collars to better figure what wolf pack territory size is in different parts of the state. The collars also collect wolf movement data, which can be studied after the collars are recovered.

At least 627 wolves were in Montana during 2013, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Annual Wolf Report. That compared with 625 last year.

FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim said the new method has been in development for five years.

“It’s another way, and a cheaper way, to get a handle on estimated wolf numbers,” Aasheim said. “In 2012, we had a minimum count of 625 wolves in 147 packs using our verified observations of wolves from the air, on the ground and hunter observations. This model predicted 804 wolves and 165 packs.”

***

RMEF in the past has donated money that state game managers put toward federal predator control efforts. Montana contracts with the federal Wildlife Services program, which provides hunters and trappers to kill wolves suspected of killing or harming domestic livestock. The Missoula-based nonprofit group has awarded more than $240,000 in wolf management grants in the past two years.

“We very much appreciate the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s continuing support of science-based wildlife management,” FWP Director Jeff Hagener said in a statement. “RMEF has been a great friend of wildlife and a valuable partner with our agency. With budget constraints and the need to address many challenging issues, this grant is especially appreciated as it will enhance the information we have available to manage wolves and find the proper balance between wolves, other wildlife, hunting opportunities and landowner tolerance.”

The FWP Board of Commissioners is considering creating a special landowner quota of 100 wolves a year that can be killed without a license if a landowner believes they threaten human safety, pets or livestock. Commissioners may also authorize a special permit drawing for wolf trappers who want to on wildlife management areas, including the Blackfoot-Clearwater, Fish Creek and Mount Haggin WMAs.

Public comment on the proposals is accepted through June 23. For detailed information, go to the “Hunting” section on fwp.mt.gov. Written comments can be mailed to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Attn: Wildlife Public Comments, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

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

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. JacksUsername
    Report Abuse
    JacksUsername - June 01, 2014 4:53 pm
    Tobacco companies still try and use the same tactics to convince people their products are safe and fit for consumption - by buying out and paying off the scientists and regulators. If this is the way hunting groups want to play games then they've lost a supporter.
    If we were talking about a real sport - this would be considered cheating and from what I continue to read about 'sportsmen' today they will go out of their way to stack the decks in their own favor over reason and sanity. Since this now comes at a heavy toll against predators then I am all in support of banning hunting until they get their heads on straight and start acting like men and not some sadistic group of whiney babies.
  2. RPT
    Report Abuse
    RPT - May 30, 2014 2:02 pm
    It’s not the job of these parasite,anti-hunting,anti-wildlife environmental terrorist groups to GIVE money for conservation..It’s their goal to TAKE money out of the system anyway possible... Especially to entice the most gullible among us to hit the ‘Donate Here’ option on their websites as often and as many times as possible.
    They have no skin in the game and are the cause of much of the filth,rot,waste and decay that we are seeing in our society today.
  3. mt bison
    Report Abuse
    mt bison - May 30, 2014 8:17 am
    RMEF's anti-carnivore attitudes and and Mr. Allen's comments over the years are a disgrace to what was once a great organization. RMEF's anti-predator policies are also a disgrace to Aldo Leopold and our proud sportsmens heritage.
  4. Roger
    Report Abuse
    Roger - May 30, 2014 7:07 am
    I applaud the RMEF effort to get wolves under control - the population really needs to be seriously reduced.
  5. RPT
    Report Abuse
    RPT - May 30, 2014 6:50 am
    Well at least the foundation is putting their money, LOTS of money, where their mouth is.
    What do you bring to the table Dave?
    You 'talk the talk' but can you 'Walk the Walk' like the RMEF does?
  6. Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria
    Report Abuse
    Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria - May 30, 2014 6:24 am
    The amount of links provided thusfar of 'wildlife' groups doing anything productive with their money is staggering! Good work gadfly.
  7. RPT
    Report Abuse
    RPT - May 30, 2014 2:10 am
    Gadfly's rant isn't even a close comparison...Oregon's wolf count is closer to some zoo's wolf count compared to Montana's wolf count.

    March 11, 2014

    The final 2013 Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Annual Report is available online. It includes the 2013 update for Oregon’s Wolf Population. ODFW documented a minimum of 64 wolves in 8 packs, including 4 breeding pairs for 2013 (compared to 46 wolves in 6 packs with 6 breeding pairs in 2012).

    “In 2012, we had a minimum count of 625 wolves in 147 packs using our verified observations of wolves from the air, on the ground and hunter observations. This model predicted 804 wolves and 165 packs.”

    At least 627 wolves were in Montana during 2013, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Annual Wolf Report. That compared with 625 last year.

    I can still remember back when the Montana wolf count was only 64 wolves and we were being told.. “ Not to worry... Once their numbers reach 100 we’ll be able to hunt them and
    control their numbers.”... YEA RIGHT !... Now look at the mess we’ve got thanks to these groups, their lawyers and the courts that got involved.
  8. RPT
    Report Abuse
    RPT - May 30, 2014 2:09 am
    Gadfly's rant isn't even a close comparison...Oregon's wolf count is closer to some zoo's wolf count compared to Montana's wolf count.

    March 11, 2014

    The final 2013 Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Annual Report is available online. It includes the 2013 update for Oregon’s Wolf Population. ODFW documented a minimum of 64 wolves in 8 packs, including 4 breeding pairs for 2013 (compared to 46 wolves in 6 packs with 6 breeding pairs in 2012).

    “In 2012, we had a minimum count of 625 wolves in 147 packs using our verified observations of wolves from the air, on the ground and hunter observations. This model predicted 804 wolves and 165 packs.”

    At least 627 wolves were in Montana during 2013, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Annual Wolf Report. That compared with 625 last year

    I can still remember back when the Montana wolf count was only 64 wolves and we were being told.. “ Not to worry... Once their numbers reach 100 we’ll be able to hunt them and
    control their numbers.”... YEA RIGHT !... Now look at the mess we’ve got thanks to these groups, their lawyers and the courts that got involved.


  9. sep924
    Report Abuse
    sep924 - May 30, 2014 1:02 am
    Well said. It's just another example of deep pockets dictating public policy.
  10. RobertR
    Report Abuse
    RobertR - May 29, 2014 10:09 pm
    Gadflee when you wake up and smell the roses, tell me!!
    First off you have never understood why elk numbers are up. Rocket science right, private land equals no hunting, private land owners in most cases do not tolerate predators. Elk cannot in most cases be be hunted on private land. Check and see where elk population have grown via region specific and you might,might understand.
  11. DavidShellenberger
    Report Abuse
    DavidShellenberger - May 29, 2014 9:19 pm
    The foundation wants to "manage the population [of wolves] downward.” Wolves do not need to be "managed," a euphemism for killing them. They need to be protected.

    States kill wolves to satisfy special interests, i.e., hunters who want elk "farmed" and are ignorant of ecology, and ranchers who decline to use non-lethal deterrence.

    I suggest that the Department return the funds to the foundation, and pursue more enlightened policies.
  12. Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria
    Report Abuse
    Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria - May 29, 2014 9:12 pm
    Oh look! More hunter money being spent on wildlife uses.
    Can someone provide a link to Defenders of Wildlife or Wolves of the Rockies spending money on anything other than lawyers?
  13. Gadfly
    Report Abuse
    Gadfly - May 29, 2014 7:25 pm
    MT FWP wolf management is not scientific, it is political, pushed by such organizations as RMEF, other "sportsmen" groups, sportsmen in general, ranchers, right wing state legislature, and FWP personnel of the same ilk. Wolves are not decimating elk populations or stock; both are myths of the aforesaid groups; and wolves do not need to be "managed" meaning killed by extended season, liberal killing policies, trapping seasons, USDA wildlife services killing machine. Wolves will manage their own populations in terms of wolf elbow room, per recent study by The Wolf Project-Oxford University- and other and observation, and prey. It is millennium long relationship of predator and prey and it is healthful for both and the wilderness ecology as a whole. It is an absurd idea that hunters and their bed partner, MT FWP, and ranchers and their hysteria about predators to think otherwise. RMEF is maybe paying MT FWP to think our way? Elk numbers are up in the state per FWP March-April Issue 2014 of Montana Oiutdoors all over the state. Elk numbers are up 37% in MT since wolf recovery/introduction (89,000 in 1989, 141,000 now) and up in other wolf states. Wolves killed 55 cattle in 2013, and has killed steadily at about a 0.0002% rate for the past several years. So, the reality of statistics, but don't confuse the aforesaid groups with facts or science, and real wolf biology, but don't confuse the aforesaid groups with science, wolf numbers do not need to be driven down, and is probabkly counterproductive. I might be best if ranchers started game farms so that hunters could come out, by appointment, and shoot their elk or deer or whatever, and keep hunters, FWP, and hunter groups such as RMEF out of the wilderness meddlesomeness. The only thing that needs to be managed relative to game is hunters and ranchers and MT FWP and the sports killing and "management". If FWP would leave the wolves alone they would stabilize their own populations. FWP has a false need for management in this regard. Oregon has the best model for wolf management based on nonlethal means emphasis and killing only chronic offenders and requiring nonlethal means to be in place. MT FWP is from the dark ages of the 1800's and early 29th century on game management and should disband and reshape itself for wildlife not game farm management in the wilderness and with mistaken ideas at that and political management.
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