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I’m sure the framers of the Public Trust Doctrine didn’t have anything like this in mind: “RMEF offers $50K to kill wolves” (Missoulian, March 20).

So now we have wildlife management in our state by a wealthy, special-interest, “nonprofit” organization dedicated to growing more elk, disregarding other species and ignoring the negative effect more elk will have on our ecosystems. This despite the fact Bob Ream, chairman of the state game commission, recently stated that Montana elk are already 22,000 elk over state objectives.

The Legislature passed House Bill 42 nearly 10 years ago directing Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to reduce the number of elk in most districts of the state because they were consuming forage meant for domestic livestock. We now have more elk than we did at that time and the population is increasing.

For the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to say it is concerned about depredation on cattle is laughable. Less than 1 percent of cattle depredation is caused by wolves. If it was truly concerned, and wished to make this funding more palatable to the general public, it would fund an equal amount to the state for research or actual implementation of non-lethal predator management.

RMEF president David Allen has stated that natural balance can’t exist, wolf pups should be gassed in their dens, and wolves should be gunned down from the air. This rhetoric doesn’t seem to be of any concern to Joe Maurier, director of Montana FWP.

By accepting this “funding,” Montana FWP opened the door to trashing the Public Trust Doctrine that states “wildlife belongs to everyone in the state” and should be managed based on science, not the desires of special-interest groups. How can ordinary citizens have any say in wildlife management without donating thousands of dollars to state agencies?

Jerry Black, Missoula

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