MT's war on wolves and other wildlife imperils wild places

On June 23, Wilderness Watch and several allies put the State of Montana on notice of our intent to sue over the state’s barbaric new wolf-killing laws that could not only kill up to 85 percent of wolves in the state, but injure and kill other rare species such as grizzly bears and Canada lynx, both of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act. Montana’s new laws radically increase wolf killing, including within millions of acres of designated Wilderness, through largely unrestricted killing methods and hunting seasons, plus barbaric programs that resemble 19th-century wolf bounties.

The affected Wildernesses include the Absaroka-Beartooth, Anaconda Pintler, Bob Marshall, Cabinet Mountains, Gates of the Mountains, Great Bear, Lee Metcalf, Medicine Lake, Mission Mountains, Rattlesnake, Red Rock Lakes, Scapegoat, Selway-Bitterroot, UL Bend, and Welcome Creek Wildernesses.

Montana’s Senate Bill 314 pushes the MT Fish and Wildlife Commission to authorize hunters and trappers to kill an unlimited number of wolves through baiting, trapping, and night hunts using night-vision scopes and spotlighting. Senate Bill 267 includes a bounty program that would reimburse wolf hunters and trappers for their costs.

Montana House Bill 224 allows trappers to strangle wolves in snares, and House Bill 225 expands the wolf-trapping season by four weeks, which threatens grizzly bears in their non-denning season.

“Montana’s legislature has declared a war on wolves and other wildlife that imperils even our wildest places,” said George Nickas, executive director of Wilderness Watch. “Citizens don’t have to sit back and let it happen. This notice sends the message that we won’t.”

Earthjustice is representing Wilderness Watch and our co-petitioners.

Montana has 60 days to respond to the notice. We’ll keep you posted.


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Photo: USFWS

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