The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will be setting the seasons for wolf hunting and trapping for next year, and public comment is needed on how it implements a slate of bills pushing for aggressive measures to kill more wolves.
The 2021 Legislature passed three bills that ignored science and simply aim to kill more wolves. They included HB 224, HB 225 and SB 314. Collectively they call for snaring, extended trapping seasons, night hunting, baiting and taking multiple wolves on one license.
But these bills also give the Commission discretion in how they’re implemented. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists gave a proposal to the Commission this month that acknowledges the science and would lessen the impacts of these extreme anti-wolf measures. They include allowing snares only on private lands, looking at regional differences in setting season dates, and holding a Commission review of seasons once the harvest reaches 450 wolves, with reviews for every 50 wolves killed after that.
Baiting of wolves near traps is a major concern, because it will certainly draw other native carnivores near them including threatened and endangered species like lynx and grizzly bears.
The Montana Wildlife Federation supports ethical, fair chase hunting and trapping of wolves and management based on the best available science, not emotions and local politics. The legislation that passed – and signed into law by the Governor – are neither ethical nor constitute fair chase. Montana’s wolf seasons were working well, and we had strong participation and good success among wolf hunters.
We are calling on the public to comment on these seasons. Make your voice heard. This is your wildlife, and your Fish and Wildlife Commission.