While Congress is still pushing forward with an outrageous budget rider to strip federal protections for wolves, Defenders supporters and colleagues have made a successful stand for wolves here in Montana.
With help from Montana Defenders, other conservation groups, and some moderate hunters, a bill was stopped in the Montana Legislature this week that would have expanded wolf-killing on private property. SB 414, the Montana Wolf Control Act, would have made it legal for anyone to shoot wolves on private land, at any time, for any reason without a hunting license or permit. This bill also would have greatly curtailed the success of wolf recovery in Montana and seriously undermined Montana’s federally-approved wolf management plan.
Extreme anti-wolf groups like Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife were pushing hard to get this ball passed, trying to take advantage of Congress’s unjustified action which could allow states to manage wolves as low as 100 to 150. But together with our conservation allies, we were able to put a stop to this wolf kill bill before it went any further. Montana’s legislators responded to opposition to this bill and voted for wolves to be managed like other native wildlife, as a valuable part of Montana’s wildlife heritage, not like unwanted vermin.
Thank you to all Defenders supporters and others who stood up for wolves and resisted these extreme measures to kill wolves. We’ll need your continued help to make sure that Montana and neighboring states manage wolves responsibly, based on the best available science not the fear-mongering of anti-wolf fanatics.
The political climate in Helena, Montana’s capital, has been very bad for wolves in recent months. So this decision to prevent unjustified wolf-killing is very encouraging. Hopefully that bodes well for the future of state management here. Let’s keep Montana and other western states moving forward on wolf recovery instead of falling backward.