MT Fish, Wildlife And Parks Continues To Deceive Sportsmen And Taxpayers!
Editorial News/Press Release January 14, 2012 MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Adaptive
Wolf Management Is Just Another Lie
Totally new to wolf management, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has had to learn by doing, pretty much like "On The Job Training". They call it Adaptive Management, which is their way of saying, "We really don't have a clue about what we're doing."
The more FWP wildlife managers and biologist try to ad-lib their way through what is now recognized as the worst wildlife disaster in the state's history, the more obvious the obvious becomes, and that is how little the agency really does know about wolves - and how little they've actually learned from having to deal with the destructive predators since 1995-96. Before then, the Northern Rockies had remained fairly wolf free since the 1930s. Many residents of the state claimed that small remnant populations of the native wolf, Canis lupus irremotus, still existed in areas of Montana's extensive backcountry. However, in their zest to "rewolve" Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service undertook trapping and transplanting another wolf, Canis lupus occidentalis, from north central Alberta to accelerate re-establishing a recovered wolf population in the Northern Rockies.
That act is now widely accepted by the sportsmen of the region and most sportsman-based wildlife conservation organizations, such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, and Idaho for Wildlife, as a direct violation of the Endangered Species Act by the very same federal agency responsible for enforcing laws that protect endangered or threatened species. The wolf that USFWS brought down from Canada is an entirely different subspecies. Canis lupus irremotus is one 11 recognized different wolves that make up the nublius subspecies, Canis lupus occidentalis is one of 7 wolves which make up the subspecies occidentalis. The wolf USFWS transplanted into the Northern Rockies is not the same wolf, not even close.
The indigenous wolf to this region of North America was a medium sized subspecies, with adult males topping out in weight at around 90-95 pounds. The replacement wolf is of the largest subspecies of wolves, with adult males known to reach 150+ pounds. The new government issue wolf is also known for being far more aggressive, and far wider ranging . And that has resulted in excessive destruction of elk, moose and other big game populations all along the northern U.S. Rocky Mountains. Thriving elk herds that took 75 years to rebuild, thanks to sportsman provided funding, are now barely 20-percent of what they were before USFWS wrongly dumped an invasive wolf species into the region.
Plaguing even more what has been dubbed the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project have been never ending lies and deceit by both federal and state wildlife agencies. Even the money used to finance this project was stolen, by USFWS, from the excise taxes collected on firearms, ammunition, archery gear, fishing tackle and other outdoor products, without authorization from Congress. These monies were earmarked exclusively for wildlife habitat and fisheries improvement. So, how much was spent at the outset to bring those wolves into the U.S., to construct the compounds to hold them until their release, to feed and inoculate those wolves, to transport them to release sites, and to monitor them? No one really knows. Actually, no one really knows how many wolves were brought across the border, since USFWS failed to file the mandatory USFWS paperwork that would have established the true number of wolves imported.
What MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for that matter, learned quickly from USFWS is how to cover up what was really happening, how many wolves are on the landscape, and the damage those wolves have done and continue to do to big game populations and to livestock producers. Their "Adaptive Management" has had absolutely nothing to do with managing or controlling wolves, but rather managing to hide the truth about wolves until the damage wolves have caused has reached disastrous levels that can no longer be hidden.
Now these agencies know that the sportsmen who have footed the bill for wildlife conservation are coming after them. Still, the attempted cover up continues.
On January 12, 2012, MT FWP director Joe Maurier was called before the state's Environmental Quality Committee to present an update on the 2011 wolf management hunt, which was originally scheduled to end December 31, 2011. Due to a harvest that was just a little more than half of the established quota, the season was extended to February 15, 2012 - and many feel it still will not be met.
Several committee members inquired about allowing wolves to be shot 365-days a year on privately owned lands. Maurier responded that he did not think that would happen. The committee then wanted to know if USDA Wildlife Services could be called on to step up efforts to cull more wolves. In 2011, FWP had spent some $110,000 to contract USDA to eliminate 47 wolves. In all, FWP had spent around $900,000 for wolf management last year, which included the removal of wolves that had turned to livestock depredation. Including those wolves, and the 133 wolves taken by hunters during the 2011 wolf season (as of 1-12-12), the total number of wolves killed in Montana over the past year numbered right at 250.
In all, 18,380 resident hunters purchased a Montana wolf hunting permit last year, at $19 each, for $349,220 in revenue. Non-resident hunters forked out $350 each for 155 permits, adding another $54,250 to the state's coffer. When asked if that money would be used to step up USDA removal of wolves, Maurier responded that the money would go into the general fund. He indicated that some of the money would likely go toward a new state wolf coordinator - who would be headquartered at the FWP Region 4 offices in Great Falls - to concentrate on wolf management along the Rocky Mountain front.
Has Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks given up on the western side of the state, the area that has been hardest hit by wolves?
During the afternoon long hearing, Joe Maurier and several other FWP officials, as usual, were very careful not to put a number to the state's wolf population. However, when establishing the 220 quota for the 2011 season, the agency repeatedly claimed that filling that quota would reduce the number of wolves in the state by 25-percent. Based on the degree of damage wolves have dealt Montana's wildlife resources, hunters and members of several sportsmen organizations in the state realize that there are one heck of a lot more than 880 wolves in the state. For the past two years, FWP and IDFG have both been claiming that there is a total population of about 1,800 wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. The math presented by Dr. L. David Mech, a Minnesota based wolf biologist who was deposed as the expert witness for the 2008 wolf delisting hearing, reveals that based on a normal birth rate percentage, and allowing for typical death losses, the wolf population in these three states is more like 4,500.
At a meeting with angered sportsmen on January 10, IDFG wildlife biologist Jim Hayden confessed that the Idaho wolf population alone could be 2,000. Montana's wolf population could be nearly the same. Although FWP constantly attempts to give sportsmen and concerned citizens of the state the false image of being very in tune to the actual number of wolves in Montana, the reality of it all is that they really don't have a clue. Just like their wolf management practices, they simply are making up numbers as they go.
LOBO WATCH founder and website host Toby Bridges was one of the first to make a public comment. Angered at the manner in which MT FWP has repeatedly lied about wolf impact on big game, and the continued cover up of the real number of wolves in the state, he had absolutely no hesitation in telling the committee how poorly FWP has mismanaged wolves. Study after study from around the world has show that wolves cannot be treated as big game animals and controlled through sport hunting and a wolf hunting season. He emphasized that an all out effort has to be made to get wolf numbers drastically down...and kept there. He also accused FWP of purposely allowing wolves to destroy the big game herds of western Montana, turning much of the western one-third of the state into a wildlife wasteland - where it's now getting harder and harder to find even a wolf track, since there's not enough prey to keep them fed. He also had no problem telling the state senators and representative of the Environmental Quality Committee that FWP's upper management has done such a lousy job, they should all be handed a pink slip...and shown the door.
State Senator Debby Barrett, a rancher from the Dillon, MT area, shared with the committee that FWP was actually in violation of state law. The week before the EQC meeting, Senator Barrett shared with LOBO WATCH that the agency claims, because of the lack of funding, it cannot implement the Montana Gray Wolf Conservation & Management Plan that had been demanded by USFWS in 2004 - even though it was agreed to and signed. That plan, and the Montana Elk Management Plan are part of the Montana Environmental Policy Act, and she read to the committee portions of what had been codified into law, and how FWP has been in violation of those laws, and continues to work outside of what is required of them.
Apparently some of Bridges' comments and what Senator Barrett shared with them didn't set well with the committee. The taped portion of Barrett's reading of the laws being violated by FWP were scrambled. Likewise, a few of LOBO WATCH's comments were purposely omitted. What is said in Helena apparently stays in Helena.
Perhaps the continued cover up of the truth about how poorly wolf management is run in this state goes deeper than Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
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