Had certain methods of take been relaxed by the FWP Commission last spring, the wolf harvest could have been significantly higher. At Commission meetings, and regional FWP meetings around the state, concerned sportsmen repeatedly shared that it would take the legalization of snares during the new wolf trapping season to make any real impact on wolf numbers. The Commission ignored that input and ruled snares illegal. Many other sportsmen attending those meetings also said that electronic game callers needed to be allowed. The Commission agreed, but it took the passage of House Bill 73 more than six months later, just two weeks before the end of the season, before such callers could be used. Had snares and electronic calls been allowed during the entire season, the wolf harvest could have been significantly higher, maybe closer to 325 to 350 wolves. Since EACH wolf is now known to kill close to 50 big game animals annually, that additional harvest could have saved 5,000 to 6,000 elk, moose, deer and other big game species from being lost to just one species of predator - the gray wolf.
One questionable sportsman group which has already announced that it will oppose SB397 is the somewhat shady Montana Sportsmen Alliance. The group is a sportsman "organization" by name alone. In reality, it has simply been a political activist front for Senator Jon Tester. This is the group which ran all of those negative attack ads against Denny Rehberg during his run for Tester's seat in the U.S. Senate during the 2012 elections. Altogether, Montana Sportsmen Alliance spent more than a million dollars to insure that Tester held onto his Senate seat - a million dollars of non-disclosed funding. Much of that funding likely came from environmental groups, which tend to favor expanded predator populations and fewer hunting opportunities for Montana's true sportsmen.
Site Relevance: Lobo Watch, wolf introduction, Rocky Mountain timber wolf , Canis Lupus Irremotus, MacKenzie Valley Gray Wolf , Canis lupus occidentallis, Predator Management,