The recent and controversial wolf-hunt announcements in Idaho, where officials plan to allow hunters to use electronic calls and traps, and the proposed doubling of the quota in Montana’s hunt are getting plenty of play throughout the Rockies.
But hunts in both states still await a decision by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Montana. He’ll be making a ruling this summer in the lawsuit brought by Defenders of Wildlife to restore wolves to endangered status in both states.
In t he meantime, Montana will start selling wolf tags on Aug. 23 with a quota of 186 wolves. Dates for Idaho have not been set.
With the number of wolves estimated at 835 in Idaho and 524 in Montana, wolf hunters and ranchers see greater opportunity to cull a threatening killer of livestock and Elk. Pro-wolf activists see those numbers as low and want wolves back on the Endangered Species Act.
The gulf between zero and 800 is wide, and there have been years of hot words exchanged between opponents.
A story in The Missoulian highlights the depth of the old controversy:
Some of the comments the commission received on the topic were “disgusting,” said Commissioner Shane Colton of Billings.
Many commissioners spoke about how misinformation and angry rhetoric seemed to infuse the comments, making a reasoned debate impossible.
Commissioner Ron Moody of Lewistown described many of the comments as expressing a “narrow, culturally bigoted point of view which expresses an inflexible ideological” contempt for people with other viewpoints.
Federal and State Documents on wolf recovery and sections of the Endangered Species Act
Idaho Fish and Game Hunting Page
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks hunting page
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Wolf website