In 2009, 72 wolves were killed in the hunt, with a state-allowed quota of 75. This year, however, state wildlife managers are asking the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission to increase that number to a much larger range of 186 to 216. The final decision will come in July.
Such an increase seems more than a little odd considering very recently wolves there were listed as an endangered species. The number of wolves allowed in last year’s hunt does not include those killed after being reported for killing livestock. One option on the table is an archery-only wolf hunting season. But how is that going to be enforced? Are some people really going to seek out wild wolves armed only with bows and arrows? Would that be safe for the hunters? It sounds like a ploy to appease animal protectors, as it gives the appearance of fair play in killing wild wolves.
Wolves do kill livestock sometimes, like sheep and cattle. But is killing the wolves the only solution? In Oregon wolves were tagged with tracking devices that alert rangers and ranches to the wolves’ locations when they roam to close to farms. Also electrified fencing is an option that is used in combination with other techniques. Is enough being done to educate ranchers about non-violent means of protecting their herds, and are they being located in sensible, safe areas?
Last year apparently there were about 524 wolves counted in Montana. A wildlife manager there was quoted, “The lower quota of 186 wolves moves us at a slower management pace, while a quota of 216 wolves allows us to move a bit more rapidly to address the wildlife and livestock depredation issues that are occurring.”
But isn’t killing about 40 percent of the total number in one year also wildlife depredation? Is there no chance for relocating some of those wolves to remote areas? And what about the fact the Defenders of Wildlife assists ranchers in Montana with some of the cases of livestock loss? The Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife are working on blocking the hunts.
Read more at the Defenders of Wildlife site.
Image Credit: PeupleLoup