by Stephen Capra, Executive Director, Bold Visions Conservation
The wolf never kills for fun, which is probably one of the main differences distinguishing him from man. —Farley Mowat The comment period is open for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wolf plan or, shall we say, the wolf slaughter plan. This agency, which has lost all semblance to legitimate wildlife expertise, has given away its relevance to the Montana legislature and Governor. This wolf plan is not a plan, it is designed to slaughter 600-800 wolves all to get to the number that Commissioner and wolf hater Pat Tabor is demanding to achieve. Tabor is a lifelong Safari Club member and had run his outfitting company for years, destroying camping areas and heaping garbage on Forest Service lands. He represents the worst in hunting ethics and is part of why we continue to push to have him removed from the Game and Fish Commission. Simply put, he is a wildlife terrorist.
Nowhere is there talk about the stress and suffering this would create for wolves in the wild, simply dry text about cow deprivation which is less than 100 cattle per year and getting to this fantasy number so trophy hunting interests and trappers can enjoy the destruction of this vital species. We simply are working with an agency that has no interest is science or entering the modern world, as it pertains to wildlife. Time and after time we have testified about animals' feelings, emotions, and the ability to feel pain, it is met with stone faces from people that live to kill wildlife. They do not care about the suffering an animal feels, it is more important to them to be able to kill. That is where guys like Pat Tabor feel empowered. At the hearing on wolves this summer, the commission was roasted by speakers that by a 7-1 margin supported wolves. It was clear Tabor was fuming. His face showed it, and adding amendments and controlling the meeting were ways this pathetic excuse for a man showed his dismay.
But it was when the meeting was ending that he showed his cards. He made it clear he wanted to stop all of this and move to what the state, but not its citizens, craved. Tabor demanded a baseline number of wolves Montana should have and demanded the agency give him that number, and then the meeting ended. That is what leads us to today the agency likely punted to the old tired number of 15 breeding pairs. Something the US Fish and Wildlife Service mentioned when wolves were being reintroduced, not as a hard number, but something that states could adjust to. But it was Tabor that was demanding this as a means of slaughtering wolves and being the Governor's pit bull on the issue.
We know the agency needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. It begins with removing as much rot from the Commission and that starts with Tabor. It means that we comment in record numbers, even when we know they are likely to ignore our pleas.
The goal is clear in terms of political winds, following the next election, if Biden wins and Tester wins or loses it is time to put wolves once and for all back on the Endangered Species list. It will not happen before the election, but it must follow the election, or perhaps some of the legal moves that are occurring now will stop it in its tracks. There are two lawsuits that could block trappers this year. One on Ipom, the other dealing with Grizzlies.
In the end, we must speak in one loud and continuous voice. At commission meetings, we must be prepared to shout down Commissioners like Tabor, when it’s clear their motive is to kill more wolves. We cannot be polite always and expect these radicals to do what we are asking. So, STAND UP and FIGHT BACK! For wolves and all the creatures that deserve to live in peace in the lands we call Montana. Please read our talking points and be a voice for change. Please also sign our petition to remove Pat Tabor from the Game and Fish Commission! Add your text here. Edit to add dynamic values like name, email and more.