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The Path to Defeating Ignorance

Stephen Capra, Bold Visions Conservation

We work in a counter-intuitive place. They are lands that are graced with beauty and wildness. It is a landscape that many dream of, and few are lucky enough to spend time in. In essence, we are part of a vast bucket list for many people. Yet, within the confines of Montana and Idaho, we are decomposing with the ignorance that fears wildness.

There remain people who live in fear of wildness in its many forms. Some fly flags to show their Americanism to all, while others conspire to destroy wildness so they assuage their personal fears and inadequacies.

Such people are trappers, trophy hunters, ranchers, and those who continue to push the myths that wolves and grizzlies must be feared and that all predator species must be removed.

Social media today is the cancer that feeds them such nonsense. They follow other trappers, listen to the NRA and groups like the Foundation for Wildlife Management and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and are fed a steady stream of misinformation. Lust for killing and creating anger against those of us who clearly understand the genocide they are using against wildlife builds their anger and commitment.

Why is it that so many people flock to Yellowstone from the world over to glimpse a wolf or a bear? As one woman told me, seeing a grizzly “brought her to tears and was a moment she will never forget.” Yet others see the bear and want to destroy it for bragging rights.

The opposition has succeeded in tying the killing of wolves with supporting ranchers. The very people who are on the federal dole and are given the “privilege,” not the right, to graze on public lands. But in a small town, that rancher is your neighbor.

Montana Wolf Trapping Season Comment Period Open!

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks are accepting public comments regarding their upcoming wolf trapping and killing season. We encourage everyone to participate and provide a letter or “comment” calling for policies that stop the slaughter of wolves and support legislation that promotes non-lethal management and restores protections for the Montana wolf population.

The comment period closes this Monday, July 24th. Comments can be submitted on the state website by scrolling to “TRAPPING AND WOLF SEASONS” and clicking the drop-down. You can also email your comments to, you are not required to provide the state that you live in, and your wolf comment will be sent to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission.

Below are a few talking points to help guide your comments. Right up front, please tell the Commission how you personally feel about wolves and why they must be protected. Personalizing the letter, even a little, makes a HUGE difference.

Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of wolves in Montana!

Gray wolf management should be science-based, not political.

Ensure equal representation of all stakeholders, including non-hunting communities.

Increase transparency in wildlife management decisions.

The model used to estimate the statewide wolf population, IPOM, is full of compounding errors, meaning the actual size of the state’s wolf population is unknown.

Improve accuracy and proper usage of IPOM.

Halt wolf quotas until a new and accurate method of counting is established.

Traps and snares are inhumane and indiscriminate. They cause suffering to animals beyond wolves and lead to unnecessary livestock casualties by disrupting wolf family groups.

Trapping should be ended on public lands, and snaring is a primitive, archaic, and torturous method of killing animals and fails to pass the rule of Fair Chase. It also damages Montana's public image as a state that respects wildlife and will deter tourists from visiting.

Recognize the positive economic impact of Yellowstone wolves on tourism revenue ($80 million a year) all of which will be at risk if Yellowstone wolves continue to be baited out of the park and slaughtered.

Increased wolf trapping endangers other species federally designated as threatened, including grizzly bears and Canada lynx, as well as family pets – like domestic dogs and outdoor recreationists.

Snares are cruel and inherently indiscriminate.

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