Fighting for wolves is at the heart of everything we do at Bold Visions Conservation. Wolves in Montana are under attack by Governor Gianforte and his Republican-led legislature in Montana. Wolves remain at the heart of a cultural divide in the state. Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks continues to allow their slaughter by misleading the public regarding the number of wolves in the wild and how they count wolves which many wildlife biologists have made clear is grossly inaccurate.
Wolves play a vital role in the health of our lands and waters. They improve, not harm, wildlife and the health of the herds by cutting down on the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, which has been impacting deer, elk, and moose populations.
In Washington, Interior Secretary Haaland has proven weak and unable to do what will protect our wolves, which is to relist them. In addition, the US Fish and Wildlife Service head is Martha Williams, who leads the department despite lacking the college prerequisites for that position. Ms. Williams formally ran Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. In that position, she did little to stop the wolf slaughter and proposed de-listing grizzly bears. Like its partners in Idaho and Wyoming, Montana has proven their inability to manage wolves. The federal government must relist wolves and assume their management.
Despite the rhetoric of our Governor and legislature, deer and elk numbers are higher than they have been in a generation. Yet, those who trap and hunt predator species, groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, outfitters, and livestock groups, continue to push the persecution of wolves despite having no evidence of the harm they could be doing.
The way Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks count wolves in the wild is referred to as the IPom method. It is clear this method of counting is flawed, and lawsuits are challenging its validity, yet the killing continues. Wolves are pack animals with feelings and are bonded with their packs, which is vital for their survival, yet agencies see this as irrelevant, as animals' pain and suffering are never considered.
Trapping a wolf is torture; as sentient beings, wolves are part of family units; they hunt together, mate for life, and enjoy playing and being a family unit. Wildlife agencies talk of “harvesting” wildlife when they instead inflict suffering and slaughter; removing wolves from their historic range impacts not just wildlife but our streams, rivers, and wildlands.
Ranchers complain about all predator species, yet wolves and other wildlife harm far fewer cattle and sheep than do storms, disease, and falls. The federal government subsidizes ranchers to use our public lands for pennies on the dollar.
At Bold Visions, we are working to educate the public about wolves, working in the legislature to defeat the worst of the bills, including SB-372, which would have made trapping part of the state constitution. We are fighting to end trapping on our public lands and stop predator species slaughter, which remains vital to a healthy environment. We are pushing the federal government to relist wolves to stop the slaughter.
The killing of wolves on the Yellowstone border was an outrage and continues to tarnish our state. To many, the Governor’s blatant killing of Max the wolf remains a disgraceful, illegal act. We must stop these forces of evil.
Wolves belong in Montana and across the West. We cannot allow ignorance and the will of trophy hunters and trappers to destroy this iconic species.
• The time has come for the Interior Secretary to relist wolves.
• Snaring should be banned on public lands due to the threat posed to grizzly bears.
• We must work to ban all trapping on public lands.
• The legislature must stop being in the wildlife management business.
• No killing should occur anywhere near the border of Yellowstone.
• Wolves must be allowed to live and thrive; they are self-regulating.