|This large wolf was killed in Salmon, Idaho|
|Photo of a Black Bear drug out of it's den|
and ripped apart by a pack of wolves on
the Westfork drainage
|Tavy Mason killed this 165 pound wolf just east of Hamilton|
Speaking of Wyoming, some people and Judge Malloy are blaming Wyoming for the recent ruling. Judge Malloy stated (and I am paraphrasing here) that since Wyoming is treating the wolves as a predator that they should be protected in Montana and Idaho. Remember, we are talking about an invasive species here, much like the New Zealand zebra mussel, Asian carp, Snakehead fish, etc. What should happen is an all out bounty on the invasive Canadian timber wolf to save what is left of the native wolves. It is true that Wyoming, in true Wyoming fashion (God Bless Wyoming!), took matters into their own hands after the Federal government rammed the wolves down our throats. Being classified as a predator, allows anyone to shoot the wolf on site. Even with this distinction in Wyoming, the wolves are thriving. These are intelligent and highly adaptable animals. I know a lot of people in Wyoming and they have all told me that once they started shooting at them, the wolves have become almost impossible to find. At least Wyoming has the balls to treat this issue as a State's matter.
Much like Wyoming, Montana should treat the introduction of the Canadian timber wolf as a matter of the State. With the current economic hardships, the traditional Montana industries of logging, log homes and construction trades have all but dried up. Here locally in Missoula, the Smurfit paper mill has been closed down, further increasing job losses. The one bright spot in Montana's economy is tourism; namely fishing and hunting guide trips. Montana is rapidly getting a bad reputation from hunters as the place NOT to come. In recent years, hunter harvest numbers have been on a serious decline. Furthermore, Montana FWP is talking about drastically reducing the amount of elk, moose and sheep tags. Their official reason for the decline in game is due to “harsh winter and spring conditions”. Are you kidding me?! The hunters that come to Montana don't just put money and food on the outfitter and guide’s table. When they are here, where do you think they stay, eat, shop and drink? The trickle down effect is mind boggling and worth millions of dollars to local economies.
So, where do we go from here? There is currently a movement by ranchers and sportsman's groups to appeal the ruling. The problem with this is that we are subject to 9th Circuit District, which is very liberal in its decisions. Out "esteemed" Senator Max Baucus is saying he wants the U.S. Congress to intervene. He claims to be adopting legislation that would put the wolves under the control of State of Montana. Given Senator Baucus' track record, we will have to wait and see. Locally, there are whispers of the 3 S's and old Montana justice. However, this has the potential to make criminals out of people who are just trying to protect their way of life from an invasive species. There is no easy solution to this ever growing problem. It is time to take a stand and make our voices heard or we will lose our hunting heritage forever. In the meantime, take a picture of every moose and elk you see because our future generations may not have a chance to know what they look like.