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Marias River Livestock Association hoping HB 322 passes

(HELENA) – THE SENATE AG, LIVESTOCK & IRRIGATION COMMITTEE HOLDS A HEARING THIS

AFTERNOON ON HOUSE BILL 322 WHICH WOULD ESTABLISH A 400-THOUSAND DOLLAR ACCOUNT

FOR LIVESTOCK LOSS REDUCTION DUE TO PREDATORY ACTIONS BY WOLVES AND GRIZZLY BEARS.

THE BILL WOULD ALSO ALLOW FOR UP TO HALF OF THAT EXPENDITURE TO BE USED FOR

CONTRACTING WITH U-S WILDLIFE SERVICES TO INVESTIGATE AND CONFIRM THE LOSSES AND TO

IMPLEMENT PREVENTION MEASURES TO REDUCE PREDATION.

THE BILL HAS BEEN AN IMPORTANT ONE TO THE MARIAS RIVER LIVESTOCK ASSOCIATION

ESPECIALLY WHEN CONSIDERING THE COMMENTS HEARD BY STATE DEPARTMENT OF FISH, WILDLIFE

& PARKS REGIONAL SUPERVISOR GARY BERTELOTTI.

WHEN ASKED IF THE NEW MARIAS RIVER WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA MIGHT BECOME

A “SAFE HAVEN FOR GRIZZLIES,” BERTELOTTI DIDN’T REALLY CONFIRM THAT BUT HE SAID WHEN IT

COMES TO GRIZZLIES “OUR HANDS ARE TIED.”

HE SAID WE CAN MOVE IN ON CASES OF CONFLICT AND PUBLIC SAFETY BUT NOT MUCH ELSE.

HE NOTED THAT IN REGARDS TO THE EXPANSION OF THE GRIZZLY OUT FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN

FRONT “IT IS GONNA HAPPEN,” AND IS HAPPENING NOW.

BERTELOTTI ALSO NOTED THAT BIOLOGICALLY SPEAKING THE GRIZZLY IS NO LONGER

THREATENED BUT THE PROCESS OF REMOVING THEM FROM THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST

WITH LITIGATION AND OTHER FACTORS MAY GO ON FOR A LONG TIME.

WITH THAT SAID, IT’S NOT DIFFICULT TO SEE WHY LIVESTOCK OWNERS WOULD LIKE

TO SEE NEW DOLLARS FOR LIVESTOCK LOSS AND PREVENTATIVE MEASURES.

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