What would we talk about, if we didn’t have Weather or Wolves
The best chance for Gray Wolves to be taken off the Endangered Species list, now lies with Congress thru an amendment in the Budget bill. For the record, Earthjustice says this would be the first time a species has ever been removed from the Endangered Species list by Congress.
But what isn't getting as much press is that removing wolves from the Endangered Species list is not the end of troubles for game officials and livestock producers.
If you heard my Legislative report over the weekend you heard me say that the current program that is supposed to pay for damage by wolves is seriously underfunded. Senator Lew Jones said he testified in favor of HB 622 to allocate money out of the State general fund to ensure quick and timely payment to livestock producers for wolf kills.
Meanwhile, State fish, Wildlife & Parks director Joe Maurier testified in a Senate hearing that F-W-P was looking to moving away from working with U-S-D-A Wildlife Services which currently does most all of the collaring and wolf killing, where necessary, in Montana.
State Repbulican Senator Lew Jones of Conrad told us that the move angers farmers and ranchers because," F-W-P is widely unpopular with farming and ranching groups and Wildlife Services has the experience operations in place to do this important work.
U-S-D-A Wildlife services told us that they had to cut back on Wolf control in Montana because of budget cuts. The Obama administration stripped approximately 280-thousand dollars from the Federal Budget in the last continuing Budget resolution. It resulted in Wildlife Services, no longer doing any Wolf flying (killing) in some parts of the state, namely, according to Jones, "In Beaverhead County where there have been 5 separate wolf kills on livestock in the last two weeks.
Last week the Legislature approved a spring hunt, doing that to stop environmental groups from stopping a fall hunt at the last minute, but Jones noted that while he supported the bill, "it is not the end-all be-all tool of wolf management. Even though it does keep overall wolf populations down, wolves kill livestock and game during all times of the year." That makes it important of F-W-P to keep working with Federal Wildlife Services to kill wolves during all times of the year.
It appears that Fish, Wildlife and Parks may be trying to get out of wolf collaring all together. Jones says they have asked the Legislature numerous times to allow them to go to a computer modeling system for determining wolf numbers and wolf locations. "Using computer models is no substitute for real, on-the ground wolf management, Jones said.
It appears we still have alot to talk about!