Major Developments in Wolf Management Efforts

Big Game ForeverBold Prediction on Nationwide Wolf Proliferation by Peterson’s Hunting Journal Wolves are the focus of the latest edition of Peterson’s hunting Journal  The magazine did a great job on the topic.  One bold prediction by Editor Mike Schoby who has watched the wolf debate from the last 17 years.  Here is the quote:  “My prediction?  In the next decade the wolf debate the wolf debate will no longer be centered around the West and upper Midwest, it will be a coast-to-coast issue, with deer being pulled down from Pennsylvania to California.”  The issue is worth the read.  Find a copy April/May 2012 Peterson’s Hunting Journal on a newsstand near you.

Defenders of Wildlife Announces Major Media Campaigns to “Stop the War on Wolves” Sporstsmen and ranchers of Montana and Idaho, are you getting tired of the efforts to “spin” wolves as being good for elk and moose?  One group, Defenders of Wildlife has announced a major ad campaign to convince you that unmanaged wolves are actually helping your state. $40,000 for a campgain in Montana proclaiming “Wolves Improve the Health of Elk Herds” Read More: https://secure.defenders.org/site/Donation2?idb=638799679&df_id=9043&9043.donation=form1      $75,000 for a campaign  in Idaho to “Stop the War on Idaho’s Wolves” Read More: https://secure.defenders.org/site/Donation2?df_id=9400&9400.donation=form1&s_src=3WDE1208A6T11&s_subsrc=050712_DNTFF_ID_wolves_campaign-non-donors&JServSessionIdr004=c9skx2wo83.app220a

New Wolf Trapping Proposal in Montana Falls Short Montana has announced its first every wolf trapping season for 2012-2013.  While it appears on the surface that Montana’s new wolf-trapping proposal is a step in the right direction, some say that the proposal is far too restrictive. Last year, Idaho harvested more than double the number wolves compared to Montana, over 250 wolves were credited to Idaho’s wolf-trapping season alone.  Critics of the Montana proposal point out that Montana still plans to ban the use of snares, which is allowed in Idaho.  Last year, snares accounted for 68% of wolf trapping harvest in Idaho. That means only 80 of the 250 wolves, were harvested without the use of snares.  Montana’s restrictions are causing many to wonder whether Montana decision makers are more interested in preventing wolf-harvest than recovering elk and moose herds. Many observers now believe that hunting, trapping and professional control will be needed to allow for recovery of elk, moose and other wildlife populations. Read More: http://fwp.mt.gov/fwpDoc.html?id=55779

Details of Minnesota Wolf Hunting and Trapping Season Announced Minnesota has announced its first ever regulated wolf hunting and trapping season for 2012. Hunting season will run from November 3rd,  2012 to January 6th 2013.  Trapping Season will run from November 23rd, 2012 to January 6th, 2013.  Both seasons will close when the 400 wolf objective is reached.  Read more: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/wolves/mgmt.html   Wolf experts acknowledge that the state’s 400 wolf objective won’t decrease the populations numbers of the state’s 3,000 wolves.  Steve Merchant, Minnesota DNR wildlife population program manager is quoted in the Star Tribune, “If you wanted to lower it, you’d have to take a lot more than 400.”  In the same article, Mark Johnson, Executive Director of Minnesota deer hunters association comments on the low harvest objective, “I think deer hunters will be disappointed.” Read More: http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/152285405.html  

Progress continues on approval of Wyoming’s wolf management plans Wyoming has officially concluded all state approvals of its updated wolf management plan.  The final “public comment period” by USFWS is also closed (May 16, 2012). The peer review report of Wyoming’s wolf management plan has now been issued by US Fish and Wildlife Service.  Most peer reviewers have indicated that the management plan has followed “scientific literature and appropriate standards,” though one critic wants to impose a separate population requirement on Wyoming’s “flex zone.”   There have been very few surprises in approval of Wyoming’s plan. Multiple sources have indicated that an opener of Wyoming’s wolf season of October 1, 2012 remains a reasonable possibility. Read the “peer review” document: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/WY_Wolf_Peer_Review_of_Revised_Statutes_and_Plan_Addendumt2012_0508.pdf  

Montana Fish and Game Admits Wolf Populations Increased after Hunting Season What needs to be done to stop the decline of game populations in Montana?  We continue to hear a lot of frustration from Sportsmen in the state that not enough is being done to reduce wolf populations sufficiently to start recovery in Big Sky country.  The recent admissions by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks that wolf populations continue to increase is telling.  Here is the quote, “With the close of the 2011-2012 [wolf hunting] season, Montana still had an increase in the number of wolves in the state…it is clear that a more aggressive wolf hunting season will not hurt wolf populations or genetic diversity.” Read more:  http://fwp.mt.gov/fwpDoc.html?id=55779

Big Game Forever Announces Winner’s of Hunting and Fishing Drawings This last year, Big Game Forever conducted two drawings as a thank you to our awesome supporters. One of these drawings was for folks who had contributed to the cause.  The other was for anyone who had signed the petition.  The winner of our African Safari in Namibia is Mike M. from Georgia.  The winner of the Tarpon Fishing Trip with Keith Mark and Shawn Michaels of McMillan River Adventures is Bob S. from Montana.  Bob Sherman just returned from returned from his tarpon fishing adventure where he landed a world-class170 pound Tarpon after an epic fight of one hour and forty minutes.  Congratulations to both of our winners.  We will be announcing next year’s drawing in the next couple of months.  Stay tuned for details.

Ryan Benson http://biggameforever.org/ ryandbenson@msn.com

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