FWP: Wolves to be managed like other game

The two new members of the Fish, Wildlife & Parks commission got off to an easy start on Friday with minimal public comment on wolves, lions and grizzly bears. But wolves still sparked discussion.

Commission chair Dan Vermillion praised an FWP proposal to finally include wolves in the regular season-setting agenda that comes before the commission every two years.

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Counties seek predator bounties as Wildlife Services funding drops

Wildlife Services helps Montana livestock producers kill thousands of wild predators every year. But as its funding decreases, the agency may have to leave producers to their own devices, which may include bounties.

On Friday, John Steuber, Montana State Director of Wildlife Services, told the Montana Board of Livestock that Wildlife Services, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, probably couldn’t continue killing predators without the money it gets from the state, especially from cattle producers who pitch in 50 cents to a dollar per head.

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Legislators oppose changes to wolf management, hatchery trout

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks requested state legislators’ blessings for a dozen proposed bills, but two dealing with wolves and trout didn’t get the nod.

On Thursday, FWP Director Jeff Hagener stepped the Environmental Quality Council through 12 bills that would either improve FWP procedures or help preserve a few species. But Hagener got an earful from Sen. John Brenden, R-Scobey, when he described a bill intended to allow the Fort Peck Hatchery to produce a few more cold-water fish.

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Commission denies wolf-quota increase, forwards grizzly hunt

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks tried to justify a big jump in a Gardiner area wolf quota, but after lengthy public comment, the Fish and Wildlife commission didn’t buy it.

On a 3-1 vote, the commission decided against an FWP proposal to increase the quota in management unit 313 to six wolves, even though the six would be meted out over time. The period of September 4 through November 30 would have a limit of three wolves and another three would be allowed between December 1 and March 15.

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