Sportsmen and women will be sponsoring a May 4 meeting in Hamilton to move forward with their goal of reducing wolf numbers to objectives set by United States Fish and Wildlife Service at 15 wolves in Montana. The meeting is set for 3 p.m. at the Hamilton High School Performing Arts Center, located at 327 Fairgrounds Road.
Ted B. Lyon, author of “The Real Wolf,” will be the keynote speaker. Also invited are representatives of the Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Associalion, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), plus Justin Webb of the Foundation for Wildlife Management, Paul Rosendal and Dan Flellterline from Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, and local legislators.
“Our elk herds are no longer in the back country where they used to be,” Montana sportsman Glen Schenavar said in a news release. “These herds have been pushed into the farms, ranches and river bottoms around houses. Wolves kill more than they consume and pressure game herds year round. This causes lower pregnancy rates of does and cow elk and stresses ungulates into aborting their offspring.
“Our frustration is that FWP is not understanding the negative impact wolves are having on ungulate and livestock populations,” he said. “Idaho and Wyoming are It in front of us making changes to reduce predation on ungulates and livestock. We are looking for sportsmen and livestook growers who want to help us move forward with change.”
This is the fourth meeting in Western Montana about such wolf issues, and sportsmen are already starting to see a change, according to Schenavar.
“We are working with FWP and state legislators to change trapping regulations and laws. Objectives as a coalition of sportsmen are:
• Reduce wolf numbers to management objectives set by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of 150 wolves in Montana.
• Extending current trapping seasons.
• Change setbacks for trapping.
• Obtain reimbursement for ethical hunters and trappers for expenses incurred while harvesting wolves.
• Reintroduction of ungulates in areas impacted by wolves.
• Working with state legislators to change existing laws.
• Working with FWP to find common wourici to develop soluiions.
“The response to the other meetings was overwhelming, standing room only,” Schenavar said. “When sportsmen come together we are a truly powerful group.”