By Scott Zoltan
KALISPELL, Mont. — On Wednesday night, wolf opponents and advocates made their voices heard during an FWP meeting in Kalispell. Wildlife officials may extend the wolf hunting season, and allow trapping.
“I think it’s wonderful that they’ve come back,” said Valerie Beebe, who thinks wolves shouldn’t be hunted at all currently.
“They put the wolf on us when we didn’t ask for it,” said Jerry Fischer, who thinks wolves shouldn’t be in Montana at all.
Folks from all sides of the issue showed up, and FWP officials told them about proposed changes, including a hunting season that would run from September 1 to February 28 in 2013. There would also be no statewide quota, though there would be limits near Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.
“It’s a wonderful idea but it’s too late,” said Fischer. “Once the wolf becomes embedded, they’re very hard to kill out.”
“I’m not really even in favor of wolf hunting right now, so I guess I’m not in favor of extending the season,” said Beebe.
There’s also a proposed trapping season. FWP may allow non-lethal foot-hold traps. Reactions have been mixed.
“I think trapping is an outdated activity that cannot be well regulated,” said Beebe. “It’s indiscriminate.”
Beebe says it’s not really known how trapping affects the ecosystem, but Fischer says it would be a step in the right direction, though he’d rather poison be used.
“Trapping, okay, but how many are you going to trap and who is going to go out and do the trapping?” said Fischer. “Sure, it’ll help but it’s not going to be the solution.”
FWP officials say they have several goals. Among them, maintaining a healthy population of wolves, and cutting their impact on livestock, all while keeping the public informed.
Folks will have until June 25 to send in their comments on the wolf proposals.