Jojo Doria – AHN Sports Contributor
Helena, MT, United States (AHN Sports) – To address problems by some livestock owners in Montana, a bounty on large predators, such as wolves and mountain lions, in Jefferson County was proposed.
The commissioners discussed the possibility of using tax money as a reward for killing wolves and mountain lions at the county meeting Tuesday.
By statute, livestock producers would tax themselves and use the money as a bounty.
But the proposal has put state and federal officials in a quandary.
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is tasked to manage game animals, and mountain lions and gray wolves fall within the ambit of its jurisdiction. These large predators have recently been removed from the list of endangered species.
The state agency sets quotas and hunting seasons, hence, shooting game animals like wolves and lions outside of the seasons is illegal.
Also, the taking of these said predators without the required permits or killing more than the established quota is illegal under its regulations.
According to Commissioner Leonard Wortman, their hands are tied if more than 51 percent of the livestock producers in the county petition for instituting the bounties.
The alarming concerns from livestock owners over depredation in Jefferson County has been the driving force in the proposal.
On one hand, there were hunters who pleaded with the Jefferson County Commission Tuesday to reconsider the move to put bounties on these predators, and allow the FWP time to formulate means to better manage them.
The statute also provides a bounty on pups and kittens, a proposal which has elicited moral concerns from those opposed to the move.