Proposal Allows Landowners To Kill Off 100 Wolves Per Year - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Proposal Allows Landowners To Kill Off 100 Wolves Per Year

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MISSOULA - Montana Wildlife Commissioners voted to give landowners more freedom to keep their property safe from wolves. Commissioners initially approved a proposal on Thursday, allowing landowners to kill up to 100 gray wolves per year if the predators are a threat, but wildlife advocates are not happy about the vote.

The new proposal is already sparking controversy among wildlife advocates, like the group Wolves of the Rockies

"This is a result of a legislative bill from the last session allowing more landowner flexibility," Vivica Crowser with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said.

Under the new rule, shooting wolves would be permitted whenever they meet criteria of posing a potential threat to human safety, livestock or pets.

"It has to be threatening, so it has to be immediately threatening. Chasing, those types of things," Crowser said.

The new proposal is already sparking controversy among wildlife advocates like the group Wolves of the Rockies.

"At some point wolves won't be able to sustain themselves, because there's so many tools people can use to kill them," said Marc Cooke with Wolves of the Rockies.

Thursday's decision set the quota for the amount of gray wolves Montana landowners can kill annually at 100.

"That allows enough flexibility that people can actually use that flexibility to take care of issues that occur, but it's also not a number that would get anywhere near threatening the viability of the wolf population," Crowser said.

Cooke said this is just too much.

"There's only so much that these wolf populations can take. When you disrupt a pack by killing a member of the pack, it could lead to consequences," Cooke said.

Previously landowners could get permits to kill wolves if they were posing a threat.

"This would just relax that, and give landowners the ability to take care of a situation without having to pause and get that permission," Crowser said.

Cooke said this just gives people a tool to kill wolves for a new reason without paying consequences.

"Unless there's a witness available to say that's not what happened here, it will always be ruled as a legal killing," Cooke said.

FWP officials said if the proposal passes, landowners will be expected to report each wolf they kill.

Anyone can comment on the proposal until June 23. Commissioners are set to make a final vote in July. During that public comment period people can also comment on proposals for the next wolf hunting season

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