Friday, May 6, 2011

The Wolves Are Now At MT Governor Schweitzer's Door!

In Western Montana, These Elk Calves Have Less Than A 10-Percent Chance Of Surviving To Reach 1-Year Of Age - Thanks To Wolves & A Spineless Governor!

Is Montana's "Lame Duck" Governor Brian Schweitzer running scared of the Department of the Interior and USFWS when it comes to EVER taking control of the wolf issue in this state? It sure seems so. In fact, the following letter he sent to Montana Secretary of State, Linda McCulloch, in regards to vetoing the opportunity for a spring wolf hunt definitely says that he's shaking in his undeserving cowboy boots.

I doubt if he's reading this...but just in case he is an e-mail I plan to send him today (5-6-11)...

"May 6, 2011


You continue to prove that you have very little regard for the will of Montana residents, and you certainly are no sportsman - or even a friend of the sportsmen in this state.. The following letter proves that you are so out of touch with the problem, you have absolutely no business even discussing it - or having the right to veto Senate Bill 402. This legislation would have gotten a jump start on "wolf control" - not "wolf management".

You, and your not-so-crack team of wolf "managers" with Fish, Wildlife and Parks, seem to have a problem with comprehending that Montanans DO NOT want to manage for MORE WOLVES...they want to put into action control measures that insure there will be FEWER WOLVES. Rest asured, the FWP Plan will have absolutely no effect on controlling wolf numbers in this state...or the loss of our big game herds.

FWP's approach is a joke at best...and none of us are laughing. But we will be organizing to do some serious house cleaning after the 2012 election, when your regime will become only a bad memory.

Let me put this as simple as possible - so you and FWP Director Joe Maurier may be able to comprehend what is being said.

The proposed spring hunt was in no way (EVER) intended to be a trophy wolf hunt - it was merely an opportunity to get a handle on the elk calf massacre that lays just ahead. The 2011 elk calf crop is just about to hit the ground...and waiting are the 1,400 to 1,500 wolves in this state, ready to enjoy another spring killing spree that will wipe out 90-percent or more of those calves before they have the opportunity to reach one-year of age. Due to the continual loss of young-of-the-year, our elk herds in western Montana have become geriatric, now averaging around 9 years of age. Before wolves, these herds averaged a healthy 4 years of age. They have now reached an age, that even without the stress of wolves, their chances of reproducing have become extremely slim.

Congratulations for driving another nail into that coffin. I hope you and your old college roommate buddy Joe Maurier can live with that. The sportsmen of Montana will long remember how you played a role in selling them out. I certainly hope you do not have any aspirations of remaining in politics in this state. If you do, I'd say that your chances of ever being elected again to any seat or office are even less than those of a 2011 newborn elk calf ever reaching maturity. The wolves are now knocking at your door.

Toby Bridges
Missoula, MT"

Following is Schweitzer's letter to the Secretary of State...



April 29, 2011

The Honorable Linda McCulloch
Secretary of State
State Capitol
Helena, MT 59620

Dear Secretary McCulloch:

In accordance with the power vested in me as Governor by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Montana, I hereby veto Senate Bill No. 402 (SB 402), "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR SPRING WOLF HUNTS; ESTABLISHING FEES FOR SPRING WOLF HUNTING LICENSES; AMENDING SECTIONS 87-1-304, 87-2-523, 87-2-524, AND 87-5-131, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE."

Senate Bill 402 was introduced in anticipation of federal delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species Act. According to proponents, Montana "lost" the fall 2010 hunting season to the relisting of wolves earlier in the year, and SB 402 was an effort to allow, essentially for the purposes of just the current year, a spring hunt of wolves. This legislation provides a mandate for this single-year spring hunt, despite numerous biological, administrative, and practical difficulties associated with such a hunt.

In federal legislation recently shepherded through Congress by U.S. Senator Jon Tester, wolves have been delisted. This uncommonly helpful congressional action was passed in uncommonly quick fashion. At the moment, Montana awaits the necessary federal regulations and protocols for implementation of the recent delisting, which I understand may take up to 60 days. For purposes of a hunt, that timeline would put Montana into the middle of June, at which time the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) Commission would take up matters such as season-setting, quotas, hunting districts, public input, and license sales. The net result is that Montana would be looking at July or August for its "spring hunt," even as we expect fall wolf hunting in the backcountry to begin in mid-September. Because of these difficulties with timing, and for practical reasons involving the mingling of hunting seasons, and for the sake of public safety during the summer months when Montana families are enjoying other activities in the woods, I believe a wolf hunt outside of fall to be unworkable and ill-advised. In any event, stated otherwise, it is not practically possible for a "spring hunt" to occur, as S8 402 would require.

There are several biological and social reasons why a spring wolf hunt is further ill-advised. Female wolves with pups will be vulnerable and tied to their dens. Montana has long-avoided hunting during these times, due not only to biology, but social acceptance. The prospect of field-dressing pregnant females or the likelihood of starving, abandoned pups does not meet ethical standards of fair chase or humane treatment of animals.

Further, wolves are undernourished and in their poorest condition coming into the spring, and the young are immature through the summer. The harvest of animals in poor condition with mangy pelts and the taking of underdeveloped animals are not what most Montanans have in mind when buying a hunting license. FWP and the Commission already have the authority to set any season that is appropriate to the agency's mission, including a special season for wolves as circumstances may dictate. However, a statutory setting of mandatory hunting without consideration of these broader implications, in my opinion is ill-advised.

Additionally, FWP has a wolf management plan, and the substance of that plan helped secure passage of Senator Tester's legislation to de-list wolves in Montana. Enactment of SB 402 has the potential to jeopardize Montana's delisted status, a result none of us desire. Ultimately, delisting was facilitated by Montana's sensible and scientific approach.

Montana will indeed have a wolf hunt this fall, and I am not willing to jeopardize recent hardfought gains to put wolf management back where it belongs, in the hands of the state. I respectfully ask for your support to sustain my veto.


cc: Legislative Services Division

Drop Governor Brian Schweitzer an e-mail...and give him a piece of your mind...

Toby Bridges


  1. I wrote the Governor. Montana needs a different governor, as soon as possible. We,in Oregon need a different one too.

  2. We now have two strong contenders who are both dead set on taking care of the wolf problem. More on this later.