Posted: Feb 13, 2013 12:15 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Feb 13, 2013 12:41 PM
HELENA - Montana wildlife experts now have a few extra options at their disposal as they decide how to manage wolves.
Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT) signed House Bill 73 Wednesday morning alongside the sponsors, Representative Kelly Flynn (R-Townsend) and Representative Ted Washburn (R- Bozeman).
The bill allows hunters to purchase more than one wolf permit and use electronic calls. It also reduces the price of a non-resident wolf license from $350 to $50. The bill does not allow the use of silencers.
"As we implement this and go forward, I have asked the director to make sure that we are educating hunters about collared wolves around the parks and also to reengage the wolf management council that used to be part of our state in the past," Bullock said in an interview.
Bullock's comments about collared wolves refer to a portion of the bill which prohibits the Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission from closing wolf hunting areas outside Yellowstone Park.
It responds to concerns after several hunters shot wolves with collars that were part of a federal study program. Shortly after the FWP Commission closed the hunting districts outside the Park prior to the hunting quotas being filled.
"It ought to be biologists managing wolves, not politicians," Bullock said. "This bill allows us to use science based management."
HB 73 received overwhelming support in both the House and Senate, with only four senators and three representatives voting against the bill.