Gallatin Wildlife Association

Action Alerts

Image taken and borrowed from the Action newsletter of Center for Biological Diversity.

1.) Action Needed on Wolves:

 

1a. GWA's Comments on HB 224:

(same comments could be used for Senators)

 

February 2, 2021

 

Dear House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee:

 

I’m writing you today on behalf of myself and of the Gallatin Wildlife Association. The Gallatin Wildlife Association (GWA) is a local, all volunteer wildlife conservation organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of wildlife, fisheries, habitat and migration corridors in Southwest Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, using science-based decision making. We are a non-profit 501-c (3) organization founded in 1976. GWA recognizes the intense pressures on our wildlife from habitat loss and climate change, and we advocate for science-based management of public lands for diverse public values, including but not limited to hunting and angling.

 

We are submitting these comments in opposition to HB.224, a bill with the corresponding short title: “Allow for the snaring of wolves in Montana by licensed trappers”. GWA fails to see the public support or need for this piece of legislation outside of the wishes of a small minority of Montana’s citizenry. Overall GWA does not believe actions which affect the population dynamics of wolves or any species and/or the corresponding ecological balance or imbalance deriving from such action should be undertaken in the political arena. Decisions pertaining to the management of Montana’s wildlife, natural resources and lands should be argued and debated by the appropriate state agencies and commissions with public input using the latest scientific information. With that said, this bill is lacking in the necessary scientific rationale and purpose. Political interference should not occur in the scientific management and decision-making process of Montana’s natural heritage and landscapes.  


Specifically, GWA believes this bill and the concept of using snares is a bad piece of legislation and is a bad practice overall. The practice of using snares is not targetable.  Species (other than wolves) can easily be captured by such practice; wild and domestic. This act would also pose a threat for human injury, placing public safety at risk. Such action would thereby place fear in local communities reducing the public’s right to their own land.

 

GWA basically sees this piece of legislation and others which have been brought forth in this legislative session as anti-wolf specifically, and a continuation of what seems to us as a “War on Wildlife”. These types of actions have no place in the 21st century. The science is available to show the positive impact that wolves have had on restoring the ecological balance to an ecosystem. It is that type of data that should be at the heart of wolf management, not the personal preference of a small group of people who see wildlife as something to take, no matter how cruel the action may seem by society.

 

The science is building that wolves can help control the advancement of Chronic Wasting Disease. The most obvious way this is done is simply by the well-known practice of wolves simply weeding and culling out the weakest of an elk herd. Wolves are more targeted in this approach than any management plan undertaken by man. We see the purpose of this bill simply an approach to eradicate the wolf population. Again, this should not be the purpose of any legislation. The presence of wolves by reintroduction was accomplished by a supportive majority of the public. It should not be purpose of any one group or individual to undermine that trust.

 

Finally, wolves as said above restore balance to the ecological community. The wolf is a keystone species, essential for this balance. They help in controlling over population of species including other predators. And by doing so, they restore healthy riparian areas by curtailing over browsing. The science is there and that is why the science should be part of any decision. We see that as missing in this action by taking a legislative approach. For these reasons, GWA opposes HB224.

 

Thank you for your time.

 

 

Clint Nagel, President

Gallatin Wildlife Association

 

 

1b. GWA's Comments on HB 225:

(same comments could be used for Senators)

 

January 27, 2021

 

Dear House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Parks:

 

My name is Clint Nagel, representing myself and the Gallatin Wildlife Association. The Gallatin Wildlife Association (GWA) is a local, all volunteer wildlife conservation organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of wildlife, fisheries, habitat and migration corridors in Southwest Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, using science-based decision making. We are a non-profit 501-c (3) organization founded in 1976. GWA recognizes the intense pressures on our wildlife from habitat loss and climate change, and we advocate for science-based management of public lands for diverse public values, including but not limited to hunting and angling.

 

We are submitting comments in opposition to HB. 225, a bill proposing to expand the trapping season on wolves. We believe this bill is unnecessary and does not have the scientific rationale to justify expansion. There should not be any political indiscretion or interference by the state legislature into what should be a scientific-based decision by the proper wildlife and/or land-use management agencies, albeit county, state or federal entities. This act seems to be an attempt by a small percentage of special interest groups to take control away from Montana Fish, Game and Parks, away from proper scientific reasoning and to place the future of Montana’s Heritage in political limbo, a place where it does not belong.

 

A let’s face it, wolves are part of Montana’s Heritage. They have been part of the ecological integrity of this state long before the European settlers arrived on the scene. They hold a biological and an ecological role and significance on our landscape, hence it is why they were reintroduced in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1995 to begin with. The destruction of wolves in the wild ignores the functionality that they bring to the ecosystem. They can help control the spread of chronic wasting disease and other diseases in wildlife and they bring balance to an unbalanced ecosystem which man has corrupted.

 

We see this bill simply as an act to force the actions of a select few (.5% of Montana’s citizenship) onto the totality of public lands and its people. For these reasons and more we urge this committee to vote down HB225.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Clinton Nagel, President

Gallatin Wildlife Association

1c.) Action Needed HB 138: ( We want to thank this information from Footloose Montana.)

 

Rep. Paul Fielder, R, an official of the Montana Trappers Association, led the fight against 1-177, the 2016 initiative to ban trapping on public lands. He is pushing a fistful of bills to exterminate wolves and expand trapping. He just introduced bill draft (LC 1906), now known as HB 138:

 

LC 1906: "An Act revising what constitutes Trapping or Snaring Offense; Revise Tagging requirements; and Amending Section 87-6-601. You can see the bills suggested changes at this link:

 

 https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2021/billhtml/HB0138.htm

 

In essence, the bill makes it easier to trap on private property, and harder to identify the trapper. The bill also makes a conservation license optional. A conservation license is a prerequisite for all resident and nonresident licences to hunt, trap and fish, costing only $8.00. A conservation license has an I.D. number for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to find the user. In other words, it makes the person more accountable.

 

  1. Fielder wants to eliminate a conservation license for trappers on private lands. He also wants to remove the trapper’s phone number from required I.D. information, so someone finding the trap cannot quickly call the trapper if livestock has been trapped.
  2. LC 1906 also removes the need for “written permission to trap” and replaces it with simply “permission”. On a large ranch a trapper can simply say he spoke to ‘someone’ who gave him permission. No proof necessary.

 

This is obviously designed to keep trappers free of liability and culpability, with access to lands they have no right to be on.

 

For Contact and Information:

https://leg.mt.gov/

 

https://leg.mt.gov/session/

 

Call the Information Desk at 406.444.4800 

 

 

THANK YOU FOR CONTACTING LEGISLATORS. THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM ALL  OF US.
 
MONTANA HOUSE FISH, WILDLIFE AND PARKS COMMITTEE 2021
MEETS: Tu, Th: 3 p.m.; Rm 172 (you can listen by going to this link and clicking on audio during the meeting)

 
Fitzgerald, Ross (R) – Chair
406-467-2032
Ross.fitzgerald@mtleg.gov
 
Duram, Neil (R) ‑ Vice Chair
406-471-2356
Neil.duram@mtleg.gov
 
Farris‑Olsen, Robert (D) ‑ Vice Chair
406-794-4780
Robformontana@gmail.com
 
Berglee, Seth (R)
406-690-9329
Seth.berglee@mtleg.gov

Fielder, Paul (R)
406-210-5943
Paulfielder@blackfoot.net
 
France, Tom (D)
406-396-5085
Tom.france@mtleg.gov

Hinkle, Jedediah (R)
406-585-0782
Jedediah.hinkle@mtleg.gov
 
Knudsen, Rhonda (R)
406-489-5253
Rhonda.knudsen@mtleg.gov
 
Loge, Denley (R)
406-649-2368
denleylogehd14W@gmail.com
 
Marler, Marilyn (D)
406-544-7189
Marilyn.marler@mtleg.gov
 
Mitchell, Braxton (R)
406-314-9474
braxtonmmitchell@gmail.com
Novak, Sara (D)
406-691-0069
Novak4hd77@gmail.com
 
Phalen, Bob (R)
406-939-1187
Bob.phalen@mtleg.gov
 
Putnam, Brian (R)
406-233-9463
Brian.putnam@mtleg.gov
 
Reksten, Linda (R)
406-471-8359
Reksten4mthouse@gmail.com
 
Running Wolf, Tyson (D)
406-845-2115
trwolves@gmail.com
 
Seekins‑Crowe, Kerri (R)
406-208-6587
Kerri4mt@gmail.com
 
Weatherwax, Marvin (D)
406-338-7741
repmarvinwwaxjr@gmail.com
 
 
Clerk:
Joanne Kauzlarich
Rm 451, 444‑2554

Staff:
Hope Stockwell
Rm 171C, 444‑9280

 

1 d.) GWA's Comments on HB 138 (LC1906):

 

January 12, 2021

 

Dear Montana House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee:

 

The comments below pertain to LC 1906, a bill entitled: “Revising trap and snare tagging requirement laws” and are those that represent the Gallatin Wildlife Association (GWA). GWA mission statement is the following:

 

"Gallatin Wildlife Association (GWA) is a local, all volunteer wildlife conservation organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of wildlife, fisheries, habitat and migration corridors in Southwest Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, using science-based decision making. We are a non-profit 501-c (3) organization founded in 1976. GWA recognizes the intense pressures on our wildlife from habitat loss and climate change, and we advocate for science-based management of public lands for diverse public values, including but not limited to hunting and angling."

 

GWA opposes LC1906 on the grounds that it undermines the ethical principles we hope all hunters, trappers and fishing enthusiasts employ in their sport. The bill lessens the accountability of those who do and decreases landowner’s rights from those who may enter upon private property. This bill is essentially written to lessen the liability and culpability of those trappers who may violate landowner’s rights. This bill even undermines state law by not requiring a state conservation license.

 

We basically see this bill as a method to cow tow to a special interest group, which the originator of the bill has direct ties to the Montana Trappers Association. To us, this is a conflict of interest. Why should his special interest, of which he has personal ties, be forced upon the rest of the state? This is nothing more than a vendetta against wolves, to increase “the take” if you will across the state. There is no scientific rationale for the purpose of this legislation.

 

We strongly oppose LC1906 and we urge the Montana House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee to vote this draft bill down. This bill just continues to undermine the integrity of personal behavior in the wild. We need to strengthen the integrity of us all, not make people less accountable.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

 

 

Clinton Nagel, President

Gallatin Wildlife Association 

 

1e.) SB 314: Reduce Wolf populations through Harvest

 

February 25, 2021

 

Dear Senate Fish and Game Committee:

 

The Gallatin Wildlife Association is writing you at this moment concerning the Senate Bill before you SB 314. This bill entitled “AN ACT REVISING LAWS RELATED TO THE HARVEST OF WOLVES…” is another among a series of horrible wildlife management bills not based upon science, ethics or a morality. 

 

Gallatin Wildlife Association (GWA) is a local, all volunteer wildlife conservation organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of wildlife, fisheries, habitat and migration corridors in Southwest Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, using science-based decision making. We are a non-profit 501-c (3) organization founded in 1976. GWA recognizes the intense pressures on our wildlife from habitat loss and climate change, and we advocate for science-based management of public lands for diverse public values, including but not limited to hunting and angling.

 

We have previously stated that the management of wildlife should not be done before a legislative session. This has made wildlife management political, not based upon science and therefore not credible policy. These acts of ramming bad policy through the Montana legislative session have also removed the public from the participation process. Wildlife belongs to all the people of the state. It is our heritage. It was not meant to be set aside and managed by a State House or Senate. 

 

This bill (as said) is not based upon the proper or best science. GWA would like to refer the Senate Committee to the research done by Jay Mallonee of Wolf and Wildlife Studies of Kalispell, MT. The first paragraph of his Summary and Conclusion is this.

 

“There is little science involved in the killing of Montana’s wolves. FWP has been unable to provide the appropriate data necessary to justify the two main reasons for such a program: livestock depredation and threat to prey populations. The fact that wolves have been slaughtered for no justifiable reason should be a concern to everyone, both morally and financially. Tax payer money is used to finance the hunting of wolves and other management practices. To claim that wolf management and hunting will “maintain a wild wolf population that’s in balance with its habitat, other wildlife, and the people who live in Montana” is without merit.”

 

There is another problem with Mr. Brown’s bill. Who decided that the State Legislature was the entity to set the sustainable level of wolves in the state? Let’s face it, this bill is nothing more than an effort to reduce the population of wolves in the state period because a few lawmakers think we have too many. There is no science in that. There is no morality in that.

 

In the same research article by Mr. Mallonee: he states this and this is an argument that GWA agrees with.

 

"The reality is that wolves are not like any other wildlife species. They are not hunted for meat and consumed. Wolves are killed mostly out of fear, hatred, and a perceived competition for the other animals that we do eat."

 

 

That is all this really is, a method to reduce the population of wolves because some legislators think there are too many. GWA strongly opposes this bill and urges a solid “NO” vote.

 

Sincerely,

 

Clinton Nagel, President

Gallatin Wildlife Association

 

2.) Other Bad Legislation toward Wolves and Wildlife in general: (Thanks to Center for Biological Diversity for following information.)

 

This legislation is currently in draft as Legislative Concepts (LCs) and are planned for introduction this session by Rep. Paul Fielder:

 

- LC 1907 increases the wolf harvest quota;
- LC 1908 (HB 224) allows for snaring of wolves by licensed trappers;
- LC 1909 (HB 225) increases the length of the harvest season for wolves;
- LC 1910 adds wolves to big-game combination licenses;
- LC 1915 allows for hunting of wolves at night.

 

The changes proposed in these bills greatly expand the means and opportunities for wolves to be killed on private and public lands. Wolves are part of Montana's wild heritage and are essential to defend against chronic wasting disease, which could devastate our elk and deer herds. Montana's wildlife and public lands belong to us all.

 

Other bills dangerous for Montana's wildlife heritage include the following. 

 

- LC 1906, which revises trap and snare tagging laws;
- LC 1913, which revises the Fish and Wildlife Commission members;
- LC 1914, which revises constitutional language regarding hunting heritage;
- LC 3033, which allows hound-hunting and chase seasons for black bears.

 

These bills aim to ease up on crucial trap and snare identification requirements, make the Fish and Wildlife Commission even more anti-wildlife, allow for the cruel use of hounds on bears, and enshrine trapping as a state constitutional right. 

 

These legislative steps are not scientifically sound and should be met with deep skepticism and many with disgust. These ideas are just more ways for Montana to kill more wolves and other wildlife. The results will not be sustainable; the measures themselves are a disgrace. Please do not allow these bills to pass out of committee.

 

Please be aware of all these upcoming pieces of bad legislation.

 

3. The Governor of Wyoming Needs to hear from Us

(The listing below from Wyoming Wildlife Advocates)

 

 

Picture submitted by Wyoming Wildlife Advocates.

 

Every picture tells a story. 

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