(for immediate release - December 17, 2008)

Take Back Montana - from Federal Wolves

MISSOULA - Groundbreaking legislation is prepared for the 2009 legislative session to dramatically rearrange the relationship between Montana and the federal government concerning wolves.  Montana's sportsmen are beyond frustration with endless broken promises that wolves will soon be turned over to state management and their population explosion curtailed.

For years Montana has met the wolf population objectives for removing wolves from the endangered species list, but because of federal incompetence, outright hostility to Montana people by predator advocates and a complicit judiciary, shift to state management has failed to occur.

The Montana Shooting Sports Association has prepared a bill for the 2009 legislature that will require federal wolves to be brought into compliance with Montana wolf policy by federal managers.  Under the bill, as long as federal wolves are not in compliance, there will be consequences for continuing non-compliance.  The bill provides state-established benchmarks for compliance with Montana policy, and a process by which compliance certification can be achieved by federal managers.

This "Wolf Recovery Act" will be sponsored by Senator Joe Balyeat (R-Bozeman), and is intended to assist Montana in recovering from the unmitigated and substantial impact of federal wolves.  This bill will not receive a bill number until it is formally introduced in early January, but may be viewed now on the Legislature's Website at:

General information about what this bill will accomplish is available at:

MSSA president Gary Marbut commented, "We've absolutely hit the wall with wolves.  Populations of huntable game owned by the people of Montana are being devastated.  People and livestock are increasingly at risk.  We can no longer tolerate either the plague of wolves in Montana or the tolerant attitude our Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has displayed in their zeal to accommodate wolves and too many broken federal promises."

Numerous recent news reports are beginning to focus public attention on the real risk of wolves to people and the considerable impact wolves are having on hunting opportunities and livestock.

Although wolf proponents have continually opposed all delisting or down-listing efforts, they have failed to offer any criteria or guarantees at all about under what conditions they would consider wolves to have been recovered and eligible for state management.  The efforts of wolf advocates indicate that they will be satisfied only with a "predator/prey balance" which would end big game hunting by Montana people altogether and allow wolf population reduction only through wolf starvation.

Studied wolf populations are documented to increase at a rate between 25% and 32% per year as long as a food supply is available and disease doesn't flash through the population.  Wolves are also documented to kill between 20 and 80 elk per year, for each wolf.  Estimates tend to center on wolf kills of about 30 elk per year.  It is now estimated that there are over 500 wolves in Montana.  FWP lacks current numbers of elk existing in Montana, although elk populations are known to have already crashed in areas with high wolf densities.  With these numbers and third-grade math, it is axiomatic that wolves will eventually terminate all hunting opportunities for people in Montana.  The only remaining debate is over how long this termination will take.

Marbut commented, "Montana's hunting heritage is literally being fed to the wolves, federal wolves.  When the huntable game is gone or rare and Montana's hunting tradition is history, Montana's community of stockgrowers will come under increasing assault by wolves.  Many believe this is intended by predator advocates to drive property owners off the land and turn Montana into a giant park."

Concerning the proposed wolf legislation, Senator Balyeat said, "I've carried bills before to give Montana authority to deal with wolves upon delisting, but that long-promised delisting never materializes, at least not to last.  Montana simply cannot wait any longer to see what the feds may or may not do with wolves.  Our people, our game herds and our livestock need protection, now.  I am very pleased to be able to sponsor this needed and corrective bill.  I believe Montana will rise in support of this effort."

Similar legislation is currently being drafted in Idaho.

A story in the Casper (Wyoming) Tribune of December 14th quotes sources as asserting that wolves will be delisted again soon.  Wolves have been down-listed once and delisted once, both of which actions were promptly reversed by federal judges sympathetic to wolves.  Proponents of the bill to be carried by Senator Balyeat have zero confidence that the currently proposed delisting will prevail.  Marbut commented, "How many more times should Charlie Brown trust Lucy to hold the football?  None at all!"  Proponents believe the Obama administration will move quickly to reverse any delisting.  Proponents wish Montana to no longer be sitting on the sidelines, dependent on any federal promises, actions or inactions.

About this out-of-control wolf experiment in Montana, Bob Fanning, president of the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd said, "FOTNYEH began warning Montanans that game herds would be destroyed by rapidly increasing wolf numbers and densities a decade ago. Those warnings were ignored and the Yellowstone Ecosystem has been rapidly and completely sterilized by excessively large wolf packs that have fanned out far further than the proposed recovery area. Most Montanans are aware that they were fed propaganda for the past decade by pro-wolf bureaucrats. Many Montanans are aware that the Yellowstone Ecosystem has been sterilized of its prey base and is becoming a biological desert."

"FOTNYEH has worked for a decade," Fanning continued, "to protect the rights, property, customs, culture and heritage of the people of Montana from the federal wolf program forced on our state from afar. FOTNYEH whole-heartedly supports this proposed bill."

Contact:    Gary Marbut - 549-1252
        Senator Joe Balyeat - 539-5547
        Bob Fanning - 333-4121