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Public Scoping Comments Summary, compiled August 2002

Contents

Background

FWP began accepting comments in February on a state-run wolf management program. It marked the first step in the preparation of an environmental impact statement with the proposed action that the State of Montana will develop and implement a wolf conservation and management program.

Issue scoping allows the public to identify issues, concerns, and what it wants FWP to address in the EIS. FWP is required to allow at least 30 days for scoping under the Montana Environmental Policy Act. The agency, however, designed a 60-day process to ensure wider opportunities and more time to comment. FWP conducted community work sessions in 12 Montana towns in March and April, provided opportunities to comment on-line, in addition to taking comment via Fax and regular mail.

More than 800 people participated in the community work sessions and the agency received more than 4,000 comments between February and April. Comments were received from nearly every Montana county, 110 different Montana zip codes, 49 out of 50 states, and eight foreign countries.

The various alternatives will be developed based on these comments. The summary below capture the sentiment and offer a general picture of a representative cross section of comments. Comments are nearly verbatim and emerged from communities across Montana, as well as from many non-residents.

How the comments were processed

Comments from the work sessionsand from written and E-mail correspondence--were entered and summarized in their own individual data files, but with an identical file structure. The comments recorded on flip charts during the community work sessions were entered verbatim into an Access database, although spelling and grammar were corrected upon entry. Each comment was assigned a unique record number by the computer through Accesss autonumber function.

Upon receipt, each written comment or E-mail comment was assigned a unique number manually using a traditional stamp and ink pad system. All the emails were printed and filed with the other written comments.

All comments were entered into their respective Access database along with information about the origin of the comment, the city, state etc. All the comments were read by one of three people and many comments were reviewed by more than one person as a cross check for consistency. Each comment was assigned to a key word category shown in italics below. The keywords were also incorporated as fields into the respective data bases as a yes/no field. This allowed broadly defined suites of issues to be summarized and categorized according to frequency. Key word summaries represent issues/concerns mentioned in each individual comment or written letter; therefore, each individual comment may have several key words associated with it. Key word summary totals do not represent the individual number of comments received during the scoping period. There is also some thematic overlap in key word categories.

Because of the volume of comments received, this summary was prepared to capture the cross section of input and to help formulate alternatives in the EIS. It was interesting to note the differences in comments between the work sessions and the written letters as well as the geographic differences across the state for the work session comments. Some issues appear to be more regionally focused than others.

Key word categories and a spectrum of comments

Representative comments are shown in bullet format. The alphanumeric code indicates the identification number in the computer database. S denotes comments recorded at the community work sessions and W denotes comments received through the mail or via E-mail. The number indicates the record number in the respective database. Comments are nearly verbatim for both databases; they were streamlined to remove unnecessary text while still preserving most of the original words.

Wolf Management (1203), Numbers (611), and Distribution (193) Comments

Comments (2011 total) address the philosophies, tools, and strategies for wolf management, the numbers of wolves in Montana, and where they live.

Management:

  • I think wolves should be managed like other wildlife in the state. We do not set maximum levels for the other species, so we should not for wolves. S2341
  • How will pack be defined? Any plan will have a minimum number of wolves and packs. But what is a pack? Will previous successful breeding (not just current) define a pack? S1681
  • Emphasis should be on stewardship methods that do everything possible to avoid conflicts before lethal control measures are even considered. W1184
  • Support a regulated hunting season for wolves, lions, and bears that ensures the survival of each species and healthy big game populations, without infringing upon hunting opportunities for humans. Fair chase hunting of the species to keep wolf numbers in check while contributing to the activities of management agencies is OK. W495
  • Best management for wolves is to put the bounty back on them and eliminate. Wolves are truly nonessential in this day and age. W837
  • There needs to adequate and vigorous law enforcement to discourage wolf poaching. W939
  • To the degree possible, we urge you to manage people, not wolves. W1159
  • I do not want wolves to be managed as a game species. S409
  • The goal of managing wolves must be a logical, scientific management plan. S48
  • Dont like adaptive management it wont work and there are more hassles. S1824
  • As mother nature rarely allows for any system to remain static, the plan should be flexible enough to adapt to change in wolf movement and population changes. S162
  • Wolves cannot be managed and the management plan cannot work. S775
  • Sportsmen should be part of control. Control hunts rather than Fish and Game or Feds doing the killing. S717
  • You have a hunting season and license for all kinds of other animals, why not for wolves? S2346\
  • Hunting and trapping should do both. Wolves get smart if shot at or trapped need both. S1996
  • Have different units or zones where wolves are managed differently. Some zones have no hunting, trapping whereas this may be necessary in others. S1582
  • As much as possible, prevent human-caused mortality unless, of course, where there is immediate threat to human life, livestock, or other property. W777
  • There should be no killing of wolves whatsoever. W873
  • We oppose the use of public hunting or trapping as management tools for wolves and we oppose the use of sterilization procedures. W1142
  • I think it is critical that the three state plans count wolf mortalities together throughout the three states. W941
  • The first objective for managing wolves ought to be to satisfy the needs of hunters. W1168
  • Three-tiered, progressive management approach: protective, conservative, and long-term W1158
  • Eliminate the population or keep them in the park at the feds expense.

Distribution:

  • Prevent further growth of wolf packs. They should be tolerated only in Yellowstone Park and in a 3-mile buffer outside the Park. W823
  • Wolves should be restricted to certain areas and limited in number. S178
  • Keep in mind that wolves dont understand boundaries. S506
  • Maintain wolves in parks, wilderness areas, and on federal lands. S1159
  • Could eliminate lots of problems if no wolf zone in eastern Montana where we have lots of agriculture. S1162
  • Wolves originated from Canada so treat them like Canadian animals. No wolves below 3500 foot elevation, as they are managed in Canada. S2125
  • Corridors how will you insure (a) preservation and (b) recovery of corridors used by wolves to preserve connectivity between packs? S1579
  • No artificial boundaries that exclude wolves from certain areas. W1150
  • Leave wolves in Yellowstone Park if you want, but any that cross the line must be eliminated. W1094
  • Wolves must be allowed to expand their range to all areas accessible to them and be allowed to persist wherever those areas may be throughout the entire state. W928
  • Wolves should be limited to public lands and those private lands where they are welcome. W1071

Numbers:

  • Need larger number of packs as the target and a three-tiered management protection program. S51
  • What is the target wolf population size? Where and how do we set this? S496
  • Figure out what Montana can sustain for number of wolves and manage at that number. S810
  • Need a reasonable cap on wolf numbers. S2411
  • Current goal of 15 packs should at least be doubled to 30. S1631
  • The minimum should be the maximum. S2169
  • Wolves should be counted as total number of wolves, not just packs. S2560
  • Ensure viable wolf populations into the future or all the money and time spent so far will be wasted. W811
  • Seek to achieve a target of 20 breeding packs by securing 30 wolf packs overall in Montana. W869
  • Should not put a limit on the number of wolves. Let the population fluctuate based on the weather, habitat, and prey. W797
  • The documented federal goal for wolf reintroduction is 30 breeding pairs split among Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. We do not necessarily agree that this number is defensible, necessary, or desirable. But if we use this number as a theoretical benchmark, why should Montana bear half of this burden? Why does the Plan specify a minimum of 15 breeding pairs in Montana? W1168
  • Management plan should include increasing the wolf population until it can become a game animal and a hunting season can be established. W533
  • Montana would use 15 packs as the trigger point while such packs play a valuable role ecologically, they are largely irrelevant in either reaching or maintaining viable population levels unless they are breeding packs. All standards must be based solely on breeding packs as currently defined by FWS. W944
  • I suggest that the number on hand right now become an absolute upper limit of wolves allowed. W931
  • Since not all packs are successful breeders, 15 packs may be equivalent to 10 or fewer breeding packs which is considered the threshold of endangered status. W1149
  • Montana with its vast wide open spaces, low population density, high prey populations, and large roadless areas could support thousands of wolves. Suggestions that 10 or even 20 wolf packs is adequate are based entirely on a political number taken out of thin air, and are not supported by any scientific or biological justification. Wolf populations should be permitted to adjust to their own self-determined population levels. W1159
  • There is no need to adopt a trigger number unless officials are recklessly trying to manage wild animals for conflicts before they occur. W1143
  • The number of wolf packs (15) as a benchmark it is unclear how this value was obtained or if it has a biological significance. Provide more information on the derivation of this value. Incorporate further analyses that identify the minimum number of wolf packs required to maintain a viable population. W1186

Social Factors Comments

803 comments address various social values associated with wolves and wolf management.

  • Wolves in Yellowstone National Park reflect modern Americas strong sentiment for conservation of the wests natural heritage. Montanans have to accept this, while we know that it means we will have to share much of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem with wolves. I am pleased to see our state FWP stepping up to the challenge with wisdom and flexibility. W654
  • Wolves help keep checks and balances in place. Wolves are essential predator species. S516
  • Treat the wolves like animals, not Gods. S2547
  • Nevertheless, all co-signers greatly value the recovery of the wolf population in Montana and the eventual restoration of their evolutionary influence as a top-down predator throughout the state and the rest of the west. W1159
  • The plan should put what is best for the wolf ahead of whats socially acceptable. S468
  • Wolves are a deserving symbol of our precious wild heritage. The State of Montana should be proud of its opportunity to protect and preserve them. W746
  • Wolves have been deprived of their habitat by humans. Humans have been robbed of their biodiversity. W686
  • I feel that it is important to consider the biology of the species and the role wolves play in the ecosystem, while not forcing this down peoples throats. Peoples opinions, attitudes, and livelihoods are also important. S1581
  • Wolves do nothing to enhance our experience in the outdoors, besides reduce game numbers for people that like to view game through either their camera in Yellowstone Park or their riflescope during hunting season. W1099
  • As a lifelong hunter and wildlife advocate, I am glad wolves are returning to Montana... the return of the wolf marks an important point in Montanas wildlife history. If we do our job right, our children will be enjoying this magnificent native Montana animal. Wolves are smart, adaptable, and fecund creatures. Theyll do their part, if only we let them. W861
  • Long term survival of wolves requires a robust and well distributed wolf population in areas of Montana where wolves could find suitable habitat and where their presence is accepted by people. W752
  • The people who make their living off the land should be considered. W790
  • I think we can do very well without wolves in the west. If we must have them in the Parks for the tourists to see, and to kill other wildlife and game animals so be it. If they venture outside the Park boundaries, they become fair game for anyone to kill. Dont put the burden of management on the taxpayers of the western states. W1095
  • I believe that wolves should have a place in Montana and other states, where large areas of federal land can offer them a place to reasonably exist without undue impacts on the private land. These are my lands, too. W677
  • I think that it is BS that Montanans never even got a chance to vote on this. If they leave the park, we should be able to shoot them on sight. The wolves are going to be over populated and the hunting wont be worth much for future generations. You should have at least let us locals vote on the issue. When we all voted not in favor, tell the tree-huggers that if they want to see a wolf, go see one in a zoo. W 567
  • Consider pasture trade for livestock in high risk areas to low risk areas. W978
  • Wolf management should be treated like that of other large carnivores. W1181.
  • Any wolf management plan must protect the rights of the people of Montana first, and should not do anything to endanger big game hunting in our state. W924
  • Agriculture will always be the number one business in Montana, and therefore there will always be conflict with wolves. W2431
  • Would like to see a way to manage wolves and work closely with ranchers and landowners. S1553
  • The plan must incorporate not only the desires of the ranchers and local farmers but also the desires of the environmentalists, and wildlife management professionals. W800
  • Please consider those of us who make our living raising cattle and sheep. The environment is not greater than the people who live here. W900
  • They are interesting, but I wish they werent here it was so peaceful before they showed up. I dont like them. Too bad the people who love them cant live here. W1031
  • Discontinue wolf introduction and management in Montana. This isnt bambi-land. We cannot go back 100 years into the past. It is irresponsible and immature to pay homage to those idealistic and whiny back to nature kids who most probably still havent gotten out of the sandbox let alone spend any real time in the woods. Wolf introduction fiasco is truly pitiful. W491
  • I believe wolves belong in this state. Learning to be tolerant of wolves and learning that their role in the ecosystem is critical to a healthy environment is the key to success of the wolf in the state. It is imperative that people learn that we can live with wolves and still live our lives. W1078
  • We encourage the use of educational outreach like the Living with Carnivores program which is currently being promoted throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and utilized as a tool for helping residents (rural and urban) learn ways to avoid conflicts with native predators. W1161
  • What good are wolves? They will kill many livestock, and we already eliminated them once. S55
  • Given FWPs reliance on license revenues, will non-hunters have an equal voice in wolf management? S304
  • Both sides have been willing to listen and be open-minded on wolf issues. S302
  • Many Montanans and Americans want wolves here. S63
  • Some livestock owners favor wolves. S76
  • What is the basis for determination of optimum number of packs? S102
  • Can we find common ground between pro-wolf/anti-wolf? Find a compromise that promotes a healthy ecosystem and a healthy economy. S300
  • Please consider the word conservation Management to me means control and manipulation. Isnt it time to recognize wolves have value and are worth protecting for future generations? S159
  • Times change and ranchers must evolve just like other industries. Plan should encourage inclusive attitude. Were all a part of this and can work through it. S556
  • Wolf proponents are ignoring the reasons wolves were cut back in the 1930/40s. S603
  • FWP should look at the ecosystem as a whole and recognize individual species play a role and not isolate wolves from the picture. S115
  • I dont object to having some wolves around. Wolf populations should fall under the guise of modern wildlife management practices. Populations should be controlled to ensure ample hunting opportunities, which will ensure recruitment of new hunters. Wolf population numbers should also be controlled to protect small family ranches. There is no logical or biological reason to confer exalted status on wolf population to the exclusion of other species. S153
  • Unfunded mandate not a good thing. S139
  • If they want wolves, put them in Central Park. S751
  • Im not for the wolf, how did we get stuck with them? Shouldnt we be able to vote let people of Montana decide. If not, then we should not have to maintain. S708
  • Free shoot, shovel, and shut-up t-shirts. Its not the wolves fault. S700
  • All non-residents that have moved to Montana think wolves should be here. Should take the wolves and leave. S692
  • As a taxpayer, I am upset that we are paying to kill predators. S769
  • It prevents us from ability to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. S947
  • Look at areas where wolves and people co-exist for models of management. S858
  • What authority does Federal Fish and Wildlife Service have to mandate the existence of any animal on the state land? What would happen if we said we were going to manage our own way, with or without the USFWS? S2356
  • Wolves will have the benefit of bringing folks here to observe the wolf, tourism, and hunting. S2429
  • If the government let wolf numbers drop, why should we pay to bring them back? S1798
  • Everyone can have a voice/opinion, but those who are impacted financially should have more of a voice. S1825
  • A lot of people benefit from wolves being restored to Montana. There are legitimate costs, but we should figure out a way to spread the cost around among all who benefit. S2364
  • I want 3 good reasons what wolves are good for. And I dont want to hear that tourists like to hear them howl. S2368
  • There is difficulty in getting use days changed for outfitted activities on federal lands. S1878
  • We should have wolves in all the parks, like Central Park in New York. S1881
  • Wolves need to be seen as a wildlife species and managed in the same way as other wildlife species. S1659
  • Wolf management is a national issue and national opinion will and should be regarded. S1413
  • What does FWP consider a balance between predators and big game? S1664
  • It can be worked out, but will take everyone. S1693
  • Livestock producers should not be a scapegoat when wolves need to be controlled. S1362
  • Whats more important? Humans are dominant. Who will be here in 100 years? People or wolves. S1151
  • Tolerance is variable area to area. How do we account for that? S233
  • Were being forced to accept these wolves. S2127
  • We didnt have problems with wolves when we were allowed to shoot them. S1948

Administration and Delisting Comments

623 comments address state and federal responsibilities, the current status of wolves, their recovery, federal and state delisting processes, and the progress of planning efforts in other states.

  • Law enforcement and wolf management in Montana should be exclusively drawn up and executed by the residents of Montana. W884
  • Do not engage the services of Wildlife Services. W784
  • Wolves are a natural part of the ecosystem. They must stay listed as endangered federally and permanently protected. W785
  • Implementation of the plan should rest with MT FWP, shared with Wildlife Services. Wolves should be managed by wildlife professionals. Montana Department of Livestock should have no or very limited involvement. W807
  • The early stages of state management will likely be the most difficult. We encourage you to include a provision for a state wolf management advisory council to continue to identify, discuss, and discern management goals, conflict resolutions and public education opportunities. W1161
  • Please do not turn over wolf management to the state of Montana. These special interest groups corrupt elected officials from protecting wolves and the environment. W819
  • Montana Department of Livestock should never be allowed to control wolves in Montana. Once the wolves are no longer classified, their care should be put under the care of FWP. W821
  • I support the continued protection of wolves. I do not support efforts to de-list the wolf from the endangered species protection it deserves. W716
  • Delist the wolf. This will benefit the wolf and the citizens of Montana by not dragging the process out and fighting with other agencies. W1137
  • I believe that it is in the best interest of the wolves, the people of Montana, and the large game population to leave this matter in the hands of the state. W555
  • Concerned that this agency (FWP) will simply promote the slaughter of wolves. W841
  • Montana should not be committed to recovering wolves. Montana would provide the prey base forever more and the cost of management would further burden our state. W835
  • Important for FWP to work collaboratively to developing and implementing the wolf program. W119
  • Please dont turn over wolf management to the State of Montana. Predators such as wolves should remain protected. W600
  • Glad State of Montana will have control over management and not the feds. No use for wolves in MT. Let them stay in Canada and Alaska. W1098
  • The USFWS brought in the wolves so they should manage them. W930
  • It is extremely important that Montana develop a careful plan to manage wolves after delisting so that a healthy wolf population will exist into the future. W651
  • I am concerned that wolves will never be delisted. W958
  • Continue the citizen advisory council with the majority of members on the council being active big game hunters. W1155
  • My concern is that Wildlife Services is going to be responsible for handling of problem wolves. Put into the plan a provision where Wildlife Services it not directly responsible for making the decision if lethal control is used. W1085
  • I do think that FWP can do a good job of managing the wolf in our state as long as they keep good science as the management tool of choice and the agency does not succumb to political whim. W643
  • Do not allow FWP to become Fish, Wolf and Parks. W521
  • We support the idea that the wolf should be delisted and managed as a game species. We believe this is a states right issue and that MFWP is the agency with jurisdiction. W1140
  • Concerned that delisting is premature at this time. W1182
  • I believe that some thought should be given to greater coordination with the states of Idaho and Wyoming. All three states should work together to ensure that wolf numbers remain healthy and well beyond levels that would trigger a debate over relisting. W1149
  • I hope that the wolf will be delisted and that we will be allowed to shoot them. It is only a matter of time before all the elk are eaten. The balance that environmentalists are trying to accomplish will be totally out of whack in favor of the wolf. W942
  • I look forward to delisting of the wolf only if the state of Montana can manage them like they do other predators. W642
  • There should be a high priority, urgency, to get a management plan in place. S17
  • How will the wolf management plan relate to other wildlife management plans? S22
  •  I support the management planning document that the council has prepared. Do not want to see a no action option be the one adopted. S403
  • Leave it up to the Federal Government as our only answer to change the Endangered Species Act. We dont need wolves. S481
  • Id like to see this wolf management plan implemented with existing FWP personnel without hiring a whole new cadre of bureaucrats. S322
  • Maybe need more staff to manage wolves in the future and where will the money come from? Number of wolves is increasing so need more staff and time to manage for wolves. S381
  • We must convince all federal agencies involved to let Montana manage wolves. S23
  • As soon as the state can take over management, it should do so the sooner, the better. S320
  • Why does Montana FWP want to manage wolves instead of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? S316
  • Find a way to balance the various concerns so that everyone that comes to the table gets their concerns heard and considered. S570
  • What is the benefit of the state of Montana taking on wolf management? Why would we do this? S552
  • Fear of the unknown we are in the petri dish. S549
  • Do not take on a management plan. Let the USFWS live with its mistake. Then maybe we can get the ESA changed. S483
  • Local people will have more authority to make decisions. S533
  • Critical that we have clear guidelines on when ranchers can kill problem wolves. S312
  • Tough laws for illegal killing of wolves. S508
  • Concern that delisting process will take longer than anticipated. Fear of lawsuits. S275
  • What happens if the population falls below acceptable levels? How does re-listing occur? S272
  • Can we find common ground between pro-wolf/anti-wolf? Find a compromise that promotes a healthy ecosystem and a healthy economy.
  • FWP should use data they gather to make decisions on wolves. S128
  • Given FWP reliance on license revenues, will non-hunters have an equal voice in wolf management? S304
  • What control do we have over wolves now? Ted Turner can release wolves anyplace without supervision. S647
  • Wolves cannot be managed and the management plan cannot work. S775
  • Wolves will be managed by courts despite best intentions. S666
  • Does the state of Montana have the guts to stick with the program of hunting or trapping of wolves or will it capitulate to environmentalist extremists like it did with buffalo and grizzly. S640
  • Federal government dropped a hot potato. Suits to follow and we will get the bill. Let the Federal government keep wolves. S644
  • The big issue is the financial impact to FWP and the state of Montana. Are we willing to commit the resources to do the job? And how are those resources going to be raised? S940
  • Penalties need to be set high enough to deter illegal wolf killing. S874
  • Relating to managing a wild animal. Using the wolf as a pawn in political exploitation and whim should not be tolerated. Either theyre allowed to live wild with dignity or let the USFWS keep at it. State politics do not belong around the neck of a wolf. S1073
  • In the development of the wolf program, there should be strong involvement by landowners and also the landowners should be involved in the actual management. S1885
  • If and when wolves are delisted, who is going to assume responsibility for livestock depredations? Will it be the state since it will be their baby then? S2366
  • Coordinate Montanas plan with adjacent states and provinces and Federal government. S2379
  • FWP makes its money selling elk. Wolves live on elk. Is there a conflict of interest? S2413
  • If the state of Montana isnt going to compensate for losses, then how will they ensure someone will? S2442
  • Will Montana delist if Wyoming and Idaho dont have plans? S2498
  • FWP needs to think about funding. Need to see what will be dropped in order to pick up wolves. S1836
  • Compensation needs to be addressed and a plan to compensate for losses needs to be included in the management. S1864
  • FWP should lobby those out of state or those in city areas about the importance of having a plan. S1875
  • You have to be conscious of the human dimension of wolf management, not just the biological part livestock reimbursement, hunting, education, law enforcement if there is poaching of wolves. Its really people who are going to make it succeed or fail. S1368
  • Plan built in with some politic-proof mechanism to protect and stabilize the plan as administrations change. S1910
  • How are the different states going to work out the connectivity requirement? S1890
  • Let biology be a deciding factor, not personal opinions/politics/pressure. S1656
  • Should Montana have to wait for Idaho and Wyoming and visa versa to implement their plans? S1916
  • Feds have a problem and they want to get rid of it. S1142
  • How will the kill permit system work? Have to drive to town to get it? S1140
  • Flexibility means the ability to bring resources to the conflicts quickly, effectively, and efficiently. S206
  • Once we get the plan adopted and approved, how often will we be able to update and review the plan? S228
  • Will the Feds have to be involved if the plan has been adopted and approved? S230
  • Dont want Federal govt to dictate to the state of Montana. S2059
  • State needs to have effective enforcement to deter citizens from taking things into their own hands should be a healthy fine. S2271
  • Is it possible to delist species and the Feds still do the management? S2295
  • Is FWP mission of game management going to change because of the new wolf management? S2172
  • Can I protect my personal property without doing jail time or being fined? S2017
  • Let Fish and Game (state) stay out of it because theyll screw it up. S1178
  • To what extent are the 3 states linked and management coordinated? Question if states are really linked. S1441
  • Mechanism to change the plan as we learn. S1452
  • Delist the wolf so we can manage them better. S1175
  • Will the respective states make any attempt to communicate and/or cooperatively manage wolves with Indian tribes? S1505
  • There should be no killing of wolves, whether by state or federal government officials or private hunters or trappers. W802
  • Support the recommendation to engage an advisory citizen/s group to collaborate, and any citizens group must also represent the long term national interest and not just local special interest groups. W1142
  • Please take over the wolf management to ensure continued big game hunting in the future. W554
  • While we recognize the agencys existing wildlife biologists may need additional support in some areas of the state, 4.3 additional FTE is not warranted. We do not want to create wolf biologists to manage a single species. We feel strongly the agency needs to focus on multi-species management. Likewise, we see absolutely no justification for 2.5 additional enforcement staff. We cannot lend our support to a plan with this level of financial commitment until we know who is going to foot the bill. W1144
  • I dont think you are the ones who should be working on this problem. The project was done by Federal agencies they are the ones who should be paying for the problem. W1004
  • Get funding from the Federal government. Dont take responsibility. W1017
  • It is imperative that the USFWS and MFWP do everything in their power to educate the public about the plan and its benefits for all Montana. The wolf conservation and management plan is being put forward on good faith as a reasonable alternative to the current avenue of action. This view must be relayed to the public positively. W1185
  • State, federal and private parties should work together, utilizing adaptive management. W1016
  • Wolf should be taken off the endangered species list. W846
  • Wolves must be managed by Montana and not Federal Government. W613
  • Additional FWP personnel should be responsible for regular assistance to livestock producers who use wolf trafficked areas. W564
  • Issue must not be subject to political whims of the state or federal government. I do not trust either to protect the wolves. W607
  • Triple the number of game wardens in western Montana. Enforce flagrant and or chronic violations with severe penalties which in turn could partially fund this item. W929
  • In adaptive management, all the stakeholders should have an equal voice; any decisions should involve hunting, ranching, and property rights groups with an equal voice. Only local, state stakeholders are allowed a voice in the Montana wolf management plan. W1178
  • Be sure all the requirements of ESA are taken into account. W559
  • I doubt that an agency funded by sportsman dollars should oversee the wolf program. W1089
  • As a repeat recreational visitor to Montana, I am requesting that the state of Montana take over the wolf management project. I believe that the residents and visitors of Montana, as well as the wolves, would be best served by and receive greater benefit with the management of wolves being in the hands of the government of the state of Montana, rather than the federal government. W808

Predator and Prey Relationships Comments

501 comments address wolf impacts on Montana game populations and how wolves, game and other wildlife will be managed, and Montanas hunting heritage.

  • Claims that wolves will destroy all wild ungulate populations are unfounded. If wolves had been able to decimate their prey, elk and deer wouldve been extinct before Columbus landed in America. W1161
  • Wolves are compatible with healthy prey populations; wolf numbers are self-regulating and do not need to be artificially reduced by people for prey populations to thrive. W1158
  • Maintain Montanas big game populations and hunting opportunities. S551
  • Look at the devastation of the elk and deer herds. Wolf Numbers need to be controlled. W969
  • These wolves need to go. Wolves will greatly reduce wildlife numbers and I would be happier to see more wildlife. W1190
  • Help to get rid of the wolves. They kill whatever they can. W1090
  • Consider the future of Montana sportsmen. My main concern is that with wolves, there will not be any game to hunt in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Our forefathers knew best. W1002
  • I fear that well be told that well need to stop our time-honored tradition of hunting so there is enough game to feed the predators. W535
  • What is the present and future impact of wolves on moose and wild sheep? W1188
  • Between the wolves, coyotes, cougar, and bear, there wont be much left to hunt. W1083
  • No wolves. Theyre killing too much game. W1031
  • Wolves may maintain on deer, elk, and beavers and decimate moose and big horns. W1192
  • You need good information on how the increased number of wolves integrated with existing populations of bear and mountain lion and what effects this will have on big game populations. W515.
  • Do not support harvesting of wolves for the purpose of providing a harvestable surplus of ungulates. W1142
  • With chronic wasting disease a potential disaster for hunters, the ability of wolves to pick out and kill the weakest members of the herd could be very valuable. W775
  • The elk population appears to be thriving in our area, not being destroyed as some big game groups would lead us to believe. There is a need for balance and the wolves can help provide this. Do remember those wolves were here with the elk long before we ever came to Montana to build fences and block the range. All existed together just fine. We seem to be the ones to have thrown the balance out of place. We also have the ability to make it right. W800.

Funding Comments

447 comments address wolf management costs and the source of funding.

  • State should consider adequate funding as a component of the plan (federal, state, private, license places etc. S369
  • Concern among sportsmen that license dollars should not be used if they are shut out of a role in wolf management program. S354
  • All funding should be federal money. S1794
  • Need to find a way to get the people that want wolves to finance the management of them. S2494
  • Recognize the need for secure, long-term funding to address the unique challenges associated with the conservation and management techniques and sustaining an ecologically sound plan and recognizes the wolf as a species of national interest. W1142
  • The tri-state area encompassing Montana, Idaho, Wyoming should not alone incur the costs of managing wolves. W1144.
  • It is unconstitutional for the FWP to take our monies for wolf efforts when our money works to sustain our huntable big game. Let the greenies pay. W546
  • We believe that if wolf management is thoroughly integrated with the management of Montanas other large carnivores, the cost would be lessened. Large parts of the budget are costs associated with demands by livestock producers and outfitters that wolves be intensively monitored and managed and not by any intrinsic needs of the species. We bring this up because these special interest groups point to the cost of intensively managing wolves as cost that should not be born by the state, yet the extreme cost would not be incurred were it not for them. W1181
  • Concern is that too many strings will come with the money to manage wolves. W1027
  • Hunters license fees obligate MDFWP to represent the views and preferences of hunters. W1155
  • The states in cooperation with the federal government need to move to establish the National Management Trust. Similar use should be made of state funds derived from CARA. W944

Livestock Comments

414 comments adresss Montana's livestock industry and its importance and responsibilities; and government and private citizen actions when wolves kill livestock.

  • When big game become scarce, wolves will depredate more livestock. S83
  • Control measures should be selective against the offending wolves only. W793
  • Ranchers should act and make good faith effort to live with wolves just like they do with other animals. S557
  • How do we deal with repeat wolf offenders? Do we allow any second chances? S497
  • Recognize small family ranch concerns; FWP should work with ranches to reduce conflicts before they happen. S110
  • Livestock growers who are using public land need to be required to improve their management in order to reduce predation of their livestock and that should come first before killing the wolf is considered. S632
  • We need to be able to protect our property. S725
  • We need the ranchers around. S801
  • In cases of livestock depredation, non-lethal means should be considered first. S284
  • What about indirect losses to livestock to wolves? Abortions in cattle, livestock that cant be confirmed, fence damage from running cattle. It will take people to patrol livestock in pastures. S421
  • Livestock owners need to be able to respond to wolf depredation. S325.
  • Its critical that we have clear guidelines on when ranchers can kill problem wolves. S312
  • Ranchers must be allowed to shoot wolves at their discretion. S494
  • Landowners should be given kill permits like Montanas game damage program. S929
  • Need to continue to provide adequate predator control and not restrain it because of the wolf. S1056
  • 24 hour guards on a herd is added cost, time and worry. S988
  • Needs to be a way that local law enforcement can react immediately to problems with wolves (killing and harassing livestock) without waiting for other agency approval. S859
  • Wildlife Services should use the most effective means to control a depredation problem the first time it occurs. No relocation or aversive conditioning. S970
  • A benefit of Delisting will be that depredation complaints will be investigated by FWP. Common sense should guide dealing with depredation issues and property loss. Respond as soon as possible to the conflict/depredation problem or area. S2371
  • Should we have to wait until wolves are chewing on our livestock before we can shoot? S2453
  • What is going to be considered wolf harassment in regard to livestock? S2500
  • Proactive means to separate wolves and livestock. Help with livestock herding and avoidance of wolves to make it easier for landowners to tolerate wolves. S2484
  • Rubber bullets etc. should be readily available to livestock producers. S1824
  • Studies show that actual losses of livestock are higher than whats reported. S1255
  • Compensation program could incorporate best management practices like dogs and other non-lethal means. S127
  • Ranchers will have to modify their operations, especially during calving in March-May. S1115
  • Timely response to problems especially in agricultural communities. S2102
  • How do you prove a specific predator was involved in predation? S2016
  • How do we evaluate which wolf or animal in the pack actually killed the animal? S2113
  • Livestock owners should be allowed to defend their property without fear of criminal penalties. S1754
  • How does the wolf compare to mountain lions with respect to livestock? S1723
  • I wonder what rights wardens have with regards to wolves around livestock? S1612
  • Should be the private landowners decision to say wolf control action or no action if there is a depredation incident on their land. S1608
  • Ranchers should check on their livestock at least once a week. Should not assume that all losses are due to wolves. S2607
  • What is the responsibility of the rancher or farmer to protect their livestock? S1721
  • Continue research on deterrents to depredation. S2210
  • Strongly oppose proposed provisions that would allow private citizens to kill wolves suspected of depredation on livestock. Onus should be placed on humans to reduce the possibility of conflicts. W1150
  • Livestock losses are a part of doing business near public land. No wolves should be killed because they may be threatening livestock. W788
  • Federal predator officers (govt trappers) should be instructed to handle wolf predation the same as they handle coyote depredation. W885
  • Ranchers should be allowed to shoot wolves pursuing livestock on private land. W1190
  • Greater tolerance for predators such as wolves on public land even if they are killing livestock. Public lands are just that public! Livestock users using public land should not expect to have a great deal of predator removal flexibility. W1153
  • Permits to kill wolf should be provided to ranchers/landowners to protect their livestock. Primary management tools should go to the hands of those affected landowners and ranchers. W1099
  • Stewardship methods that reduce conflicts should be implemented before lethal control measures. FWP has a valuable role to help prevent and resolve livestock conflicts with wolves and other predators. It is appropriate for them to respond to conflicts as well as USDA Wildlife Services. FWP field operatives are in the most effective position to address these problems. W1158
  • I would support the ability of livestock producers to kill wolves in the act of attacking, injuring or killing their lawfully present livestock on public lands. No such ability should exist for wolves threatening to kill unless the meaning of the provision can be made clear. Allowing non-lethal harassment without a permit when wolves are disrupting or in close proximity to livestock is so vague and arbitrary as to invite all manner of abuse. W944
  • Ranchers will have more responsibility to manage wolves than most and they will have to make adjustments to their operations which will cost money. The money of having wolves around (tourism, small business) goes elsewhere, but landowners and ranchers have the potential economic liability but we expect the ag interests to carry the financial liability. Create a baseline of losses-using records and consider compensation in greater than normal/average losses. People with the vested interests all need to be a part of the solution. W1193
  • With the large number of wolves, you make ranchers use the shovel and shut up method. W530
  • The economic problems that wolves might cause due to livestock depredation are slim compared to losses that ranchers experience for other reasons. W645
  • Humans create conflicts. Since the greatest conflicts exist with livestock producers, any wolf restoration plan should discuss and advocate animal husbandry practices that reduce wolf-livestock conflicts. This is no different than current requirements that seek to minimize conflicts with grizzly bears such as requiring proper garbage disposal and care of food. Strategies include use of shepards and guard dogs, removal and disposal of carcasses. Avoidance by ranchers and their livestock of high wolf use areas, particularly known denning sites, rendezvous areas, and so forth. W 1159

Wolf Habitat, Connections, and Land Management Comments

388 comments address the need for wolves to move freely through Montana, question how and where this will be accomplished, and how motorized travel and land use will be affected.

  • One needs to realize that Montanas agricultural industry cannot afford any more additional costs and continue to be the states leading industry. If the costs are too great, forcing producers out of business, critical wolf habitat relative to their migration corridors may be diminished or lost as we lose our open space to subdivisions. FWP needs to be reminded that it is statutorily authorized to manage wildlife and that their habitat management authority is quite limited. Some recognition of the agencys plans to work with private landowners on habitat issues might be helpful. W1144
  • We must protect and manage our existing open space. We must manage development such that we dont create further loss of habitat for both humans and wildlife. W824
  • What incentives encourage people to have (tolerate) wolves on private land? S245
  • What does FWP plan do about public land activity impacting private land and its wildlife (wolves)? S264
  • Protect key areas of wolf habitat during key seasons. W1158
  • Limit the number of wolves per year per area explain to me why we need more than 15 packs at any time in all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. W1192
  • Wolf range and habitat is currently restricted by roads and road-related development. Wildlife managers should provide the means for wolves to pioneer habitat outside of these paved barriers. States could devise standards for highway permeability which could be retrofitted into existing roads and designed into future highway projects. W1160
  • Since Montana hosts all of the linkage zones which would make it possible for wolves to move between Canada and Wyoming, the state bears a special responsibility to ensure that the necessary linkages are designated prior to delisting and maintained afterward. W944
  • Maintain large, wild areas where wolves and their natural prey are secure from excessive disturbance by people. W866
  • Would like to see provisions for protection from disturbance of denning areas on public lands. S402
  • Restore roaded areas to densities at or below 0.9 miles per square mile. S285
  • Would like to see wolf groups start their own habitat funding program. S294
  • We need the ranchers around. S801
  • It seems like the corridor idea isnt necessary. S1383
  • Concern that state management will affect road closures and logging. Are we going to close more roads? S2539
  • Lines of connectivity should include Canada, especially for northern packs. S2226
  • Connectivity idea is a scheme to lock up the land and remove human activities on it. W1070

Compensation Comments

287 comments address payments to livestock producers and others who experience wolf depredation losses, and the funding and administration of a compensation program.

  • Are reimbursing groups willing to establish deep pocket, long-term trust funds to cover predation losses as part of management plan? If not, who will? Not the taxpayer or loss sustainee. S345
  • At what level will liability, reimbursement cease? S344
  • Better defined compensation plan for ranchers who loose livestock. S268
  • Compensation for livestock losses and also for game animals. Hunters are still paying for wolf introduction. Who administers the compensation? Will private compensation continue? Who determines the compensation criteria? S493
  • Should not be any compensation because there is no way to effectively fund it. S473
  • Recompense livestock owners for losses require livestock owners to take proactive management measures before killing wolves. Put the onus on livestock owners first. S833
  • The presence of wolves should be considered in the cost of doing business wolves were here prior to livestock. S850
  • If a wolf eats a pet, the owner should be reimbursed. S1803
  • Is livestock compensation tied to landowners taking specific actions? It should be. S2195
  • Wolves are a part of the cost of doing business, state should not compensate for wolf losses; state doesnt compensate for other types of losses. S1476
  • Cattle ranchers should be reimbursed for cattle killed on their property, but not for cattle killed on public lands. W683
  • It seems highly irresponsible not to employ preventive methods and best management practices and still expect compensation for losses and the continual lethal removal of wolves. W1142
  • Acknowledge that not all livestock losses due to wolves are known, that there are indirect costs associated with wolves other than livestock killed by wolves and that small losses industry wide can be significant losses for an individual rancher who suffers them. Wolves are not proving to be a major threat to the livestock industry. We can figure out how to compensate for losses that affect some individuals. W1158
  • Every wolf pack that has come into contact with domestic livestock has resulted in killing and maiming. Compensation is not the answer to accepting these livestock losses. W835
  • A compensation program should be implemented for losses caused by all carnivores or none. W1181
  • Payment of proven damages to ranchers is reasonable. W607
  • I also feel that ranchers need to be more assured that their losses will be compensated both quickly and fairly and at a reasonable market price. W499
  • Concern with how compensation is going to be provided for livestock losses. This includes concerns about the identification of what losses are. Now there are 5-7 losses for everyone that are identified and compensated for. S888

Economics/Livelihoods Comments

227 comments address the economic costs and benefits of wolves in Montana, including their effect on livelihoods, tourism, and fiscal impacts to FWP.

  • Would like to see a cost/benefit analysis of wolf management program. S584
  • Generous populations of wolves benefit not only natural systems, but also the economy. S529
  • Loss to wolves can easily put some landowners out of business. S336
  • Can FWP assess and tap into economic benefits of wolf presence in tourism/wildlife viewing. S305
  • Overpopulation of wolves will lead to under population of deer and elk and this negatively affects our economy. S326
  • Wolves are a deficit to our economy at a time when the economy is hurting. S861
  • A lot of people benefit from wolves being restored to Montana. There are legitimate costs, but we should figure out a way to spread the cost around among all who benefit. S2364.
  • Primary concern should be the economic impacts to livestock, ranching, and outfitters. S1846
  • We might loose revenue from hunting licenses if the primary big game animals become scarce. S2671
  • When wolves start taking away all livelihoods, it is going too far. S1877
  • Local economies, recreation and wildlife observation, particularly by out of state visitors contributes balance between local ranchers who have a need to use public lands for grazing and the rest of the US populace who also own those lands and wish to see wildlife. W782
  • The impact wolves have on the livelihoods of our ranchers, outfitters, and hunters. W617
  • How do wolves affect the economics of communities near national parks? W858
  • Our economy sucks, and the outfitters will suffer. W489
  • How will the state of Montana replace the economic loss, retail sales decreases, and job losses if we dont control the impact of wolf predation on huntable game? W553
  • As a rancher and a big game outfitter, I see the possibility of the wolf running me out of both of these businesses. W983
  • Diversity is the key to our economy. We need to be better stewards of the land and all life that lives on it. W667.

Information/Education and Public Outreach Comments

208 comments address the need for FWP to develop information and education techniques and programs to keep Montanans informed about wolf conservation and management, including human safety and technical assistance for landowners and other rural residents.

  • An annual report should be made available that provides numbers and distribution of wolves. S373
  • Necessary that stock growers are notified when wolves are near their ranch, or spotted in their range areas. W1146
  • Technical assistance is needed for people who live, work or play in occupied wolf habitat. S2386
  • Develop an education program for the population of humans living in and around wolf habitat on how to safeguard themselves and their personal property. W798
  • Education programs aimed at people moving into the urban/wildlife interface should be instituted.
  • Homeowners should be taught what wildlife frequents their home site and how to manage their property to avoid conflicts, but they should also be taught that it is their responsibility as Montana citizens to do so. This should not focus on just wolves, but on all wildlife. W1181
  • FWP should be doing more to get the facts out about wolves and other predators, to counter hysteria and ignorance. Hunter education manuals and classes should include factual materials. W861
  • Budget for at least one full time carnivore education and restoration specialist for each of the recovery areas. W944
  • FWP should make a serious commitment to education, training, and open fact sharing of means to avoid conflict among those who live, work and recreate in areas where wolves are likely to reside. Rapid and open reporting of incidents involving wolves, as well as research findings. S564
  • There should be strong education, not just about what people can do but also about what is myth, paranoia, simply unknown or true. S559
  • We need to educate the public of the long-term consequences of feeding wolves in Yellowstone. S388
  • An annual report should be made available that provides numbers and distribution of wolves. S373
  • Public needs to be educated that the efforts and funding of hunters provided the large prey base that has allowed wolf introduction to be successful. S391
  • Why doesnt FWP address the false advertising being putout? People think wolves are beautiful animals no information about how they kill and live, the affect they have on other predators when wolf moves in they eat everything. S720
  • Hire private citizens to be impartial information on wolves. S1835
  • Need education, pros and cons, to address all sides. S1786
  • We need timely notification to livestock producers when wolves in the area. S2440
  • Once wolf plan is implemented, is state going to monitor public attitudes? S1895
  • To be successful, plan must have public support; education is a major contributor to public support; there is going to be a certain amount of paranoia about decimation of big game populations. S1740
  • When hunting occurs, what education will be provided regarding identification (coyotes etc.) S1458
  • Follow up with reported sightings in a new area. S2645
  • Only way to overcome anxiety is to educate. The more you know, the less you fear. Heavy duty education programs could be direct route to the end of the controversy. W796
  • Support the plans proposed public education campaign to teach Montana residents about how to reduce potential wolf-human conflicts. W1150
  • Develop a thorough hunter education program and enforcement of appropriate hunting regulations. Also develop an education program for the population of humans living in and around wolf habitat on how to safeguard themselves and personal property. W798
  • FWP should be doing a much better job of educating the public. Educate people about wild wolf behavior and the importance of human conscientiousness to reduce the potential of wolf habituation to humans. W623
  • The MFWP must tell the public what wolves really kill throughout the year, especially during winter and the impact on the young of the year. W1192
  • We suggest more education to the public about wolves or have certain people raise wolf pups licensed of course to set out and educate a less knowing public of this creature. Education is the main survival tool for this animal to co-exist in mans world. W943
  • Be proactive; outreach efforts to landowners ahead of time. W1193
  • Need to have a plan to get ahead of the emotion of the issue of hunting wolves to control their numbers by educating the public in general to the need. W553
  • Education programs for the public using scientifically based, factual information. W1155

Human Safety Comments

162 comments address concerns Montanans have for the safety of their children, their pets, and their livestock.

  • Best method to address the perceived threat wolves pose to human safety is information and education. W1158
  • Pet owners in wolf country have a personal responsibility to have their animals in sight and voice control at all times and it is not the governments job to protect their dogs. W944
  • Provisions must be made to allow landowners to protect their animals (including domestic pets and their families from danger or harassment from wolves). W636
  • People should be allowed to shoot wolves in protection of life and property. W860
  • Manage wolves to they adapt to fear man in every situation. S1391
  • We have the right to protect our property and life and limb. S12
  • Concern over safety issue while backpacking or camping. S1884
  • Question whether or not wolves are truly a danger to humans or not. S1407
  • Be careful where we have wolves. Keep them out of residential areas. S764

Monitoring Comments

151 comments address how closely wildlife managers will keep tabs on wolf populations, pack sizes, and pack locations and the status of prey populations.

  • How will you keep track of numbers of wolves when you cant count them? S1968
  • Monitoring should be done by a non-biased group. S131
  • Support volunteer carnivore survey program. W1142
  • Make sure we know how many wolves are out there and where they are. S766
  • Wolf surveys need to be accurate. We need various tools to keep track of wolf numbers. S1857
  • A more timely monitoring of wolves in the area for the awareness of livestock producers. S2504
  • What population monitoring protocols will be used and how fast can they detect changes in wolf numbers? S1360
  • How do we count boundary-crossing packs state to state. USA to Canada, and YellowstoneNational Park to Montana? S208
  • How do you accurately census wolves? S2158
  • Hunter/recreationists should report sightings, check out tracks etc; its more cost effective than aerial surveys. S2278
  • Once wolves are established, get rid of the radio-collars. We dont know where all the deer/elk are all the time. S1488
  • Plan for public assistance to help monitor wolf packs. S1437
  • What about DNA? S2712
  • Wolves cannot be managed by the number of packs. Individual counts are the only logical way to keep track of how many wolves we have now. W935
  • Do not spend untold thousands of dollars monitoring and studying wolves. W859
  • Feds or the greens should fully fund an extensive monitoring program for the first five years. After that time, incidental monitoring and observation by FWP personnel during conduct of other duties would suffice. W1071
  • Wolves need to be managed the same way that we manage other big game species. That is, numbers need to be constantly monitored so that all species remain in balance in the range that they reside in. W894
  • Plan should include allocation of funds and resources necessary to effectively monitor the Montana wolf populations. W1078

Other Wildlife Comments

80 comments generally address concerns about non-ungulate wildlife species (e.g. listed species, other carnivores).

  • How many large predators overall? One issue that is not addressed adequately in the Plan is how wolf management fits into overall management of large predators, and how wolf management decisions will relate both to large predator impact and to management prerogatives related to other large predators. W1168
  • Protecting wolf habitat will also protect other species. W620
  • These wolves need to go. Wolves will greatly reduce wildlife numbers and I would be happier to see more wildlife. Wildlife should be protected from people and wolves during late winter months. Wolves should be removed that may kill or harass endangered species like trumpeter swans. W1190
  • Impacts of funding wolves needs to address how this will impact non-game and other endangered species. W521
  • Mange and possibly other canine diseases in fox and coyote could spread to wolves. Has disease issue been taken into account when the minimum pack levels are set? W585
  • Wolves are an important link in the food chain and are vital to a well-balanced, healthy, and normal ecosystem. W586
  • The carcasses of wolf-killed ungulates also support a number of other wildlife species including eagles, wolverine, bears, and a wide variety of smaller birds and mammals. W1161
  • Feel that mountain lions have been impacted by wolves. S1322
  • What about sage grouse? S1143
  • How are we going to determine the impact on other endangered species such as grizzly bears? S2170
  • Manage all predators in the same plan or at least consider all predators when making this plan. S1216
  • Wolves eat beavers. FWP needs to collect data on beavers. S1834

Private Property Comments

77 comments generally capture the sentiment of private property rights in regards to wolf presence on private property, protection of private property etc. Some comments assert landowners right to allow wolves on their private property. Other comments assert landowners right to control or manage wolves on their private property.

  • Livestock producers need greater flexibility in resolving wolf conflict situations. Additional flexibility should include authority to protect private property on public, as well as mixed land ownership, and private lands. W1144.
  • The wolf is a truly majestic animal and Im glad they are here. I enjoy seeing them on my ranch in the lower Ninemile Valley. W594
  • Private landowners need to be able to deal with wolves as they do other predators. W1152
  • Private landowners or their agents should be given the right to shoot on sight any wolf on their private land. W1071
  • The idea put forth that wolves should have a free roaming corridor from Wyoming to Canada really bothers me. It sounds like it could be infringing on private property rights. W1026
  • We own a ranch in the Madison Valley. We are privileged enough to have a large number of elk winter on our property. Along with these beautiful animals, we have now been blessed with the addition of a pack of wolves. All are co-existing just fine. W800
  • Private property rights should not be compromised to accomplish the proliferation of wolves. S1754
  • Should be the private landowners decision to say action or no action if there is a depredation on their land if loss is confirmed as a wolf. S1608
  • What rights will landowners have to respond to wolf depredation and how is that linked to compensation? S1450

Hybrids Comments

22 comments generally address concerns about the degree of regulatory oversight by FWP of captives and wolf-dog hybrids; whether these animals could be released into the wild; no comments were received in support of minimal regulation of captives and hybrids all favored increased regulation.

  • Wolf-dog hybrids can be really dangerous and make people fear wolves. Prevention of such interbreeding should be prominent in your public education efforts. W654
  • Montana plan should include a provision to outlaw the release of captive wolves and wolf-dog hybrids and to discourage the ownership of such animals. W801
  • Hybrids should be removed from the wild. W1190
  • The state must move immediately to ban the keeping of wolves and wolf-dog hybrids. W944
  • Private citizens should be prohibited from capturing wild wolves and maintaining them in captivity. W1181
  • Should be strict and high fines for people who raise wolves and turn them loose. Include cross-breeding with dogs, too. S2667

Wildlife Management Areas Comments

13 comments generally address wolf presence on FWP Wildlife Management Areas.

  • What can be done to control wolves that get on our game ranges we have spent a lot of money on game ranges and without them, big game will be on private land. S714
  • For more than 100 years, sportsmen have contributed to habitat programs to create a favorable environment that was sold to us as a benefit to our wildlife management areas. For habitat that ultimately improved hunting conditions that increased the herd sizes, this shouldnt be wiped out to create a park-like environment. S625.
  • The report has totally neglected the bad impacts wolves will have on ungulate and beaver populations, the effect on established big game winter ranges and the problems wolves will cause for hunters. W1070
  • WMAs were paid for with sportsmen dollars, no predation by wolves should be allowed. W992
  • Anti-hunting groups do not contribute a dime to purchase wildlife habitat in Montana. They do however, help wealth, out of state landowners to privatize Montanas wildlife and lock up public access to public land. None contribute a dime to purchase elk winter range, but want wolves on our elk winter ranges. W1168

July 11, 2002 Scoping comment summary.doc

Questions (368)

The format of the community work sessions was not designed to answer questions or to provide much specific information on what would be in Montanas plan. Rather it was designed primarily for FWP to gather information. Nonetheless, this key word captures information that is sought by the public and can also be a measure of whats on their mind. This key word captures questions for which there may be factual answers, questions which are rhetorical in nature, and questions whose answers are in the process of being developed under the different alternatives of the EIS. The comments that were key worded as Question were sorted a second time according to the same key words to assess ranking and to more effectively target future FWP public outreach efforts to these specific information needs. Clearly, many questions are beyond the scope of the EIS, beyond the jurisdiction of FWP authorities, or a matter that lies in the eye of the beholder.

  • Examples of Factual: What happens if all three states dont come up with a plan? How many packs are there in Montana? Are there any man-made barriers to dispersal?
  • Examples of Rhetorical: I'm not for the wolf how did we get stuck with them? Shouldnt we be able to vote and let the people of Montana decide? If the government let wolf numbers drop, why should we pay to bring them back? Why were wolves reintroduced anyway they were already here?
  • Examples of Developing Answers through the Alternatives: What incentives does a landowner have to allow FWP to manage predators on private land? What is the ultimate goal for numbers of wolves in Montana? What will FWP do if game populations go down? How will FWP determine population numbers once wolves are delisted?

Frequency of the second sort of Questions by key word indicates the following: Administration 92; Wolf Management 50; Wolf Numbers 44; Social Factors 39; Prey Populations 31; Funding 26; Human Safety 21; Compensation 14; Wolf Distribution 13; Livestock 13; Monitoring 11; Information/Education 8; Wolf Habitat/Land Management 7; Economics 6; Hybrids 3; Other Wildlife 2; WMAs 0; Private Property 0 (NOTE: this will not sum to 368 because Questions could sort out on more than one key word if the comment raised more than one issue).