Montana's Wolf Management Advisory Council met in Helena recently to continue its work to develop a wolf management plan for Montana.
The 12-member citizen's panel discussed a series of broad topics to address wolf management policies that would be "socially acceptable, biologically possible and economically feasible, while maintaining flexibility of management options." The committee was appointed by Governor Marc Racicot to advise Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on the development of a wolf management plan in anticipation of the wolf's eventual delisting under the federal Endangered Species Act.
"The complexities of wolf management are beginning to emerge and the committee can see that it has a very daunting task to accomplish," said Chase Hibbard, the chairman of the Wolf Management Advisory Council. "We're making progress and we all recognize that these issues demand very careful consideration and time to examine the consequences of each of our decisions."
At Tuesday's meeting, the committee agreed that a wolf management plan should be proactive to prevent problems, reactive in response to problems, protective of wolves, and protective of property and public safety.
Hibbard said the council decided at and earlier meeting that its Montana wolf management plan recommendations must address: 1) maintaining viable wolf populations; 2) maintaining acceptable wildlife populations; and 3) compensation, control and mitigation. Over the course of its deliberations, the council will address funding; monitoring; interaction and coordination of management among the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming; the tribe and national parks; legislative issues; and education and outreach.
The council's next meeting is set for Sept. 6 in Helena. Questions can be addressed to Glenn Erickson, Wildlife Division, Helena, (406) 444-2612.