March 24, 2023

Gov. Freudenthal Won't Preside Over Destruction Of State's Elk Herd

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In the ongoing endless debate about the future de-listing of the gray wolf in Wyoming, Governor Dave Freudenthal last week declared he wasn’t prepared to sit idly by and do nothing while the state’s elk herd continues to be destroyed by wolves.

“If they retain the view that, no matter what we do, they’re not going to let us manage wolves for wildlife until after all the litigation around delisting is done, it’s just not going to happen,” Freudenthal said. “Because essentially, that’s kind of a death knell for some of the elk herds. Essentially that could be 2011 or 2012 by the time you get through with all that.”

“Frankly, if that remains their position, this thing isn’t going anywhere,” Freudenthal said of the federal proposal. “So we continue to negotiate with them, talk to them.”

There are rumors floating about, tempers flaring and an obvious sign of impatience growing on the part of many involved in this often passionate debate. Montana may be teaming up with the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and force the de-listing of the wolf. Others are demanding that the state just institute their own plan now and let the matter get sorted out in the courts.

Groups like the Friends content that wolves are decimating the elk herds to such an extent that they fear by the time this issue is settled in court, there will be no more elk left to fight over.

Of course we can only speculate at this juncture as to what Freudenthal means when he says he is not prepared to preside over the destruction of the state’s elk herds while lawsuits drag on in court.

Tom Remington