November 27, 2020

Wolf Stamp Hearing and Comment Extension

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From an email I received:

Due to a large number of comments and requests, the wolf stamp proposal will have an extended comment period until August 22. There will be a public hearing on Thursday, August 14, at 6 p.m. The hearing will be held simultaneously in Helena, Kalispell, Missoula, Bozeman, Great Falls, Billings, Miles City, and Glasgow, at FWP headquarters in each city. (1420 East 6th Ave. in Helena)

Fish Wildlife & Parks Department has proposed to create wolf management stamps for sale to anyone who wishes to donate to the department’s management of wolves. Each stamp will be $20.00; a person may buy multiple stamps. The money derived from sale of the stamps will be considered a donation, and must first be used to pay for the cost of administering the stamp program. The remainder of the money must be equally divided into: a) grants for livestock loss reduction program; b) wolf monitoring, habitat protection or acquisition within occupied wolf habitat, scientific research of wolves, or public education and outreach activities relating to wolves; c)hiring of additional wardens within occupied wolf habitat.

This is a brand new idea, that has never been tried anywhere before. It has the potential to change the structure of wildlife management.

Supporters view the stamp as similar to a lottery ticket for a big game hunting license, or an auction license: a way to donate to wolf conservation.

Concerns have been expressed that issuing a species-specific stamp separate from a hunting or trapping license is contrary to the North American model of wildlife conservation, and could give anti-hunters an equal footing with scientific wildlife managers in decision making.

Some question how much money the proposed stamp would generate for the purposes proposed; after administrative costs are taken, will it raise meaningful dollars?

Sportsmen for Wildlife and MOGA have suggested that the conservation license already exists as a way for people to contribute to wildlife conservation, without limiting the expenditure of funds to only one species, and without creating a new program to administer.

We all need to pay attention to this. If you haven’t commented, you may do so at fwpwld@mt.gov, or mail to Wolf Stamp Comments, Communication and Education Division, P. O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. Hopefully there will be a large turnout at the hearings, as well.

Mary Ellen Schnur

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