BILLINGS, MONTANA — Payments for dead wolves. Unlimited hunting of the animals. Shooting wolves from the air. Wolf hunting policies in some states are taking an aggressive turn, as Republican lawmakers and conservative hunting groups push to curb their numbers and propose tactics shunned by many wildlife managers. In Montana, lawmakers are advancing measures to allow shooting wolves at night and payments to hunters reminiscent of bounties that widely exterminated the species last century. Idaho legislation would allow hunters to shoot them from motorized parachutes, ATVs or snowmobiles year-round with no limits in most areas. And in Wisconsin, just weeks after President Donald Trump’s administration lifted protections for wolves in the Great Lakes region, hunters using hounds and trappers blew past the state’s harvest goal and killed almost twice as many as planned.
The timing of the Wisconsin hunt was bumped up following a lawsuit that raised concerns President Joe Biden’s administration would intervene to restore gray wolf protections. The group behind the suit has close links to Republican political circles including influential donors the Koch brothers and notable Trump loyalists — Kris Kobach, a former U.S. Senate candidate from Kansas, and rock star and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent. [full article]