On November 2nd, citizens opposed to the hunting of wolves just outside Yellowstone National Park (YNP) returned to the Gallatin National Forest to witness, monitor and document wolf hunting in Management Units 313 & 316. Yellowstone Wolf Patrol (YWP) was formed following the decision by Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to continue to allow the hunting and trapping of wolves immediately outside YNP.
Patrol members are following non-resident trophy hunters led by Hell’s A Roarin Outfitters, who charge thousands of dollars for guided wolf hunts. The monitoring project, the first of its kind in the country, is focused on filming the annual general season elk hunt, just outside of Gardiner, Montana. At least three outfitters in the area are directing elk hunting clients to purchase wolf permits, so that, “…if you run into a wolf during your trophy whitetail hunt or while climbing the ridge looking for elk, you can take a shot.” (Linehan Outfitting Co. fishmontana.org)
YWP supports the position of local environmental groups, wolf watchers, and Native American tribes opposed to the hunting of wolves outside not only YNP, but Glacier National Park as well. Our objective is to obtain photographic/video evidence of the legal killing of Yellowstone wolves, in order to educate the public and encourage them to pressure the state of Montana to end the hunting of wolves outside national parks.
This is the third time in as many months, that Wolf Patrol has led groups of citizens in Montana and Wisconsin into wolf hunting areas to document what we believe is the irresponsible management of wolves in states with aggressive wolf eradication policies. Last month, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol obtained evidence of illegal wolf trapping activities, and are currently working with state wildlife agencies to investigate the alleged crimes.
Officials with FWP have publicly stated that citizens are within their rights to monitor wolf hunts, as long as no interference with legal hunting occurs. YWP are calling on FWP to stop the wolf hunt in Units 313 & 316, in order to prevent the killing of five (of a quota of six) wolves, that have yet to be killed outside the park. We believe the lives of these wolves are invaluable to researchers engaged in ongoing predator/prey studies, to Native Americans who hold these animals as sacred relations, and to the thousands of tourists from all over the world whose travel to the park to view wolves.
Despite threats of violence posted repeatedly on Wolf Patrol social media sites, we are determined to represent the interests of people everywhere who are opposed to Montana’s recreational wolf hunting season. We are currently camped on public lands in below-freezing conditions in order to follow wolves that are currently leaving Yellowstone National Park in pursuit of elk migrating out of the park to their winter range.