Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is jumping the gun on federal authorities and telling livestock owners to feel free to shoot wolves that attack their animals whether it’s legal or not, the Associated Press reported.
It’s wolf against elk, and with the federal government hamstrung over lawsuits regarding the endangered wolf, he is tired of hearing various agencies “just yipping about it,” he told the AP. “What we see in Washington, D.C., is motion masquerading as action."
Wolves are already killed across five states in the northern Rockies for similar reasons, with livestock owners in southern Montana and Idaho permitted to “defend their property by shooting wolves that attack their cattle, sheep or other domestic animals,” the AP said, adding that more than 1,000 have been shot over the past decade by federal agents in response to such attacks.
Schweitzer would expand that territory past what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows, including to parts of Montana where ranchers do not have permission to shoot them.