Montana governor Greg Gianforte neglected state regulations by trapping and killing a Yellowstone wolf this past February, and he’s in some serious hot water.
According to Business Insider, Gianforte trapped and killed an adult black wolf on the private ranch of Robert Smith, who’s the director of the conservative Sinclair Broadcasting Group, 10 miles north of Yellowstone National Park’s boundary.
Although wolves cannot be trapped or killed by hunters on the national park’s property, state regulations do allow hunters to trap and hunt them outside of the park’s boundaries.
The issue is that Gianforte harvested the wolf without completing a state-mandated wolf trapping certification course. Although he didn’t meet the proper requirements, the governor was only given a warning by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, but can only keep the wolf’s skull and pelt after he completes the certification courses.
Greg Lemon, the spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, weighed in on the situation to Boise Public Radio:
“Typically, we approach this sort of incident as an educational opportunity, particularly when the person in question is forthright in what happened and honest about the circumstances. That was the case here with Gov. Gianforte.”
It is a little fishy though, because the governor is in charge of overseeing Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, you would think he would’ve known to have taken the required course before trapping and killing the wolf.
Gianforte’s spokesperson also added a statement to The Hill:
“After learning he had not completed the wolf-trapping certification, Governor Gianforte immediately rectified the mistake and enrolled in the wolf-trapping certification course. The governor had all other proper licenses.”
Over the past several months, several states including Montana have debated over what needs to be done about the trapping and killing of wolves, since there has been a huge spark in the killings after wolves lost Endangered Species protections. As much as the Park tries to protect wolves within its boundaries, legally killing a wolf a few miles outside of it doesn’t seem to make much sense if the goal is to promote the growth of the species.
With at least 94 wolves left in Yellowstone as of January 2020, it will be interesting to see if the state will take any action on wolf trapping and killing incidents from here on out.
And speaking of Gianforte, he allegedly “body slammed” a reporter from The Guardian back in 2017. He was eventually convicted of assault and sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management classes.