Newly elected governor of Montana Greg Gianforte (R) broke state rules when he trapped and killed an adult black Yellowstone wolf known as “1155“.
Gianforte trapped the wolf on a private ranch owned by one of his top donors, director of conservative Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Robert E. Smith roughly ten miles north of the Yellowstone National Park boundary in February, according to the Boise State Public Radio.
Wolves are protected inside Yellowstone National Park. But once it wanders beyond the park’s boundaries, it’s legal to hunt and trap it in Montana, in accordance with state regulations.
But, Gianforte did not complete a mandated wolf-trapping course before killing the animal, which was born and radio-collared in the park and wandered from the pack to find a mate.
According to Montana’s wolf hunting regulations, “A person must attend and complete a wolf-trapping certification class before setting any trap for a wolf,” and the state-issued certificate “must be in possession of any person setting wolf traps and/or harvesting a wolf by trap.”
“He has been hunting and trapping for a long time and I would be surprised to learn that he didn’t know better than to complete that education,” chairman of the Montana Chapter for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, John Sullivan said. “We hope that he apologizes to the citizens of the state for circumventing the process that we all have to go through,” adding. “It’s difficult to fathom accidentally not taking that class.”
Gianforte’s office said the governor has enrolled in the class.
Jonathan Proctor, director of the Rockies and Plains program for the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, said it “makes no sense” that Yellowstone wolves “can be killed so easily, right on the edge of the park in the state of Montana, for only a few dollars for a permit to trap a wolf.”
Even though he broke the rules, the state wildlife agency allowed him to keep the wolf’s skull and hide and issued a warning.