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Gianforte Calls Missed Trappers Education A "Mistake"

Greg Gianforte wears ear plugs and safety glasses while holding a shotgun. A campaign poster for his gubernatorial run with Lesley Robinson is taped to a stand.
Jackie Yamanaka
Yellowstone Public Radio
In this undated photo from 2016, Greg Gianforte holds a shotgun.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte is calling his failure to take a required wolf trapping course before trapping and shooting a radio-collared wolf last month a “slight misstep.”

Gianforte was asked about the incident in a press conference Thursday.

"I made a mistake. I’m glad I was able to check the box last night. It was a good refresher for me but in hindsight I wouldn’t have done anything differently," Gianforte said.

A spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says Gianforte took the required course Wednesday night after receiving a written warning.

Gianforte says he’s put in 40 days over five years to kill his first wolf and says he’s been trapping since he was a toddler.

He said this year he teamed up with a mentor to set traps on a private ranch in Paradise Valley.

Gianforte said they were checking traps “on a regular basis as required by law.” State regulations require trappers to visually check traps every 48 hours.

In response to more detailed questions about the timeline surrounding Gianforte’s harvest, a spokesperson for the governor's office referred YPR to the press conference and an article by the Helena Independent Record.

Gianforte said trapping is an effective tool in wildlife management and predator control. Lawmakers have sent him bills to allow wolf snaring, extending the wolf trapping season and mandate trapper education more broadly for his consideration.

Other bills aim to reduce the state’s wolf population and allow wolf hunters and trappers to be reimbursed.