Hunters and anglers in Montana can now fund wolf mitigation and control efforts. The optional donation on licenses comes from a bill signed into law this legislative session.
The state Department of Livestock says with this new revenue stream, it can pay for additional contracts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to manage wolf populations. Wildlife Services is the lead agency whenever predators kill livestock and the fund is intended to augment some of its costs.
The bill dictates the Department of Livestock and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to set-up online portals for direct donations. Hunters and anglers also have the option of donating to the fund when purchasing a conservation license on FWP’s website or in-person.
“It was just easier for Fish, Wildlife and Parks to collect the money through donations through conservation licenses and other private donations and then transfer that money to us and then let us funnel that money to USDA Wildlife Services. So this is the first time we’ve done this in this regards,” says Brian Simonson the deputy executive officer with the Montana Department of Livestock.
Simonson says FWP is expecting to generate about $20,000 per year.
Republican state representative Becky Beard from Elliston introduced HB 291, which created the voluntary wolf mitigation account. Beard brought a similar bill in 2017. It passed the legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock.