Monday, May 20, 2013

Wildlife agency dismisses wolf baiting claims

Montana wildlife officials on Tuesday rejected allegations that a Montana rancher and hunting guide illegally baited wolves by leaving sheep carcasses piled up on his property near Yellowstone National Park. Wildlife advocates had accused William Hoppe, who lives near Gardiner, of intentionally luring the predators to his land and shooting one after wolves killed at least 13 of his sheep. Hoppe is a long-time critic of the reintroduction of wolves to the Yellowstone area two decades ago. But Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks officials said an investigation determined Hoppe buried all but one of the sheep that were killed by wolves on April 24. The remaining animal was dragged away by a grizzly bear. "We certainly understand there has been a lot of talk about this story, but we have to go with the facts on the ground," FWP spokeswoman Andrea Jones said, adding that there was no evidence of baiting.Hoppe obtained two shoot-on-site kill permits from the state following the sheep attack. He used one to kill a wolf from Yellowstone National Park last week and has offered to forfeit the second. He said he's received two death threats and harassing phone calls and emails after the baiting accusation was leveled by representatives of Wolves of the Rockies and the National Wolfwatcher Coalition...more

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