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Boone and Crockett Club: FWS Announcement Moves Closer to a Solution on the Gray Wolf



The Boone and Crockett Club applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) announcement on Friday afternoon reaffirming its previous finding that the gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains region faces no threat of extinction.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service got the right answer, again – as they have done repeatedly for the last 20 years,” said James L. Cummins, president of the Boone and Crockett Club, and a wildlife biologist by training. “The gray wolf population has met FWS recovery goals since 2003 and has not been at risk of extinction since before that time.”

Alongside the announcement on the gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains region, the FWS announced the beginning of a new recovery plan for gray wolves throughout the lower 48 states. “It’s hard to understand why FWS has proposed a new recovery plan,” said Cummins. “The issue we face is not that the gray wolf may disappear, but that people disagree on how many wolves should roam the country – and where. The question is how best to manage sustainable wolf populations, not how to recover a species threatened with extinction. The Club supports a national consensus that would sustain the wolf population and manage their effect on other wildlife, and their risk to livestock and people. To accomplish this goal, each state must regain the authority to carry out its own management plan.”

Over the last 20 years, the FWS has repeatedly found that the gray wolf no longer needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Yet nearly all those science-based decisions have been undermined by the political and legal efforts of those who oppose delisting. Meanwhile, it has become increasingly clear that the growing wolf population cannot be managed effectively under ESA rules. Frustrated by this, others have initiated their own political and legal efforts in the opposite direction, proposing dramatic and unrealistic reductions in the number of wolves.

“The wolf has gone repeatedly back and forth from federal control under the ESA to state management under state laws,” Cummins continued. “This is no way to solve the problem and it’s a sure way to make the problem more difficult to solve.”

The Boone and Crockett Club will continue to support federal enforcement of the Endangered Species Act where population recovery is the goal and will continue to support excellence in state wildlife management where population sustainability is the goal.

“Citizens, states, the FWS, and Congress must all respect differing viewpoints,” said Cummins, “but it is time for scientific management to prevail over legal and tactical maneuvering. Our duty to find a science-based solution is more important than allowing a small group of others to prolong controversy by ignoring wildlife science for fundraising purposes and litigating at taxpayer expense. With this decision, we hope that all who want to have wolves on the land in a way that can be supported by all members of the community now will work constructively for the greater good.”

Cummins concluded, “The threat of extinction was the founding topic raised by Theodore Roosevelt at the first meeting of the Boone and Crockett Club, in 1887. Our early efforts restored the endangered species of that time to their abundance today. Our members later played central roles in developing and enacting the Endangered Species Act in the 1970s and more recently in creating incentive-based mechanisms to restore and protect their habitat. Our commitment has succeeded because we cherish all wildlife as American treasures, we prize the ability of Americans to do the work of sustaining our wildlife populations, and we base our work on science, not litigation.”

More About the Boone and Crockett Club

Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. Click here to learn more about the Boone and Crockett Club.