Montana Gov OKs Shooting Endangered Wolves
Brian Schweitzer says gray wolf population has fully recovered
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2011 8:44 AM CST
This undated handout photo provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service shows a gray wolf.   (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,file)

(Newser) – Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has all but declared open season on gray wolves, ordering wildlife officers not to investigate or prosecute ranchers who shoot the endangered animals to protect their livestock, CNN reports. He’s also directed them to kill entire packs if they endanger the state’s elk or livestock. Schweitzer, a Democrat, revealed his plan in a defiant letter to Ken Salazar on Wednesday, arguing that Montana’s wolf population had “fully recovered.”

“I am profoundly frustrated,” Schweitzer wrote. “I cannot continue to ignore the crying need for workable wolf management while Montana waits, and waits, and waits.” The Interior Department responded by saying that, though wolf management should be turned over to states, “the governor’s letter is not the answer.” Last week, Montana’s US Senators introduced a bill to take gray wolves off the endangered species list. (Click for more on an animal on South Dakota's kill list: bison.)