Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has received a warning after violating state hunting regulations in the killing of his first wolf. The newly-elected Gianforte trapped and killed a radio-collared male adult wolf just north of Yellowstone National Park on Feb. 15, per Boise State Public Radio. He had a license to kill wolves but had not completed the mandated trapper education course. Greg Lemon, a spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said "everything had been done the way it was supposed to," except for the course completion. He added officials gave the Republican a written warning, as they would with anyone in such a case. Gianforte—who was fined after self-reporting the illegal killing of an immature elk in 2000—has described himself as a "lifetime member" of the Montana Trappers Association. However, rep Brooke Stroyke said this was the first wolf the governor had killed.
He "immediately rectified the mistake" by signing up for a course set for Wednesday, Stroyke said. The course lasts about three hours and "is geared toward the ethical harvest of wolves," said Lemon. It also teaches "on the importance of radio collared wolves to monitor the population and manage wolf pack attacks on livestock," the AP reports. Gianforte could've released the collared wolf so it could continue to contribute to research. Instead, the collar was returned to Yellowstone, while Gianforte kept the wolf's skull and hide. The incident comes as the governor "is expected to receive, and support, several bills aimed at loosening wolf hunting and trapping regulations, including allowing the use of neck snares," per the New York Times. Other bills "would allow unlimited hunting of wolves and payments for dead wolves akin to the bounties that exterminated them across most of the US last century," per the AP. (Read more Greg Gianforte stories.)