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Montana Governor Gianforte traps, kills wolf in violation of state requirement, receives warning

The incident has brought renewed attention on state and federal laws on killing wolves.

Updated: March 24, 2021 - 1:34pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Montana GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte recently violated a state hunting law when he trapped and killed a wolf near the Yellowstone National Park, sparking more controversy about possible state and federal law on thinning the country’s wolf populations. 

Gianforte was issued a written warning by the state for having violated Montana regulations on Feb. 15 by killing the wolf without having completed a state-required wolf trapping certification course. 

The Republican governor, who has a license to hunt wolves, says he will take the three-hour online course Thursday.  

Critics have urged Mr. Gianforte not loosen the state’s wolf hunting and trapping regulations, according to The New York Times.

In January, the Trump administration ended Endangered Species Act protection for the country's gray wolf population, a decision the Biden administration is purportedly considering reversing.

Gianforte, elected in November with support of the Montana Trappers Association, killed the adult black wolf about 10 miles outside of the national park, on a private ranch owned by Robert E. Smith, director of the conservative Sinclair Broadcasting Group, who contributed thousands of dollars to Gianforte's 2017 congressional campaign, according to the Mountain West News Bureau.

The governor's spokesperson, Brooke Stroyke: "After learning he had not completed the wolf-trapping certification, Governor Gianforte immediately rectified the mistake and enrolled in the wolf-trapping certification course," according to several news outlets. 

The animal the governor killed was name named "Wolf 1155" and was born in Yellowstone National Park and was issued an electronic tracking collar in 2018.

In 2000, Mr. Gianforte illegally killed an elk and was issued a $70 ticket by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. And in June 2017, he was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management classes for assaulting a reporter the night before he won a House seat, The Times also reports. 

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