A bill allowing hunters to take three wolves, use electronic wolf calls and not wear hunters orange after general deer and elk season flew through the Montana senate on Friday, Feb. 7.

After clearing the house, HB 73 reportedly received verbal support from Governor Steve Bullock as well as the support of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Republican State Senator Fred Thomas says the bill is a good start, but doesn't go far enough. "The biggest concern I have is that we're kind of missing a big piece and that's this ability to snare wolves. What I'm going to do at this point, is I'm considering amending bills, to build it in to them, because it's too late to have a bill to just do that."

Thomas says experts at FWP as well as a specialist from Idaho have noted that snaring is one of the most sure-fire ways to capture wolves. "In Idaho, of all the wolves trapped, two-thirds of those were caught by snaring," explains Thomas. "The proof is in the pudding. The numbers are big. If you're going to get these animals you've got to snare them."

Fred Thomas:

Critics of snaring argue that the technique is cruel because wolves can die in the snares from suffocation, starvation, or exposure. Thomas describes wolves dying in a snare as a "downside. I don't really like that but you've got to do what's effective here to control the population."