To get right to the point, where do you stand on the Bush administration's announcement to end federal protection for gray wolves in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho? According to a New York Times article on the decision, the deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior told reporters, "Gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains are thriving and no longer need protection."
Of course, wildlife and environmental groups have something to say about such a confident statement. According to the same story, a senior wildlife advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is participating in a planned lawsuit to fight the government's decision, said of the removal of protections, "The numbers are inadequate and the state programs are too."
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission, for its part, has wasted no time in taking advantage of the development. Even before the federal government made its decision public Thursday, the FWP planned for a 2008 wolf hunting season for Oct. 26 - Dec. 31 contingent on the the anticipated announcement. According to this story from the Missoulian, hunters will not be able to use dogs, bait, or artificial scents or lures, and no quotas have yet been set. And of course, any litigation could push that first season way back.
So, where do you stand on wolves? Is it too soon to hunt them, or is there no time like the present? -K.H.