MALTA, Mont. –-(Ammoland.com)- Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) will convene a newly formed mountain lion work group on April 21-22 in Missoula to begin developing collaborative objectives and recommendations for lion harvest quotas in west-central Montana.
Tentative mountain lion quotas for the 2014-15 seasons are out for public comment now, and the Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider work group inputs, along with all public comment, before making a final decision at its June 12 meeting in Helena.
Dr. Mike Mitchell, leader of the Montana Cooperative Research Unit at the University of Montana, will facilitate the lion work group meetings, using a structured decision-making (SDM) process to help the group achieve a consensus.
FWP advertised for volunteers in mid-March, and Region 2 Supervisor, Randy Arnold, made the final selections on April 7.
“We looked for individuals with a demonstrated stake in the outcome, and that represented a diversity of interests and geographic areas. We wanted lion hunters and other hunters, people affiliated with organized groups and some unaffiliated, houndsmen and not, as well as outfitters and non-outfitting publics,” Arnold said.
The 12 work group members are Rod Bullis (Helena), Ken Francisco (Hamilton), Bob Driggers (Hamilton), Toby Walrath (Corvallis), Keith Kubista (Stevensville), Casey Richardson (Huson), Ray Rugg (Superior), Jason Cataldo (Alberton), Tim Aldrich (Missoula), Jack Rich (Seeley Lake), Cody Hensen (Philipsburg) and Steve Kamps (Lincoln). The work group was selected not only for its representation, but also for the collaborative capabilities of its members.
“I am encouraged by the makeup of this group,” said Gary Wolfe, the Fish and Wildlife Commissioner for Western Montana. “These individuals have largely selected themselves with their demonstrated commitment to wildlife and collaborative solutions.”
The lion work group will be supported by a science team comprised of Dr. Kelly Proffitt, FWP Research Biologist; Jay Kolbe, FWP Management Biologist; Dr. Hilary Cooley, US Fish & Wildlife Service; and Josh Nowak, post-doc at the University of Montana.
The public is invited to observe work group meetings. On April 21-22, the group will meet from 8 a.m. to 5p.m at the University Center room 326, on the University of Montana campus.
The final meetings will be held on May 7-8 at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation headquarters in Missoula, and FWP will make the group’s products available for public review and comment on May 9.