BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Montana’s governor was given a warning by state wildlife officials after killing a radio-collared wolf near Yellowstone National Park in February without first taking a mandated trapping education course.
Gov. Greg Gianforte trapped and shot the wolf about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of the park on a ranch owned by a Sinclair Broadcasting Group executive, Boise State Public Radio reported.
It’s legal to kill wolves in Montana with a license, but trappers must first complete a three-hour online course that includes instruction on how to take the animals ethically and lawfully.
The Republican governor had a wolf license, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon.
Gianforte spokesperson Brooke Stroyke said the governor “immediately rectified the mistake” and enrolled in the wolf-trapping certification course scheduled for Wednesday.
The wolf he killed Feb. 15 was born in Yellowstone National Park and fitted with a radio collar to track its movements in 2018, park spokesperson Morgan Warthin said. The animal was a member of the park’s Wapiti Lake pack but had left the group to find a mate.
News of Gianforte’s hunting violation comes as lawmakers in Montana and Idaho have been considering proposals to make it much easier to kill wolves in a bid to drive down the predators’ numbers.