An overabundance of a treasured game animal is causing some heated debate among our neighbors along Montana's southern border.

According to Mark Heinz of the Cowboy State Daily, a Wyoming state representative's proposed solution to elk overpopulation concerns in eastern Wyoming is a hot-topic of controversy. But the idea is far from a "Everybody grab your guns and let's go" proposal.


Mr. Heinz reports that State Representative Bill Allemand suggests giving unlimited lethal-take permits to ranchers. Under the proposal, ranchers would be allowed to use the permits to harvest elk on their properties. Ranchers would also have the option to transfer the permits to others.The window of opportunity would be from August 1 to April 1 of the following year.

Under this program, for each elk harvested, $20 would be directed back into the hands of  the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Proponents say the measure would provide relief to areas where the elk issue has persisted for over 30 years.


As far as being able to transfer the permits: In order to keep it from becoming a trophy hunter auction, Representative Allemund conceded to some amendments. Changes in the proposed measure’s language allows ranchers to give lethal take permits away, but not sell them. And the proposal would apply to cow elk only, in an effort to help eliminate the trophy hunt temptations.

And - we can probably all agree about this part of the proposal - any elk killed on the lethal take permits must be processed for human consumption, not just left to go to waste.

It's hard to imagine a proposal like this would fly in Montana, but it's worth watching for the final outcome.

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