I gotta call BS on this story. I saw a press release from The University of Montana touting a new survey claiming that Montanans are more tolerant of wolves. That was my knee jerk reaction. But then I thought, let me check with a guy who knows a thing or two about polling AND Montanans.

Evan Wilson is the Vice President of Moore Information Group, a prominent national polling firm. He's also a Billings, Montana native and the son of the late MSU-Billings pollster and political scientist Dr. Craig Wilson.

He pointed out several flaws with the survey and how it is being used to try and manipulate public opinion. One great point he made: Montanans may tolerate something, but that doesn't mean we support it. For example, we just tolerated 40 below zero weather- that doesn't mean we like it.

Evan Wilson: We are in the field doing public opinion surveys on a nightly basis. A lot of the work we do is for candidates running for statewide office. We poll on the gray wolf all the time. And I can tell you that the data that we see at Moore Information Group among registered voters in Montana who actually show up and vote is not what the University of Montana is trying to peddle to folks today.

Wilson highlighted the impact that an overpopulation of wolves is having on elk hunting populations in Montana.

Evan Wilson: We have 30 years of research now to show that it's 20,000 elk per year that these wolves are killing. We got 1,000 wolves in Montana, we don't need more. And surveys like this just feed the misinformation that somehow after 30 years the poor residents of Montana are just going to get used to the gray wolf and nothing could be further from the truth.


Here's the full audio of our chat with Evan Wilson:

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