Enviros get partial court win over Montana’s wolf-trapping season

By Michael Doyle | 04/24/2024 01:38 PM EDT

But the 9th Circuit shrunk an injunction that blocked trapping in certain areas of the state because grizzly bears could be caught in traps.

The Junction Butte wolf pack in Yellowstone National Park.

The Junction Butte wolf pack is shown in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park. National Park Service/AP

A federal appeals court this week upheld a trial judge’s decision dimming Montana’s green light for expanded recreational wolf trapping.

In a significant but partial victory for environmentalists and a coalition of tribal activists, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a preliminary injunction while also ordering the trial judge to shrink its geographic reach.

“Given all the evidence, it was plausible for the district court to find a reasonably certain threat of imminent harm to grizzly bears should Montana’s wolf trapping and snaring season proceed as planned,” Judge Mark Bennett wrote.


A Trump administration appointee, Bennett elaborated that the evidence “supported that a large percentage — nearly 40% — of grizzly bears in Montana would be active during the proposed wolf trapping season in the same areas as wolves and would be highly attracted to the wolf traps, which would likely result in grizzlies being caught in those traps.”