For Immediate Release: March 12, 2021
Contact: Derek Goldman, Endangered Species Coalition, [email protected]
Wolf Bounty Group Pays Out Its Own Directors, Family Members
Helena, Mont.— As a bill to allow wolf trappers to receive expense reimbursements moves through the Montana Legislature, the Idaho group behind that effort has paid out $12,000 in bounties to its own directors and their families over the past two years.
According to records obtained from the Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game (IDFG), the Idaho-based Foundation for Wildlife Management, which administers Idaho’s wolf bounty program, paid $4,000 in bounties to executive director Justin Webb, $5,000 to the vice-president of the board, and $3,000 to the wife, son and grandson of another board member. $10,000 of that was paid out in FY2019, representing nearly 22 percent of all program funds for that year. Half of the funding for the bounty program was supplied by IDFG; the remainder came from funds raised by the Foundation, according to the documents.
Webb appeared before the Montana Senate Fish and Game Committee in Helena on February 25th as a lead proponent for SB 267. Sponsored by Senate Bob Brown (R-SD 7), the bill would end Montana’s ban on wildlife bounties by allowing trappers to receive financial reimbursements for any expenses incurred related to the trapping of wolves in Montana. The bill passed the Senate at the transmittal deadline on a largely party-line vote.
“It’s ethically questionable for a nonprofit organization to be paying out its primary program funds to its own staff and board,” said Derek Goldman, Northern Rockies Field Representative for the Endangered Species Coalition—an opponent of SB 267. “It seems self-serving when leaders of an organization that administers a wolf bounty program—which includes public funds—are also recipients of those funds, and it’s very concerning that they are seeking to establish a similar bounty program here in Montana.”
The Foundation for Wildlife Management lists the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game among some of its partners. Webb also appeared in Helena during the 2019 Session, where he unsuccessfully sought legislative support for a similar bill.
The House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee plans to hold a hearing on SB 267 next Tuesday.
For details on individual payouts, please see attached documents obtained from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
More information: Foundation for Wildlife Management: https://www.foundationforwildlifemanagement.org/Reimbursement
Northern Rockies Sr. Field Rep & Communications Specialist
Endangered Species Coalition
Missoula, MT – the traditional homeland of the Salish people
(406) 370-6491 [email protected]
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