Cooke City Wolf killing haunts tourism operators months later


you’re near Yellowstone National Park residents of a small community wear a collared park wolf was shot by a local residents say visitors don’t understand their community emptiness John Shearer reports that the incident left locals worried about its effect on the tourism industry we’re very close to the end of the road here in Cooke City just outside the remote northeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park the road ends just down here a couple of blocks in the winter snowmobilers and a few winter wildlife Watchers from the park or what business people here depend upon I feel when people don’t have the correct information it’s bad for business I cater to a lot of the wildlife groups in the summer and winter and they are a big chunk of my business Gertner is talking about the social media buzz over the shooting of a wolf near Cooke City by a local resident the wolf was killed legally by a hunter with a tag but it immediately sparked a buzz so that it had been baited and it’s a lot of supposition it’s a lot of gossip and rumor and it’s made it challenging knowing the facts dealing with the facts is the best way to kind of squash that we went in and investigated that and it wasn’t wasn’t true we haven’t found any evidence that people are baby in the walls but a lot of the growing number of wildlife tourists don’t seem to know that there is a lot of people that come in this area that that think all of us locals are so part against the wolves and it’s not that’s it’s not the case it’s not true Johnson is a hunting guide but he also has a robust business got any wolf and other wildlife Watchers a tourism is vital in our community because so many people have come and they come here because they want to see wolves and when they come here and they see them they you know they get excited and they want to know more even though you have a small percentage of hunters in this area it’s not doesn’t represent the majority of Cooke City folk Turner is also quick to defend the rights of hunters to legally harvest game including wolves but she and others don’t like the idea of killing a hollered wolf many of the wolf that have been taken legally in the hunt have been collared wolves and when you lose that you’re losing a tremendous amount of data but making the big animals like wolves and bears a part of your business plan also means making adjustments to your lifestyle if you live in Gardner if you live in Cooke City I mean I have I have a dog a small dog and I outside especially at night if I have to let him out so my life has changed because I have a dog and when I am back on the Bannock trail now knowing that the wolves are using that kind of as their pathway between here in the park I keep my dog on a lead but for most those compromises are worth the payoff people look at us and say do you know how lucky you are to live here oh yes I do while wolves can be a threat to ranching businesses they can be a boon to other businesses a recent University of Montana study says that wolf watchers bring in more than 35 million dollars to communities around Yellowstone in the park in the Lamar Valley I’m John Shearer for MTN news now Montana Department of Fish Wildlife of Park officials say while they encourage people living near the park to take every precaution possible if predators get too comfortable around people safety becomes top priority that means some of the Predators could be killed to protect their human neighbors as well Wow interesting story that John did a great job of telling everyone’s story absolutely absolutely

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