Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer says the state will defy federal protections for gray wolves and kill packs that have been hurting elk herds.
Schweitzer also told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he is encouraging livestock owners north of Interstate 90 to shoot wolves that harass their animals. He says state game wardens would stop investigating wolf shootings in that part of the state.
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Livestock owners in southern Montana already have authority to shoot wolves that harass their animals.
The Democratic governor says he is fed up with years of litigation that have kept wolves on the endangered species list even as their population has grown to more than 1,700 across the Northern Rockies.