By MATTHEW BROWN –
PRAY, Mont. (AP) — For rancher Randy Petrich, the removal of gray wolves from the endangered species list — a move that would open up the animals to hunting in the Northern Rockies for the first time in decades — couldn't come soon enough. On the same land where it was once rare to see the animal, Petrich has seen fresh wolf tracks almost every morning this fall — close enough to threaten his cattle.
"I believe that any wolf on any given night, if there happens to be a calf there, they will kill it," Petrich said. "In reality, to help us now, we need to be trapping them, shooting them — as many as possible."
Just 12 years since the wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park after years of near-extinction, federal officials say the sharp rise in the wolf population in the region justifies removing them from the endangered species list.
Critics, however, say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is moving too fast, and could be setting the stage for a slaughter that would push wolves back to the brink in the Rockies. Read the rest here.