Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte killed and shot a mountain lion being tracked by National Park Service in December. This was his second hunt of a monitored animal outside Yellowstone National Park’s protected areas.

Brooke Stroyke, his spokesperson said that the Republican governor had a valid mountain-lion license and treed a lion in Park County. He also added that dogs were used in hunting and drove the lion up the tree.


Stroyke stated that the group grew closer to the lion and members of the group who had a hound training licence used four hounds in order to tree the lion after the track was found in a creek bottom on the public land. The governor confirmed that the mountain lion was a male, harvested it, and placed his tag. He immediately called the [Fish, Wildlife & Parks] to report the legal harvest. Then he called the [Fish, Wildlife & Parks] warden.”

Greg Lemon, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesperson, stated in an email that the Dec. 28 hunt, first reported by the Washington Post , had been legal.

Lemon stated that Montana has a long history of mountain lion hunting. He also noted that mountain lion hunters have been a powerful advocate for the predators and are actively involved in the management of the state’s lions.

The news of the governor’s hunt broke at the 150th anniversary celebration of Yellowstone, the park covering 2.2 million acres that was the first National Park System.

Federal law prohibits hunting in Yellowstone and the discharge of firearms. Animals that leave the park are regularly hunted on unprotected lands in Idaho and Montana. After migrating from the park into Montana, nearly 190 bison were killed in the 2020-21 winter.

Gianforte, a Montana blackwolf trapper and killer, told the Helena Independent Record in 2021 that he had “made a mistake” when he killed the Yellowstone-tagged Montana blackwolf before he received the state certification.

Gianforte stated to the newspaper that he had probably spent 40 days trying to capture a wolf over five years.