Since 2007 Montana taxpayers have compensated ranchers when wolves and grizzly bears kill their livestock — to the tune of up to $200,000 a year. Some of that money is also spent on projects designed to prevent predator conflicts. That earns it high marks from both ranchers and conservation organizations.
Last year, state lawmakers voted to add mountain lion-related losses to the compensation list for the first time. The problem is, the program didn’t get any additional funding to do that.