Montana’s governor killed a mountain lion the National Park Service was monitoring

Famous for once assaulting a reporter, Greg Gianforte has moved on to shooting mountain lions while they’re trapped in a tree.

EMIGRANT, MT - JULY 24: Montana Republican Governor Greg Gianforte joins generational family members...
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Greg Gianforte, the Republican governor of Montana, is a real tough guy — as long as the target of his attacks has no chance to defend itself. The man who famously body-slammed a reporter for asking him a question about health care went hunting just outside of Yellowstone National Park in December, where he shot and killed a mountain lion that was being tracked and monitored by the National Park Service, according to The Washington Post.

On its face, nothing illegal happened here. The 5-year-old mountain lion, identified by its research number M220, was outside the protected areas of Yellowstone. Gianforte reportedly has a license to hunt mountain lions — an improvement over a February 2021 outing in which he shot and killed a monitored wolf that he trapped using a technique that he lacked the certification for. And killing tracked animals is allowed if they wander into areas where hunting is permitted.

But it sure wasn’t sporting. According to an account provided to the Post, Gianforte used a tactic known as “hounding,” or hunting with dogs. According to the report, the hunting dogs chased the lion into a tree and held it in that position for hours until Gianforte finally showed up, pointed his gun at the creature, and killed it. That’s not hunting, that’s cruelty.

The Humane Society, in fact, calls hounding “particularly cruel and unsporting,” and multiple states — including Montana’s neighbor, Wyoming — have banned the practice. While hunters argue that hounding allows them to be more selective with their kills, in theory preserving female lions while only killing males, research has found that isn’t how it plays out. The Mountain Lion Foundation found hunters were no more selective with “treed” lions than they are in traditional hunts.

Gianforte was no exception. He got a lion stuck in a tree and he killed it simply because that’s what he wanted to do. That’s like being the backup quarterback who gets to come in and take the final knee to run time off the clock and then claiming you led the team to victory. Good work, dude. You really showed that defenseless animal that you had no part of tracking, hunting, or trapping that you know how to pull the trigger of a gun and nothing else.