Wildlife manager leaves FWP concerned by lack of listening

Rob Chaney

Getting invited to sit at someone’s table and listen was the best part of Mike Thompson’s job.

The fact that someone had strong opinions about wildlife management, and Thompson was the wildlife manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 2, might seem like a stressful combination.

Yet after 42 years shepherding the biological welfare of western Montana’s game and non-game species, Thompson said that’s what he’d miss most.

In an unannounced move, he retired on Wednesday.

“If you’re going to have those conversations, you’ve got to be accepted as a person who wants to listen and shut up,” Thompson said. “It’s been harder in the job to do that. There are more politics involved in it now, more forces trying to control Montanans and build tribes unto themselves than I was aware of when I first came here. I think that’s in our way, and I think it would be a great benefit to Montana’s resources and way of life if we could peel that layer apart.”

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