Wolf deal sweeps past Wyoming Legislature

2012-03-05T14:24:00Z Wolf deal sweeps past Wyoming LegislatureBy Jeremy Pelzer Star-Tribune capital bureau Casper Star-Tribune Online

CHEYENNE—A landmark compromise plan to remove Wyoming’s grey wolf population from the federal endangered species list overwhelmingly passed the Wyoming Legislature on Monday.

The 57-1 vote in the Wyoming House means the legislation now heads to Gov. Matt Mead for his signature.

Under the deal, reached last year by Mead and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wyoming’s roughly 243 wolves living outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation would be placed under state control. Wyoming’s the only state with wolves covered under federal endangered species protection.

Wyoming’s wolf management plan would allow the animals to be killed on sight in all but the northwest part of the state, where they would be designated as trophy game and could only be hunted with a license.

The plan also establishes a flex zone covering northern Sublette and Lincoln counties, as well as southern Teton County, in which wolves would be protected only from Oct. 15 until the end of the following February.

The deal swept through the Legislature with little debate. State Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, R-Thermopolis, was the only House member to vote against the bill, Senate File 41, during the final House vote on Monday.

If Mead signs the bill as expected, it will then be up to Fish and Wildlife director Dan Ashe to make the final decision whether to enact the agreement. The unofficial deadline to finish the deal is Sept. 30, according to federal and state officials.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials have said that if wolves are delisted by September, they would likely set up a hunting season for this fall.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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