wolf hunt

Wyoming kicks off downsized wolf-hunting season

2013-10-03T07:00:00Z Wyoming kicks off downsized wolf-hunting seasonThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 03, 2013 7:00 am  • 

CHEYENNE — At least four wolves have been killed in Wyoming since the state kicked off its second formal hunting season this week in a trophy zone bordering Yellowstone National Park.

Wyoming has cut in half the quota of wolves available for hunters in the trophy zone this year compared to last, from 52 down to 26.

Alan Dubberley, spokesman for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said Wednesday that hunters have reported killing four wolves in the hunting zone since Tuesday.

The state classifies wolves outside the trophy area as predators that may be shot on sight. No hunting is allowed within Yellowstone.

Dubberley said hunting will remain open through the end of the year or until hunters reach the quota. He said many hunters going after elk or other game pick up a wolf tag in case they come across one in the field.

The federal government last year ended federal protection for wolves in Wyoming. But conservation groups have filed lawsuits in Wyoming and Washington, D.C., to challenge the action.

Wyoming had about 192 wolves in the trophy hunting zone going into last year's hunt, Dubberley said. Hunters killed 42 wolves in Wyoming last year, the state's first wolf hunting season since the federal government reintroduced wolves to the Yellowstone ecosystem in the 1990s.

The game department predicts the population in the trophy hunting zone will be at least 160, including 13 to 15 breeding pairs, at the end of this year's hunting season, Dubberley said.

"The quota for this year is 26, and the reason it's lower is we're not really attempting to reduce the population to the extent we were last year," Dubberley said. "We're wanting to have a slight reduction this year, but really just wanting to maintain that level."

In taking over wolf management from the federal government, Wyoming committed to maintaining at least 10 breeding pairs of wolves and at least 100 individual animals outside of Yellowstone and the Wind River Indian Reservation, in the central part of the state.

The game department considers other factors, in addition to hunting, that kill wolves when it sets hunting quotas, Dubberley said.

Even as the state allows wolf hunting, environmental groups continue to challenge the decision to end federal protection for Wyoming wolves.

Tim Preso, a Montana lawyer, represents a coalition of environmental groups challenging the wolf delisting in the pending Washington, D.C., case. He said Wednesday the case is at a point where the judge could rule at any time whether it was proper for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to turn over wolf management to Wyoming.

"We would like to get a ruling as soon as possible," Preso said.

The environmental groups argue that allowing wolf hunting in Wyoming raises concerns about the ability of the wolf population in Yellowstone to maintain connections with other wolf populations in the northern Rockies, Preso said.

"We've raised a number of issues concerning the adequacy of Wyoming's legal safety net for wolves in the absence of Endangered Species Act protections," Preso said. "And we'd like to get those ruled on as soon as possible because we're obviously heading into another hunting season, and we're going to be heading into another season of peak wolf disbursal over the winter."

Cheyenne lawyer Harriet Hageman represents the Wyoming Wolf Coalition, which includes several Wyoming county governments and agricultural and sportsmen groups that have entered the litigation to support wolf hunting.

"I think that Wyoming's wolf management plan obviously is appropriate and necessary to protect our other industries as well as to protect the wolf population, so I think we're on the right track with that," Hageman said.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(9) Comments

  1. reality22
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    reality22 - November 05, 2013 11:22 pm
    CC That is like saying the whitetails of Florida match the whitetails of Wisconsin..... What a bunch of hog wash CC! You know full well the Northern Canada wolves are not canis lupus irremotus..... Judge Downes agreed that what they introduced into Yellowstone was "unlawful" ........ it is NOT as clear cut as you make it out to be!
  2. reality22
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    reality22 - November 05, 2013 11:01 pm
    CC's information can be taking with a little salt .... Right with they only kill the weak sick and old.. and killing wolves increases depredation.
  3. pappy
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    pappy - October 04, 2013 1:04 pm
    Sorry CC but your number are pure guesses. How did they get such a count, we can't even get and accurate count now. Most layman counts are hugely exggerated and yet you want to use them as fact. Were they turning all these wolves in for a bounty? Think about it 100,000 wolves killed that would be more wolves killed than are currently elk in WY. they did that just by trapping and hunting. If they were doing this annually as you suggest they would have had to have 500, 000 wolves based on the current science. That's as many wolves as there are people in WY plus or minus. The use of antedotal information as fact is very misleading tactic.
  4. normal
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    normal - October 03, 2013 7:01 pm
    If we're going to enlist statistics from the 1870's then let's look at every population group. You can't throw out numbers of just one species and then make a logical/accurate comparison. Doesn't work that way. Have to give you credit for the mis-direction though, to the untrained eye it looks convincing, just not true.
    Based on the actual vs. reported numbers of wolves the hunting quota is probably much too low, unfortunately it will take another ten years to find out. You should focus on your real beef (no pun intended), and stick to demonizing the hunting community. It's really that obvious...
  5. Cody Coyote
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    Cody Coyote - October 03, 2013 5:11 pm
    No,Sassy, the grey wolf from Canada is identical genetically to the wolves we extirpated. The differences in sub species are less than the varieties and breeds of domestic dogs. The are 37 subspecies of wolves. One of those is every domestic dog you have ever known, from Poodle to Great Dane. Canis lupus familiaris. Only the Australian Dingo is a separate subspecie.

    ALL the so-called sub-sub species of Grey Wolves are not. The wolves put in Yellowstone from Canada were at home there 200 years ago.I The next nearest subspecie of wolf is the Easter Timber Wolf or the Mexican Wolf. The notion that we put the wrong wolf back into Yellowstone is wrong. I t's an argument that has no basis but refuses to go away. It says more about people's lack of science understanding.

    Thanks for asking. Hope this clears the fog a bit for those who should know.
  6. Wyo_Rangeman
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    Wyo_Rangeman - October 03, 2013 1:46 pm
    If we allow the wolves that are already in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to go unchecked, then the only thing that you will see are wolves. It has been proven that wolves will make kills for amusement. In today's day and age, we need to manage for multiple uses which includes livestock grazing. Ranchers are told how many cattle they can graze in a ceratin area by the federal land managers. The ranchers are also told how long those cattle can graze in a certain area. This principle is called carrying capacity (or grazing capacity), and is basic math. As far as your "roaming the wilderness" comment, last time I looked folks were not able to "drive" around within the boundaries of a wilderness area, that kind of defeats the purpose. I agree that ranchers complain about losing livestock to wolves, but those same ranchers depend on those head of livestock to make a living. Think about if your organization/agency/company cut your pay unexpectedly due to nature, how would you react? I am sure you would complain too, the only difference is that your situation would not be as highly visible to the public. Cody is right, we eradicated the wolf from this area. But we cannot turn back the hands of time, and screaming about how livestock producers "complain" is not productive. We must move forward with the management of the wolf, and let's all face it, wildlfie management requires the removal of some animals. Why is it that everyone gets up in arms when we perform animal removal through hunting?
  7. Sassy
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    Sassy - October 03, 2013 12:12 pm

    Yeah but-can you describe the differences in wolves? I understand today we have a breed other than a Grey wolf.
  8. nls
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    nls - October 03, 2013 9:39 am
    Cody Totally agree.. But it comes down to the ranchers complaining about loosing there live stock to the wolves , Ha If you ask me there are far to many cattle roaming the wilderness where you should be able to drive around and see elk, deer, wolves you see Cattle. Cattle Cattle.. Maybe someone should put a number on the amount of cattle in a certain area.
    When ever I hear about these wolf hunts I just have to shake my head. all the idiots out there with guns trying to kill one of these is quite scary.
  9. Cody Coyote
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    Cody Coyote - October 03, 2013 9:02 am
    I sincerely hope Game & Fish built in enough of a " fudge factor " in establishing this year's wolf hunt quota, to allow for the inevitable and robust number of poached wolves and SSS vengeance kills.

    I was doing a little research this week on the estimated population numbers of Wolves in the Rocky Mountain states after the Civil War and before we started bringing droves of cattle to Wyoming and extirpating the Grey Wolf. Accounts from the 1880's indicated that just Montana alone was killing over 100,000 wolves annually in the late 1870's. ( there are almost no accounts anecdotal or otherwise for Wyoming's eradication program early on ) Mitochondrial DNA studies of wolf pelt and skull specimens from that era preserved at the Smithsonian established that the minimum standing population of Grey Wolves between the Great Lakes and the Great Basin was not less than 380,000 according to genetic spread.

    Today , Wyoming has a whopping 140 wolves and Montana about 800. A very very tiny fraction of what once lived here. Just saying...to those of you who blather we have too many wolves.
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