WY Wolves Now Under State Management
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
April 25, 2017
Governor Matt Mead announced today (Tuesday, April 25, 2017) the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. entered its final order upholding Wyoming’s wolf management plan which confirms Wyoming’s management of wolves. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will file notice in the Federal Register in the coming days.
"I am delighted that the Circuit Court recognized Wyoming’s commitment to manage a recovered wolf population," said Governor Mead. "Our wolf management plan is a result of years of hard work by people across Wyoming. We recognize the need to maintain a healthy wolf population. I thank former Secretaries of the Interior Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell as well as former Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for their commitment to getting this done. This is a good day for Wyoming."Wyoming managed wolves from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, a federal District Court judge reinstated federal protections for wolves on the premise that population commitments in Wyoming’s wolf management plan needed to be found in regulation or statute. Wyoming and the federal government appealed that decision and ultimately prevailed in the D.C. Circuit Court. For more information about management in both the Trophy Game Management Area and the predator zone, please contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Department or visit their website: wgfd.wyo.gov.
A press release from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department noted: Now that wolves are delisted, wolf hunting will not occur in the Trophy Game Management Area, as there is currently not an active season in place. This part of the state is where the majority of wolves in Wyoming live. To re-establish hunting seasons Game and Fish would use the current population estimates to develop hunt area quotas for hunting that would occur the following hunting season. All season development would go through the full public comment process as it has in the past.
Wolves outside the Trophy Game Management Area are now considered predatory animals as defined in state law and therefore can be harvested. Any wolf harvested in the predator zone must be checked in to the Game and Fish within 10 days of harvest. Game and Fish does not manage for population viability outside the Trophy Game Management Area as wolves that occur in these areas are much more prone to conflict with humans.
While wolves were on the endangered species list the federal government was still removing many wolves from the population to manage to reduce the high number of conflicts. Those removals and other human caused mortalities in past years will be considered in future wolf conservation decisions.