Wolf Hunt Didn't Decrease Population Much
Decline of 6%, instead of 24% predicted
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
April 20, 2018
In 2017, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department instituted a wolf hunting season with the biological objective to reduce the wolf population by approximately 24% within the trophy wolf hunt area, from 210 wolves to 160 wolves.
According to the agency’s annual wolf report for 2017, "Evaluation of the 2017 wolf hunting season data demonstrated the hunting strategy in 2017 did not reduce the wolf population as intended from ≥210 wolves to approximately 160 wolves (6% decline vs. 24% predicted decline)."
Other highlights from the report include:
• At least 347 wolves in ≥53 packs (including ≥23 breeding pairs) inhabited Wyoming on December 31, 2017. While Yellowstone National Park had 97 wolves in 11 packs, there were at least 238 wolves in 40 packs living outside the national park and the Wind River Reservation.
• Wolves were confirmed to have killed 194 head of livestock (113 cattle and 81 sheep) and 1 dog statewide in Wyoming in 2017. An additional 5 cattle were injured by wolves but survived. Of the 29 packs involved in ≥1 depredation statewide, 21 packs were involved in >2 depredations and 19 packs were involved in ≥3 depredations. Control efforts lethally removed 62 depredating wolves statewide in an effort to reduce livestock losses due to wolves. More than $500,000 was spent by agencies on wolf damage management, including control and compensation.
• Sixty-one percent of wolf packs that existed in Wyoming in 2017 were involved in livestock depredations, with most packs involved in repeated depredations.