Gray Wolves

After years of court battles, federal negotiations and legislative challenges, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is now preparing to take over management of the wolf population in the state.

The Wyoming Legislature passed a bill this session that changes the state’s wolf management law to comport with an agreement that Governor Matt Mead and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reached last year over how to end federal protection for the animals. The bill also creates a flexible zone around Yellowstone National Park in which wolves would be managed as a protected game species. Outside that zone, they would be classified as unprotected predators. That puts the onus on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to now come up with a plan that includes licensed hunts that are predicted to start this fall. Director Scott Talbott joined us to talk about the departments responsibilities.

Creating regulations is the next step towards getting wolves in Wyoming removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in Wyoming. At this time under the agreement, Wyoming will maintain at least 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation. The current Trophy Game Management Area in northwest Wyoming will extend about 50 miles to the south from its current location near the Wyoming/Idaho border. Wolves in this seasonal expansion area will be managed as trophy game from October 15 to the last day of February. During the rest of the year, wolves in this seasonal expansion area will be designated as predators. See the details of the proposed regulations HERE.

We remind all sportsmen that until the proposed regulations are adopted, that wolves remain an Endangered Species and under the current regulations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will consider the proposed regulations governing gray wolf management and gray wolf hunting in Wyoming at its April 25-26 meeting in Casper. The regulations specify the Trophy Game Management Area boundary; the department’s process for collecting genetic material to monitor genetic connectivity within the northern Rocky Mountains; rules for lethal take of gray wolves; options for non-lethal gray wolf control; population management goals; hunt areas; and seasons and bag limits for a potential 2012 gray wolf hunting season.

There will be a number of meetings held around the state for those who would like to have their voices heard about the regulations and the upcoming hunting seasons. That schedule follows:

City Date Location Time
Cody March 28 Holiday Inn 7:00 p.m.
Laramie March 28 Albany County Fairgrounds – Cafeteria Room 6:00 p.m.
Sheridan April 3 Sheridan College – Whitney Bldg – CTEL Room 7:00 p.m.
Casper April 4 Casper Regional Office 7:00 p.m.
Pinedale April 9 Pinedale Library 7:00 p.m.
Green River April 10 Green River Regional Office 7:00 p.m.
Jackson April 10 Snow King Resort – Teton Room 7:00 p.m.
Lander April 11 Lander Regional Office 6:00 p.m.