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September 04, 2012 8:12 am

Wolf hunting in Wyoming next month

Written by Gib Mathers

This wolf, photographed in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley, will be safe unless it strays outside Yellowstone. Wyoming will begin managing wolves in the state beginning Sept. 30, and wolf hunting will be allowed in in the state on Oct. 1. This wolf, photographed in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley, will be safe unless it strays outside Yellowstone. Wyoming will begin managing wolves in the state beginning Sept. 30, and wolf hunting will be allowed in in the state on Oct. 1. Photo courtesy Neale Blank

Hunters will get a shot at wolf hunting this fall in Wyoming.

The federal government announced Aug. 31 that Wyoming will have management of wolves beginning Sept. 30.

Whether conservation groups oppose delisting and file for an injunction or not, hunting in Wyoming will go forward at least through October, because any plaintiff filing against delisting must wait 30 days to file a notice after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service files Sept. 30 in the Federal Register.

Earthjustice’s clients have not decided at this time whether they will take legal action against delisting, said Jenny Harbine, a lawyer with Earthjustice in Bozeman, Mont.

Earthjustice is not a conservation group. Rather they represent conservation groups like Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Harbine said.  

However, because every federal decision regarding wolves in Wyoming has been litigated, it is a fairly safe bet that conservation groups will begin litigation anew.

Hunting would be allowed from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, except in area 12, which would be a seasonal trophy game management area in northern Lincoln and Sublette counties from Oct. 15 to Dec. 31.

The federal government’s decision to delist in Wyoming shows a blatant disregard for thousands of comments from Greater Yellowstone Coalition members opposing delisting.

“We’re deeply disappointed with the decision,” said Chris Colligan, coalition wildlife advocate in Jackson.

Wyoming’s wolf management plan is not biologically sound. More than 80 percent of the state is a predator zone where wolves can be shot on sight, Colligan said.

He did not know if the coalition would sue against delisting. He said the coalition will focus efforts on preventing wolf hunting in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. At this time wolf hunting is not allowed there. The coalition will also work toward protecting wolves around the Jackson area, Colligan said.

Wyoming is to maintain at least 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs, according to the service.

“Anyone who takes a wolf in areas of the state where wolves are designated as predatory animals is required to report the kill to a game warden, biologist, other personnel at a WGFD (Wyoming Game and Fish Department) regional office,” said the Game and Fish.

But Wyoming has no management authority in the predator zone, Colligan said.

“Today’s decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service allows Wyoming to return to the days of random wolf killing that led to the species’ endangerment in the first place,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Rather than provide the leadership necessary to ensure true recovery of wolves in the West, the service has once again allowed politics to win out over science and the law.”

“The Wyoming plan is a case of history repeating itself. It’s masquerading the same shoot-on-sight strategies that wiped wolves out as a management plan,” Fallon said. “And it will only serve to reverse what had been one of the world’s greatest wildlife conservation success stories.”

“Given that Wyoming’s plan has withstood U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review, legal challenges on the previous draft and has twice been reviewed by a panel of some of the best wolf biologists in the world, it would seem like a legal challenge would be contrary to proper management,” said Mark Bruscino, statewide supervisor of the large carnivore management section for the Game and Fish. “A court injunction would do nothing more than delay the proper management of wolves in Wyoming.”

Elk migrating from Sunlight Basin to Yellowstone National Park each spring have fallen prey to grizzly bears and wolves, but they may be rebounding a bit.

Bears and wolves can’t be hunted in Yellowstone, so Wyoming hunters must be given the opportunity to hunt the predators outside the park to protect elk, said Tim Metzler of Powell.

The coalition will be keeping track of the wolf population.

“Just how many wolves are we going to have on the landscape?” Colligan said. “We’re going to monitor that.”

10 comments

  • Comment Link September 04, 2012 1:54 pm posted by Dewey

    Hunting? That would mean fair game, fair pursuit, sportsmanship, and the hunter must not waste the meat of his prey.

    Wyoming's wolf management is not hunting. It's just termination with extreme prejudice. Let's call it what it is and what will shortly become a self-fulfilling prophecy for the redneck religion:

    Ethnic cleansing, or in a word: Caniside

  • Comment Link September 04, 2012 3:49 pm posted by Rich Truj

    I shoot a fair number of coyotes. From now on, instead of calling it coyote hunting, I'm going to call it yote termintation with extreme prejudice. And hopefully this fall, I'll also terminate a non endangered and non native Canadian wolf with extreme prejudice!!!

  • Comment Link September 04, 2012 7:34 pm posted by D. Parker

    GOOD TO KNOW THAT IGNORANCE IS ALIVE AND WELl IN THE FORM OF rt

  • Comment Link September 05, 2012 3:07 pm posted by WYOBOB

    I believe Wyoming's plan is brilliant! We have protected a recovered population of wolves but preserved the states right to contain wolves in NW Wyoming. Chris Colligan fails to understand that dispersing wolves do not contribute to the recovered population and can therefore be removed.

  • Comment Link September 07, 2012 5:56 am posted by Kat Brekken

    This just shows your ignorance. Canis lupus, the grey wolf, is what was here long before you were ever born. An arbitrary northern border of this country, does not mean those who live north of it are any different than those who live south of it.

  • Comment Link September 10, 2012 9:08 pm posted by Rich

    Whatever dufus, just like there's no difference between Alaskan and Shiras moose or Alaskan grizzlies and Yellowstone grizzlies...

  • Comment Link September 11, 2012 7:58 pm posted by mell o

    LOL.it is WILDLIFE MANAGMENT.i for one will LOVE the hunt and know that come friday the 14th through december 31st ill sell a whole lot of wolf tags and i hope that the state of wyoming fills its quota of wolves. for the season.

  • Comment Link September 13, 2012 6:07 am posted by Mike Hirsch

    I have been checking the Wyoming G&F website every day to purchase a license - so far - no option for buying tags - whats the holdup?? Maybe the lawsuits will stop the hunts AGAIN!!!!! Large predator control by hunters is seriouly needed n NW Wyoming. Dewey - go find another state to live in.

  • Comment Link September 20, 2012 7:44 am posted by Jeff olson

    I agree but don't know how to say it so mildly.

  • Comment Link October 25, 2012 11:46 am posted by Holly B

    This makes me mad, I'm not going to comment thoroughly because I would offend all you rednecks who love to have the excuse to shoot anything without getting into trouble. Go do something useful.

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