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January 10, 2013 8:43 am

Wyoming falls short of wolf quota

Written by Gib Mathers

Wyoming fell short of its 52 wolf quota in the trophy game zone by 10 when the season ended Dec. 31, 2012.

The limit was not reached, probably because wolves proved harder to hunt than many thought they would be, said Mark Bruscino, Wyoming Game and Fish Department statewide supervisor of the large carnivore management section in Cody.

There were 4,477 licenses sold making hunter success less than 1 percent. Nearly 96 percent of the hunters were from Wyoming and most of the wolves were taken by Wyoming hunters. There were 198 non-resident licenses sold, Bruscino said.

Forty-one wolves were lawfully killed in trophy game area in hunt areas 1-12. One additional wolf was killed illegally and was subtracted from the quota while the hunt area was open. “Therefore, 42 wolves counted towards open season hunt area quotas,” said a Gray Wolf Monthly Update for December 2012 by the Game and Fish.

That was area 8 in the Jackson unit after two hunters filled the quota at about the same time, said the update.

Five of the 12 areas reached their quotas.

Two wolves were illegally killed in the Gros Ventre area near Jackson in December. (See related story.)

The Absaroka management unit with four areas had the highest quota of 23 wolves and highest harvest of 22 wolves.

The quota was higher in the Absaroka unit because of a large population of wolves, livestock depredation by wolves, some concern about the impacts wolves have on wild ungulates and the fact that the unit is large, covering large tracts of national forest and wilderness areas, Bureau of Land Management land and private property, Bruscino said.

There was no documentation of livestock killed by wolves in December 2012. And there was no wolf conflict management actions taken in December 2012. But, that information is based on a draft report that is subject to change, said the update.

The Game and Fish in cooperation with Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board produced a brochure titled “Wolves in Wyoming: A guide for livestock producers,” to provide guidance for producers who experience damage to livestock from wolves. The brochure is available at Game and Fish regional offices or by downloading it at http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/Departments/Wildlife/pdfs/WOLF_LIVESTOCK_BROCHURE0003179.pdf.

In the predator zone, 26 wolves were killed, according to the summary.

All wolf mortalities will be factored into the 2012 minimum population estimate and considered during the 2013 season-setting process, said the update.

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