As of Dec. 31, 24 wolves were harvested. The state had allocated 26 in the wolf trophy area. The season ended at the conclusion of the year.
In 2012, the quota was 52, with 43 taken in the trophy area.
The quota was reduced by 50 percent in 2013 for a simple reason, according to Alan Dubberley, Wyoming Game & Fish Department spokesman in Cheyenne.
“We weren’t looking to reduce the population like last year,” Dubberley said on Dec. 19.
The quota will change from year to year, he said.
According to an arrangement reached with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service when Wyoming took over wolf management in 2012, the state must manage for 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation. Game & Fish is managing for more wolves than required by the federal government.
“The population is doing very well,” Dubberley said.
“I would definitely say the population is healthy in the trophy game management area,” said Dan Thompson in a Dec. 31 email. “We saw increased pup production in some areas and will know better what kind of recruitment we had overall with our end-of-the-year monitoring.”
Thompson is the Game & Fish statewide supervisor of the large carnivore management section in Lander.
The department will decide what the 2014 quota is this spring. “We don’t know right now,” Dubberley said.
“We will not have an idea of what our quotas will be for 2014 until we have our end-of-the-year estimates for total wolves and total number of breeding pairs,” Thompson said. “I won’t speculate on that number until we have the data in hand. Once our annual report is done, we will go through the standard season-setting process and quota development throughout the trophy game management area as we have in the past two years.
“I would add that hunters and people living and recreating in areas that wolves inhabit have been very cooperative and supportive of wolf management,” he said. “Obviously views differ greatly on wolves, but one thing is sure: Everyone has an opinion on the matter. This is an ever-evolving process of management and the definition of the adaptive management process.”
Thompson said Game & Fish wants to include all voices in the decision-making process.
“We will use all the information we have available to develop our harvest quotas for next year, taking into account the multiple factors associated with all forms of wildlife management, very well aware of the microscopic view many stakeholders have on wolves in Wyoming,” he said.
In the predator zone, comprising at least 80 percent of the state, 37 wolves had been killed in 2013 as of Dec. 31. Wolves can be shot on sight in the predator zone.