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Wolf hunting coming?

Game and Fish explains Wyoming wolf plan

Wolves could be delisted and hunted in Wyoming by fall 2012 under a plan hashed out this summer by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

Fish and Wildlife will publish a preliminary rule delisting Wyoming wolves in October.

“If everything goes smoothly, wolves will be delisted in Wyoming by next fall,” said Mark Bruscino, Game and Fish bear management program supervisor, who has been working on the plan.

“The agencies want to move this forward as soon as possible,” Bruscino said.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will meet in Casper Sept. 14 to review and approve the plan, which would make most of the state a predator zone. Those wishing to comment must do so by Sept. 9.

Under the plan, Wyoming will maintain at least 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside Yellowstone National Park, Bruscino told a group of 65 Thursday evening in Cody.

Under the plan, the trophy game area in northwest Wyoming would remain, and a “flex” zone would be set aside as a trophy zone from Oct. 15 to the end of February to allow genetic exchange between Wyoming and Idaho wolves. The zone runs roughly south of Jackson to just north of Afton and east from the Idaho border to Daniel.

“It (the plan) is fundamentally and irredeemably flawed,” said Chuck Neal of Cody, who attended the meeting. “They’re treating it (wolves) as some exotic virus and they must keep this virus near the park.”

In the rest of the state, and the flex zone, from March 1 through Oct. 14, wolves could be shot on sight.

“Packs just don’t persist outside that (trophy game) area,” Bruscino said.

In 1999, two cattle were verifiably killed by wolves in Wyoming. By 2004, 75 cattle and 17 sheep were killed by wolves in Wyoming. In 2010, 26 cattle and 33 sheep were killed in Wyoming, according to Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan statistics.

Livestock depredations did increase over time, but livestock-attacking wolves were killed, which has reduced livestock depredations in recent years, Bruscino said.

“The state is controlled by the livestock industry,” Neal said.

Cattle should not have carte blanche on public lands. Grazing rights on public lands are a privilege, not a right. Wolf depredations can’t be used as justification to remove wolves on public land, Neal said.

Elk have been decimated by wolves, said Rick Adair, who lives on Green Creek above the Red Barn on the North Fork of the Shoshone River.

He used to see plenty of elk near his home. Now he is more likely to spot a grizzly bear than a bull elk. Hunting wolves will still limit elk population recovery, Adair said.

“It’s overdue,” said Kevin Hurley, recently retired Game and Fish bighorn sheep coordinator, who favors wolf delisting. “it’s time.”

Migrating elk, like those in the Sunlight area moving to Yellowstone for the summer are producing 13 calves per 100 cows. However, wolves are not the only culprits. Bears are taking plenty of calves too, especially in the spring, according to Game and Fish statistics.

High expectations of big elk population numbers may not be met with wolf delisting. And wily wolves may not be easy targets. In the Canadian province of Alberta there are 4,000 wolves, but only around 180 are harvested annually by hunters, said Mike Healy, Game and Fish commissioner for District 5, from Worland.

Still, Healy voiced what many believed Thursday evening, that delisting the canines and halting further lawsuits was long overdue.

“Wolves do kill elk,” Neal said, “but they aren’t going to eliminate elk.”

Neal said 100 wolves is a token number to demonstrate to the world that Wyoming is tolerating wolves.

Because of wolves, elk are in the higher country, thus allowing willows and berry-bearing plants to recover below in mountain drainages,  he said.

Wolves are needed to maintain the ecological balance, Neal said.

“They should be treated as valid members of our ecological community,” Neal said.   

Healy said he believes Mead can get a wolf bill passed by the Wyoming Legislature.

“It was very close to what they passed before (in 2006),” Healy said.

If the commission approves the plan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife can publish a proposed delisting rule Oct. 1. The Legislature does not have to act before Oct. 1, said Renny MacKay, communications director for Mead in an email Friday.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., wants a rider attached to the budget bill to prevent future wolf lawsuits, because the plan won’t hold up to judicial review, Neal said.

“Whether she can get that done or not remains to be seen,” Bruscino said.

In the future, if wolves dropped below 100 in Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife could conduct a status review and wolves could be relisted, but not if the population can rebound quickly, Bruscino said.

Send comments to Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Attn. Mark Nelson, Wolf Plan Comments, 5400 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne, WY 82006, or fax them to 307-777-4650.

The draft plan can be downloaded from the department’s website at


  • posted by cap

    September 12, 2011 1:59 pm

    Our forefathers eliminated the wolf's for a real good reason: they kill livestock and all kinds of wildlife.
    If you want to see a wolf go to Yellowstone park. Any wolfs outside of the park should be KILLED ON SITE.
    I think we should reintroduce wolfs and Grizzly's in Central Park, then see how fast they are elimitated there!

  • posted by Wyoming girl

    September 02, 2011 6:59 pm

    I completely agree with you A.M. The wolves need to be regulated, I dont think they should all be killed off but that is why there is a limit on how many can be killed, they are thinning out our elk and deer population and as said before this feeds alot of people from wyoming, and anyone of you that are complaining about the cattle better think twice before you take a bite of a hamburger, in fact think twice before you take a bite of any meat, the wolves are affecting the ranchers the most and its the ranchers that provide you with this food, people are worrying about the economy so bad maybe you ought stop thinking about the men in business suits and instead start thinking about the backbone of this country, the ranchers and farmers who would be out of business if all of you tree huggers had your way....

  • posted by Wyo Coyote

    August 31, 2011 8:00 pm

    Lets just forget about states rights and the Federal (Feral) Govt. again cramming some special interest agenda down our throats. Who pays for Wolf damages? We the taxpayer of course. If the Feds want them in Yellowstone then fine. Outside of Yellowstone on any state/private land I say BLOW THEM AWAY...with prejudice. How about the state of Wyoming takes care of its own business the way the constitution intended. If you want to see a Wolf go to Canada.

  • posted by Wyoming Gal

    August 31, 2011 6:03 pm

    As a Daughter of Wyoming (Evanston) it does my heart good to see that some in the state will stand up for wolves. Glad to see we haven't gone the way of Idaho (Butch "the butcher" Otter). My family hunts. We always have, we don't own cattle that graze BLM land for free..oh my! Our Elk and Deer have been reduced for many reasons. Not just wolves. Wolves are being used as a (excuse the pun) scape goat. You fear what you don't know. What has the pine beetle done to the trees where the elk/deer used to run and hide? How many trophy hunters does the state want to attract? Trophy hunters that bring in big bucks especially around Northern Wyoming/Tetons. Big long wolf. You're touching our money say the politicans! Many people come to SEE the wolves and elk and deer. Not dead. Not mounted in the Silver Dollar Saloon, but free and wild. Why don't we worry more about the oil field barons and what they AREN'T telling us about this fracking thing where they shoot toxic chemicals into the ground to get their almighty dollar out. How many of you drink from wells? How many of your precious cattle/sheep do? Watch yourselves folks, Big oil is about to stick it to us, and we will be left with a legacy of tainted water not only for our families but for our stock and wild animals. Then we will have a problem far larger than the wolf. Oil companies won't tell anyone what the chemicals are that they are using. And we are worried about a natural predator? Oregon has a pay back program where if you can PROVE cattle/sheep were killed by wolves, and you can tell, then they reimburse the rancher. Why can't we do that in Wyoming? Why can't we be part of that solution. Or it is just easier to kill them off. Think we are going to know how many wolves are killed off by poachers? Who's gonna watch them? A.M. Go do your drinking now. Maybe someday you will get your chance to shoot on site...maybe you will be the bug too. I'll drink to the day when the wolf gets you! Has nothing to do with Tree huggers. We hunt too, but we respect what has been taken and always will. "Them Wolves" thats darn well in'tell-e-gent'

  • posted by A. M.

    August 31, 2011 1:01 pm

    Them WOLVES are taking away what has been there for many years, the elk, deer, moose and more. We (hunters) rely on these animals for feeding our familys. And I am so sick of going to where they use to be and seeing wolf tracks and NO game! I know of many good elk and deer areas that were full. We came back the next season and the wolves had moved in a little more and you were lucky to see a small herd of deer and maybe 3 or 4 elk. We dont need to kill them all cause they are part of the chain, BUT we do need to take their packs down so that OUR food dont go bye bye and get put on the list that the wolves were taken off of! We went just the other day and were doing a PRE hunt looking where the elk have been for many years and all over the place we seen wolf tracks and last years scat piles from the elk. Never seen an elk 1. I will be drinking to the day that we can SHOOT ON SIGHT!!! You guys want a tree to hug move to idaho or utah. Leave us hunters alone!

  • posted by Heart of the Wolf Organization

    August 30, 2011 9:43 pm

    This is outright savagery that's happening here. The agenda that's going on is the undermining of the natural laws and environmental policy that's been in place for almost 50 years. The Endangered Species Act has been violated, the wolves are being killed with their rights stripped away. If this happened to people, people would have a problem with it. Maybe. People know that the wolf is the keeper of the land and wilderness. It's a scientific fact. And people fear and hate it for that. People want to destroy what they fear. And it's not going to stop with the wolf, but the rest of the planet. This is because the human population has grown to such a level that the planet cannot sustain it under the current system of economy that we have. Wolves also don't destroy all the livestock. In fact disease, and other factors, usually kill them off. And not all sport hunters are sold on this. An ESPN poll proved that at least half polled were not even interested in hunting. Even now there are Idaho sport hunters not willing to go to Idaho over this decision against wolves.

  • posted by Get Real

    August 30, 2011 6:28 pm

    We are with you, dutch cheyenne. The predation of cattle they complain about happens mainly on the public lands they graze for almost nothing. Also, they get reimbursed 7 calfs for 1 wolf kill (decided by whom?). You wnat natural balance- get the cows off, problem solved. Same deal for the wild horses they are running to death, so that they can graze destructive cows on the land. They have to feed the elk in feed areas, because the cows eat all the forage, and they lie about the reason. My family and I went to a meeting, when cornered, Fish and Game admit there is no science behind their plan, big suprise. They keep doing this even though the majority of citizens have spoken that the want the horses and all wildlife to have a place on the land. Powerful lobbies at work here for decades. They are trying to make it sound like there is nothing that can be done - then why the public meetings? Write to your legislators, speak out, and go to the meetings to be heard.

  • posted by rhona grammer

    August 30, 2011 3:35 pm

    I agree with dutch cheyenne. I'm just so sick of seeing the name of the Killer of the Interior, Ken Salazar, mixed up in anything to do with the sinister and deadly extermination of our Wildlife. When they're all gone, will HE be satisfied? What IS this man's agenda? These are all God's Creatures, put here on this Earth for a reason. They all have a part to play in the environment. Oh, the environment, Who cares about that? Ken Salazar will not be alive when all these descisions he's making will be felt in our World. But, our children and his will suffer the consequences of his determination to anhialate everything with four legs.What kind of parents must this man have had to make him so dedicated to the killing off of Americas' wild icons and treasures? I think he's becoming far too dangerous to be making these far reaching descisions.Please, people, get him out of office. Pray he gets out before he does any more Killing..And, pray for all the innocent animals whom he has in his sights..Time is RUNNING out for our Wild Horses and Burros, being rounded up and tortured by Ken Salazars' helicopters as we speak.Ask him, How many Wild Horses and Burros are dying as a result of these brutal roundups? and our Wolves; no hope for them to survive now that he wants them gone.. Too, too sad..

  • posted by Bruce Hemming

    August 30, 2011 1:16 pm

    If you hate wildlife wolves are great. The moose are almost wiped out in Wyoming great job wolf cult. You blind dumb down worshipping of one animal is ruining the eco system

  • posted by dutch cheyenne

    August 30, 2011 11:30 am

    I think it stinks,wolves are part of the Rockey,s and were there long before we came with our stinking cows.I think we should have a hunting season on people not the poor wolf

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