44 Wolves Taken in First Wolf Hunt in Wyoming Since 2013
FILE – This July 16, 2004, file photo, shows a gray wolf at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn. Hunters killed 76 wolves during Wyoming’s first season for legally hunting wolves since 2013 after the state won back the authority to manage the animals. (AP Photo/Dawn Villella, File) The Associated Press
By BOB MOEN, Associated Press
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Seventy-six wolves were killed by hunters and others in Wyoming last year when the state resumed its management of the animals.
Ken Mills, lead wolf biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said 43 wolves were legally hunted and one illegally hunted in the state during a licensed hunting season from October through December.
That met the state’s hunting quota of 44 set by game managers.
“It got off to a pretty fast start in October and we closed a number of hunt areas early,” Mills said. “Then November was really quiet for the hunt areas that were open, and in December it picked back up, and I think probably snow had a part to do with it … which helps people with tracking and seeing wolves.”
Mills said wolves are difficult to hunt because they are elusive and avoid people.
“So it’s hard to actually cross paths with one unless you really know a specific pack or put in a lot of time,” he said.
It was the state’s first licensed wolf hunting season since 2013. No licensed wolf hunting was allowed in Wyoming in the following years because wolves were placed under federal protection and management by a court ruling. A federal appeals court in 2017 lifted endangered species protection for wolves in Wyoming, allowing the state to take over management of the animals.
Mills said another 32 wolves were killed in 2017 in areas of the state where they are considered predators and can be killed without a license.
There are about 380 wolves in Wyoming. Wolves remain protected in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and on the Wind River Indian Reservation, and the state is committed to maintaining at least 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside the parks and the reservation.
Areas adjacent to the parks are subject to a tightly controlled hunting season. However, in much of the rest of the state, wolves are considered predators that can be shot on sight without a license any time of the year.
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