A much smaller trophy game quota for gray wolf hunting is being proposed for this year’s fall season by Game and Fish.

The plan being discussed by officials would reduce the number of wolves that can be harvested during the Sept. 1-Dec. 31 season from 58 in 2018 to 34 this year.

The goal is to establish an end-of-year population of 160 wolves with 14 breeding pairs after hunting – incidental deaths and eradication of problem wolves are factored in.

“To hold it pretty stable” is how Ken Mills, the department’s wolf biologist, described the reason for that target population at a Tuesday night meeting at the Cody Library.

The 160 figure was the hoped-for wolf population count for 2018, but the actual count was 152 in the Wolf Trophy Game Management Area.

Wyoming must maintain a population of at least 100 wolves with 10 breeding pairs to follow regulations established when gray wolf management was turned over to the state after the animal was delisted from Endangered Species Act protection. However, the department does not want to come close to skirting the minimums or risk dipping below them.

“Pup recruitment was low,” Mills said of the wolves’ birth rate. “Only about 40 percent of the packs met breeding pair criteria.”

And there was a higher than anticipated human-caused mortality rate.

Recommendations will be advanced from such hearings with public comments to the Game and Fish Commission at its July 18-19 meeting in Green River for final approval.

A formula is applied to set a harvest limit based on minimum regulations, hunting pressure, wolves killed because they preyed on livestock, or for other causes.

Under this plan, the following quota limits have been proposed for Cody area hunt areas: Clarks Fork, 4; North Fork Shoshone River, 6; and South Fork Shoshone River, 2. Hunt seasons in given areas close when quotas are met.

The boundaries of the hunting areas themselves would not change.

Only a short time ago the population was more than 200 wolves.

“That is why the limit was so high,” Mills said.

Game and Fish is also recommending a hunting quota increase in area 19 for mountain lion. The proposal would boost the limit from 20 to 25. The quota for area 20 would remain at 18.

Some mountain lion hunt areas do not even approach their quotas, said biologist Justin Clapp.

(10) comments

Gunrunner Auctions

Wolves will always be hunted and in the near future the quotas will go up. The West could not have been settled without the eradication of wolves and grizzlies. Even now with lesser populations we have lots of cattle/wolves and human/grizzly problems. They will be controlled as they have ranged now into housing developments and ranches where they kill everything from pets to livestock to people. Soon we will have a grizzly season. We pay wildlife officers and biologists to examine these packs and populations and they advise the wildlife commissions. Rest assured hunting will always be with us. The person objecting to the killing of wolves and grizzlies needs to do some research into how many of these apex predators are killed by the Wildlife Service and Wyoming Game & Fish for doing damage or "three-striking". Wolves and grizzlies will always be killed - by correct licensing or not. Such is the way of the West. Imagine a time when no animals are killed. Myself, I love elk and deer and antelope. I also like big beefsteaks. The continuance of meat and trophy getting is obvious and will be done until the dawn of man.

myWY

“fare” not “fair”[wink]

myWY

Most people in Wyoming know that these are not our native wolves but rather much larger, more aggressive “transplants.” Ask ranchers how their cattle fair against them.

Justine

You have no facts on that. And wolves in Wyoming were extirpated in the 1930s so where would your evidence come from? If you have measurements on that and real scientific papers, please let us know. Otherwise, your opinion is just an urban legend.

myWY

@ Justine - If you were referring to my comments, please look at the U.S. National Park Service site which states, "In 1995 and 1996, 31 gray wolves from western Canada were relocated to Yellowstone in a restoration and reintroduction effort." These are the wolves now found in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

Wildlife Lover

The wolf hunt is a disgrace. To treat these animals as if they are just numbers instead of members of families with a social hierarchy. It’s no wonder pup recruitment is low how well would human children fare if their parents were slaughtered? Wyoming has so many millions of acres of public lands and they can only accommodate 150 wolves
The laws must change
Wild animal trophy hunting is a true disgrace
Along with trapping, snaring, hounding l, baiting and all the other misery inflicted on wildlife. It’s time to change the makeup of wildlife commissions and agencies or for a total reform
Most people are not for killing wildlife yet these agencies promote hunting and killing over conservation constantly pushing that long quoted myth that hunting is conservation

Wyo83

Most people, when surveyed, agree with hunting. It’s based on science. Also, hunters have contributed billions of dollars for wildlife conservation in this country.

Wyo83

Facts:
1)The majority of Americans agree with the right to hunt.
2)If it wasn’t for the work and money that hunters have provided to conservation, America would be a wasteland devoid of any game.
3) Hunters have provided billions of dollars to fund conservation and habitat restoration.
4) The primary killer of wolves is other wolves, this includes pups.

Wyo83

Your entire argument is based in emotion whereas animal management is based on science. Hunters have contributed billions of dollars to wildlife conservation and habitat restoration. Do you have to write checks for thousands of dollars to look at the pretty wolves? The answer is no, and you can thank a hunter for that.

Politically Incorrect

[censored][censored] dumb comment award winner.

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