Wyoming changes wolf management

(Photo taken from Pixabay) A gray wolf walks through snow.

As of April 25, 2017, a court mandate returned the management of the gray wolf to the State of Wyoming. Across the state, specifically the northwest corner, there are different regulations on the hunting of the gray wolf, affecting local populations.

In 2014, a judge’s decision put the gray wolf back on the endangered species list, protecting them from all hunting. Today, there are specific hunting regulations in certain regions, such as the Cody and Powell area, according the Wyoming Game and Fish website.

Hunting restrictions in the Northwest corner vary between prohibiting hunting, trophy game, seasonal management, to tribal management. In the rest of the state, including Laramie and Albany County, wolves are considered predatory animals and can be shot just the same as a coyote.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission is now managing wolves through an approved wolf management plan, regulation and State Statutes. All were approved and received public comment process, according the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website.

As for the southern part of the state, Kim Olson, Baggs Game Warden, discussed the effects of wolves in her district. She said there have been a few reports but none reported killed so far.

For the future of Baggs, Wyoming, Olson said there is a potential to be affected by wolves, but for right now there is not a large impact. There is a large possibility in the future that wolves will impact the behavior of other animals.

As for residents in the northern portion of Wyoming, effects of the sales of firearms, along with other hunting supplies have changed since the new regulations.

Bob Carter, owner of Gun Runner Firearms and Pawn, in Cody, Wyoming, commented about the change in sales since wolves were introduced into the area.

“We’ve been in business since ’94,” Carter said. “The decrease in sales stared, I don’t know, six, seven, eight, years ago.”

While the coordination between sales and the introduction of wolves may not be direct, Carter said, as a member of the Cody community, that sighting wildlife is less frequent.

For local Laramie businesses, the wolf population has not had the same effect.

Brandon Specht, owner and Vice President of West Laramie Fly Store, said how negligible the effects of wolves had on his sales.

“Are there wolves? More than likely,” said Specht.

While there is evidence that wolves had made an appearance in Southern Wyoming, their presence will not have a significant impact in the near future.

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