Wyoming digest

Feb 24, 2014 The Associated Press

Teen kills attempted abductor

GILLETTE -- Campbell County sheriff's officials say a 15-year-old boy fatally shot a man who was trying to abduct a woman in Wright.

The shooting happened Wednesday night.

Sheriff's officials said Friday they had responded to reports of an attempted abduction at a home in Wright. They arrived to find 48-year-old Sammy Michael Fears, of Casper, wounded in the driveway. Fears died on the way to the hospital.

It's not clear how the teen became involved. Sheriff's Cpl. Gary Sams says the teenage shooter had no family relationship to either Fears or the woman.

He says Fears and the woman had a history of domestic violence going back a few years.

The teen has not been charged.

Snowmobilers missing in Wyoming

SHERIDAN -- A search is underway in northern Wyoming for five missing snowmobilers.

Sheridan County Sheriff's Office Lt. Mark Conrad says the group was reported missing Friday by the owner of the Bear Lodge Resort.

They were last seen about 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

All five of the snowmobilers are from North Dakota and are considered to be experienced.

Search and rescue teams from Sheridan, Johnson and Big Horn counties were participating in the search.

Conrad said visibility in the area is low, and he hopes the men have hunkered down somewhere.

Head count up at elk refuge

JACKSON -- Managers of the National Elk Refuge say they've counted more elk on the refuge this winter than at any time in the past 15 years. Refuge biologist Eric Cole says the latest count is close to 8,300 animals. That's an increase of nearly 2,000 over the number counted last year, and the most counted since 1998. The average count is about 6,600 animals.

The elk refuge is located just north of Jackson in Jackson Hole. Each winter, refuge officials put out alfalfa pellet feed to help elk survive after snow covers up their natural forage. Cole says it's not yet known if the higher count is because of a bigger elk population or a change in elk behavior.

No change in Wyoming rig total

HOUSTON -- Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by seven this week to 1,771.

The Houston firm said in its weekly report Friday that 1,425 rigs were exploring for oil and 342 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,761 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained six rigs, Alaska gained three and Pennsylvania gained one.

Louisiana, New Mexico and North Dakota each lost two rigs while Kansas, Ohio and Oklahoma each lost one. Arkansas, California, Colorado, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

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