Dec 19, 2012 The Associated Press

Elk harvest down at refuge

JACKSON -- Hunters reported killing fewer than half the typical number of elk at the National Elk Refuge near Jackson this year.

Hunters reported killing 87 elk on the refuge this year. Hunters have killed an average of 180 elk a year on the refuge over the past dozen years. Last year's total was 110, which was the second-lowest total.

Eric Cole is biologist on the refuge. He says it's possible that more reports will still come in from this year's hunt.

Cole attributes this year's low harvest to late migration and animals getting smarter about a hunt on the elk refuge's south unit.

Managers hope to reduce the wintering elk herd to 5,000 animals, down from about 7,700 that stayed there last winter.

Wyoming part of cigarette deal

Three U.S. cigarette makers say they have reached a settlement with 17 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico to resolve a dispute over payments required under a 1998 anti-smoking agreement.

Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Inc. said Tuesday that they will give the states their portion of more than $4 billion in disputed payments. In exchange, the manufacturers will receive credits against future payments.

The payments stem from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement that ultimately prevented companies from being sued by state governments for the costs of health care for smokers. The settlement required a combination of yearly payments to states and voluntary restrictions on tobacco advertising and marketing.

The states participating in the settlement are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Comment sought on livestock trailing

KEMMERER -- The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on a proposal to issue livestock trailing permits in Uinta County.

Livestock trailing is the "cattle drive" process wherein livestock are moved over ground in a herd to market.

The federal agency is taking comments until Jan. 18 on the proposal. The agency is preparing an environmental assessment that will analyze the proposed action and alternatives. The analysis is set to be completed next September.

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