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Feb 28, 2013 - The Associated Press

Montana wolf hunt toll: 222

BILLINGS, Mont. -- With at least 222 gray wolves killed by Montana hunters and trappers this winter, Gov. Steve Bullock and wildlife officials say they now have the right rules in place as the state seeks to reduce the predator's population to about 400 animals statewide.

Montana's wolf season ends Thursday. Harvest numbers are up roughly 25 percent from last winter.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Jeff Hagener says he expects at most a modest drop in the population as a result.

But a new law loosens hunting and trapping rules for coming seasons.

Bullock said in an interview this week that letting hunters take up to three wolves and the elimination of no-kill zones around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks gives the state the leeway it needs to effectively manage the animals.

Study focuses on deer reflectors

Wyoming transportation officials are studying whether highway reflectors are working to prevent collisions between vehicles and deer.

The devices create a moving pattern across the road when they reflect vehicles' headlights and are meant to discourage deer from approaching until vehicles have passed.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Conservation Research Center of Teton Science Schools are evaluating effects of wildlife warning reflectors this winter around Thermopolis. The study will move to Big Horn and Fremont counties next year.

Part of the study involves covering the reflectors to study how deer behave with and without the reflectors working.

Principal investigator Morgan Graham says the study will help determine factors influencing collisions between wildlife and vehicles; the reflectors' effects on collision rates; and effects on deer behavior.

Governor signs trafficking bill

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming now has its own laws barring human trafficking.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that Gov. Matt Meat signed House Bill 133 into law on Wednesday.

It makes it a felony to knowingly recruit, harbor, receive or participate in other ways in forced labor or sexual servitude. It also offers protection for people who have been trafficked.

Violators will be subject to up to 50 years in prions and fines up to $10,000.

Until now, Wyoming was the only state without its own human trafficking laws and relied on the federal government to prosecute such cases.

Senate relents on appointments

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Senate has reversed itself and voted to confirm Gov. Matt Mead's appointments to the state Public Service Commission.

The Senate on Wednesday voted to reconsider its earlier rejection of Kara Brighton and William Russell to serve on the commission, which considers utility rates and other matters.

The Senate on Tuesday had voted to reject Brighton and Russell after Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, complained that they were both lawyers, as the last several commissioners also had been.

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Legislature, Wyoming