May 9, 2013 The Associated Press

Comment sought on cougar regs

JACKSON -- The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is taking public comment on proposed mountain lion hunting quotas and rules.

Two proposed changes in rules would ban hunting with dogs after dark and would prohibit chasing lions with hounds in closed areas or seasons.

Hunters would also no longer be able to run dogs in closed hunting areas with no intent to harvest a mountain lion.

Game and Fish biologist Dan Thompson said Game and Fish is proposing to boost quotas in three of the 33 lion hunting areas in the state. No areas would have reductions in quotas.

In addition, several other areas are being recommended for year-round hunting, up from seven months of the year.

G&F faces more budget cutting

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Scott Talbott says the agency faces another round of budget cuts unless lawmakers increase its funding.

Talbott told a legislative committee Wednesday that the agency will have to slash $1.5 million to $2 million from its fiscal year 2014-15 budget if nothing is done.

The cut would be on top of a $2 million reduction put in place in fiscal year 2012-13 and a $4.6 million cut that is being finalized for fiscal year 2013-14.

Talbott says jobs or key services could be purged if more cuts are needed. But he added that many low-priority services already have been cut.

A proposal to raise agency fees was rejected in the 2013 Legislature.

Hunter accused of baiting

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- A big game outfitter who shot and killed a collared wolf from Yellowstone National Park is intentionally luring the animals by leaving dead sheep carcasses in a pile, leaders of a wolf advocacy group said.

"Make no mistake about that, it's definitely intentional baiting," Marc Cooke, president of Wolves of the Rockies, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

William Hoppe shot and killed a 2-year old, female wolf Sunday near where 13 sheep were killed in April. He notified Fish, Wildlife and Parks warden Chris Kerin that he killed the wolf using one of his two shoot-on-sight permits the agency issued after the sheep were killed. The permits are valid for 45 days and only allow wolves to be shot on the property where the sheep were killed.

In mid-April, Hoppe, an outspoken opponent of wolves, bought about 30 sheep and started raising them on his property along the Yellowstone River near Gardiner.

On April 24, he awakened to find that two wolves had killed five ewes and eight lambs.

Hoppe "deliberately put the sheep on his property ... knowing that the wolves would kill them," Cooke charged.

Hoppe told the Chronicle he was going to move the rest of the sheep closer to his house and that he had disposed of the dead sheep in a bone pile in the area where they were killed.

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