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Now is not the time to cut back on wolf hunting

May 24, 2013 - Ron Collins, Riverton

Editor:

Mr. Peck makes the statement, "hunters had a good season, bagging every one of the available wolves licensed in the first hunt," and, "as it is, with the full allotment of wolves having been taken, the state is wise to cut back on the number of licenses later this year." Those statements are not true.

It is much easier to purchase a Black Footed Ferret Flask or a Maynard Moose Coin Bank off the Wyoming Game and Fish Department web site than to find harvest information. However, if one is willing to drill down deep enough, all the information is there. Wyoming had 12 wolf trophy hunting areas with a conservative quota of animals to be harvested in each area. At season's end; the quota was only reached in half of these hunt areas.

Wyoming sold 4,492 Resident wolf licenses and another 198 wolf tags to Non-Residents to bag 52 wolves in these 12 trophy areas and couldn't pull it off. At season's end, only 42 wolves were harvested out of the trophy areas.

Wyoming agreed to maintain 100 wolves with 10 breeding pairs in order for the Federal protection to be lifted. At the end of 2011, there were estimated to be a minimum of 328 wolves in Wyoming, including 48 packs and 27 breeding pairs. Outside of Yellowstone Park, there were a minimum estimated 224 wolves, 36 packs, and 19 breeding pairs. That's not counting this year's offspring.

Some other interesting wolf information: Wyoming taxpayers spent over a half million dollars last year to manage wolves in Wyoming. Since wolves are equal opportunity biters, they also munched 157 head of livestock along with three dogs in 2012. That only cost $195, 254 in compensation.

Moose harvest in Wyoming has dropped from 1160 in 2002 down to 460 in ten short years. The number of elk licenses issued in the Sunlight Basin area has been lowered by 75 percent over the past 10 years. Since 2000, 75 percent of the collared cow elk that met their demise through predation have been killed by wolves

The Wyoming Game and Fish has a public opinion period open till June 12. We can each voice our opinion by writing to:

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Casper Regional Office

3030 Energy Lane

Casper, WY. 82604

There is a link to the public opinion wolf tag issue on the Wyoming Game and Fish web site, but chances are; you will buy a mallard duck doorstop before you ever find it.

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