Wyoming Game and Fish Commission tries to sneak proposal to kill all Wyoming Wolves Outside Yellowstone


If anyone needed evidence that Wyoming can't be trusted to manage wolves, it came last week when Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted 3-2 to ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if it would entertain a proposal to split the wolf population outside Yellowstone National Park into two groups when state management was granted: (1) areas where the wolf would be a "trophy game animal," and (2) areas where the wolf would still be classified as a "predator" (the current Wyoming law for all of Wyoming). In the second zone, wolves would be shot at will.

The USFWS requires that before a state can be granted management, among other things, the wolf  must be removed from any state law that lists predator species.

Lest anyone think this is an attempt by Wyoming to compromise, consider the following. . .

The areas where the wolf would be a "trophy game animal" according the Game and Fish are the wilderness areas of the Shoshone and Bridger-Teton National Forests. Adjacent to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole these wilderness areas are the following: North Absaroka Wilderness, Washakie Wilderness, Teton Wilderness, Gros Ventre Wilderness, Winegar Hole Wilderness and the Jedediah Smith Wilderness.

There is not a single wolf pack that has any of these wilderness areas as its entire home range. During all, or part of the year, every wolf pack in Wyoming, outside Yellowstone Park would be inside the "predator zone." Inside Yellowstone, even Molly's Pack, would be exposed because the pack often leaves the Park to prey on wintering deer and elk along the North Fork of the Shoshone River outside the East Entrance.

Slated for destruction under this devious plan are the following wolf packs: Beartooth, Sunlight Basin, Absaroka, Greybull, Teton, Washakie, perhaps Molly's Pack and even the Druids, who sometimes leave the Park and go east a short distance into the proposed predator zone.

Upon the assumption of state management, we can expect the Service would give the State of Wyoming the radio frequencies of the radio collars. I would expect the wolves would be tracked and gunned down by air as quickly as possible after federal protection ended. That way the public would have no time to protest.

In an article Sept. 15 in the Billings Gazette, Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the Northern Rockies was quoted "Right now, wolves are considered a predator in Wyoming, which means the Game and Fish has no authority to regulate persecution. That's exactly why wolves disappeared in the first place." Good for Ed!

Wyoming Game and Fish is presently preparing its management plan for wolves. It is expected next February.

The newspaper in Pocatello, the "Idaho State Journal" smelled Wyoming proposal fast, and knew it applied to Idaho and Montana as well.

Editorial: States should adopt logical wolf plans. "Need more proof that many western politicians are prone to shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to environmental management?"

"Look no further than our neighbors to the east. Wyoming's Game and Fish Commission, no doubt with support from the state's legislature and its governor, voted recently to seek legal designation that would allow unrestricted killing of gray wolves throughout the state, save for designated wilderness areas and national parks."

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Copyright 2002 Ralph Maughan
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