SUBLETTE COUNTY – Gray wolf quotas proposed for this fall’s trophy-game management hunting season total 44 – up two from 2014 – with a slight shift southward from the Cody area.
Wyoming Game and Fish (G&F) posted its updated Chapter 47 “draft” gray wolf hunting seasons last week, with red edits changing 2014 to 2017. The 2014 trophy-game management area’s (TGMA) hunting season quota was for 42 wolves; opening and closing dates are unchanged.
“Mortality quotas have been modified to reflect the current population of gray wolves in Wyoming and future management through hunter harvest,” according to the statement of reasons. “The proposed hunt area mortality quotas have been developed to maintain a recovered gray wolf population.”
Wyoming’s gray wolves were delisted April 26 from the Endangered Species Act after a federal appellate court panel of judges ruled the state’s management plan was sufficient to maintain the recovered status. The judges’ order was not challenged and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) turned management over to Wyoming Same and Fish.
The state held an estimated 377 wolves in 52 packs with 25 breeding pairs at the end of 2016, according to FWS, well over the statewide total recovery goal of 150 total wolves, 10 packs and 10 breeding pairs.
The G&F has scheduled a June 1 public meeting at 6 p.m. at the Pinedale Regional Office. Public comments about the proposed TGMA quotas will be accepted through June 19 and compiled for the G&F Commission to review before voting on the final version of hunting regulations at its July 19 meeting.
If approved by the commission, the regulations are enacted that day, well in time for the TGMA’s Oct. 1 opening of 11 hunt areas and Oct. 15 for the seasonal TGMA in the #12 Alpine hunt area.
G&F officials had reviewed where and how many lethal takes occurred from 2014 to now before adjusting each area’s quotas.
“We have developed a conservative hunting season framework in the trophy game area for the public to consider and provide comments,” said G&F wildlife division deputy chief Doug Brimeyer. “Our track record in 2012 and 2013 shows that this approach will ensure we maintain a recovered population of wolves while providing opportunity for those who want to hunt gray wolves.”
Hunt areas (HA) 1 through 3 each had one wolf take dropped from their prior quotas – Clarks Forks from three to two, Sunlight from five to four and Absaroka from seven to six.
Greybull HA 4 gains one, from four to five, and Wind River HA 5 stays at six.
HA 6, Pacific Creek, excluding the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, also stays at six wolves and HA 7, Targhee, remains at one. Fish Creek HA 8 adds one for a quota of seven wolves; Crystal Creek HA 9 remains at two.
Hoback Basin’s Rim HA 10 stays at three and the upper Green River Basin’s Rim HA 11 picks up one, going from two to three.
With the seasonal TGMA designation, Alpine HA 12 is bumped to two from Oct. 15 through Dec. 31 and no hunting is allowed there from Jan. 1 through the end of February.
Anyone interested is encouraged to attend the public meetings and to read and comment on these proposed wolf-hunting regulations at https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Get-Involved/Public-Meetings. The public comment deadline is 5 p.m. on June 19.