Wolf management and sheep dip

In this Wyoming Capitol Outlook post (published on February 15, 2012) Geoff O’Gara of Wyoming PBS writes about the confusing and complex attempts at crafting a wolf management policy:

Geoff O'Gara

Wolves are pretty smart animals, but it’s not clear whether they understand that it will likely make a big difference in their lives later this year if they tread on the north side of the Wood River west of Wyoming Highway 120 or on the south side. It looks likely that the Wyoming Legislature will pass a wolf management plan that comes out of an agreement between the federal Interior Department and the administration of Gov. Matt Mead. When it does, on one side of that un-signed boundary – not that wolves can read, I don’t think – the wolves will be trophy animals, only to be hunted with a permit during certain seasons; on the other side they will be predators, to be shot on sight. If a wolf would like one of the handy color-coded maps, he or she will have to come to Cheyenne…but then, in Cheyenne, I’m pretty sure they’d be south of the Wood River, and they’d probably get shot before they picked up the map.

If the wolves are confused, you should see the legislators. Former Wyoming Game & Fish Director Steve Farrell (now with the Governor’s office) offered the Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Committee a color coded draft bill, and they groused about numbers (will it be 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves Wyoming has to sustain? Or will it be seven and 70? Will Yellowstone National Park be home to five and 50 or eight and 80? If a wolf goes north of Jackson – the only place in Wyoming without a Predator Control Board, wouldn’t you know – will it be one of the 50 or one of the 80? This will be on the new PAWS test.)

Click here to read the rest of O’Gara’s post at Wyoming Capitol Outlook.

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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  1. Not exactly Wyoming’s finest moment in wildlife management. Of course, our myopic treatment of wolves will someday be eclipsed by the greatest big game disaster of all time, when chronic wasting disease finally reaches the elk feeding grounds and many thousands of elk die.