Wyoming residents can now buy a permit to kill a wolf. But in Teton County, they only need a permit if they're hunting north of Highway 22. South of that highway, which bisects the county and crosses Teton Pass, anyone can kill a wolf, day or night, for free -- at least for the next two weeks.
That's because Wyoming's wolf management plan classifies wolves as trophy game north of the highway. Trophy game status means hunting is regulated and a permit is required. But south of the highway, wolves are deemed predators so those regulations don't apply.
Wilson resident and avid wildlife watcher Ann Smith lives near that dividing line where she says the lack of regulations are worrisome, especially in an area home to subdivisions, bike paths and popular hiking trails.
"It's frightening because I have two dogs, and I walk them up the Teton Pass quite often without leashes, and I have one dog, who's dark, could be perhaps mistaken for one of the black wolves, so I am afraid."
Unregulated killing will be allowed until October 15th when Wyoming's plan calls for moving the line further south, to protect dispersing wolves during the winter.
Smith says she has talked with many residents who oppose the hunt and they worry about seeing wolves displayed.
I have a real fear that when I go into town that I might see a wolf draped over someone's hood."
Smith says visitors from around the world come to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks for a chance to see wildlife, including living wolves in the wild.