Wyoming’s management plan for wolves is back in effect, after a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals reaffirmed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 decision to delist wolves.
Under Wyoming law, wolves fall under a dual-classification system. The first is as trophy game for those wolves living in the northwestern corner of the state. That's where most of them live and where the most suitable habitat is. Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Renny MacKay said in that area, they receive extra protections.
“And that means you need to have a license if you are to hunt a wolf in that part of the state, and there is not a hunting season in place at this time,” said MacKay.
If the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approves a hunting season, that will begin this October, after a public input period.
But MacKay said wolves everywhere else in the state are considered predators, so they can be hunted right now. If hunters do kill a wolf, MacKay said they must report the kill within 10 days.
According to an agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service the state must continue to protect 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone and the Wind River Reservation. Currently, MacKay said there are many more than that. There are at least 260 wolves and 17 breeding pairs in Wyoming with about 377 wolves total across the state.