Governor Matt Mead announced today the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. entered its final order upholding Wyoming’s wolf management plan which confirms Wyoming’s management of wolves.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will file notice in the Federal Register in the coming days.
“I am delighted that the Circuit Court recognized Wyoming’s commitment to manage a recovered wolf population,” said Governor Mead. “Our wolf management plan is a result of years of hard work by people across Wyoming. We recognize the need to maintain a healthy wolf population. I thank former Secretaries of the Interior Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell as well as former Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for their commitment to getting this done. This is a good day for Wyoming.”
This means the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is again leading wolf management in the state. “We are honored to carry out our trust responsibilities to manage all wildlife species in the state. Wyoming has a track record of leading conservation and we are committed to again continuing our work to maintain a recovered wolf population,” said Chief of the Wildlife Division, Brian Nesvik.
Game and Fish will manage wolves as previously established by our Commission approved wolf management plan, Department regulations (Chapters 21 and 47) and State Statutes. All of those went through a public review process.
Now that wolves are delisted, wolf hunting will not occur in the Trophy Game Management Area, as there is currently not an active season in place. This part of the state is where the majority of wolves in Wyoming live. To re-establish hunting seasons Game and Fish would use the current population estimates to develop hunt area quotas for hunting that would occur the following hunting season.
All season development would go through the full public comment process as it has in the past.
Wolves outside the Trophy Game Management Area are now considered predatory animals as defined in state law and therefore can be harvested. Any wolf harvested in the predator zone must be checked in to the Game and Fish within 10 days of harvest. Game and Fish does not manage for population viability outside the Trophy Game Management Area as wolves that occur in these areas are much more prone to conflict with humans.
While wolves were on the endangered species list the federal government was still removing many wolves from the population to manage to reduce the high number of conflicts. Those removals and other human caused mortalities in past years will be considered in future wolf conservation decisions.