Wyoming Game and Fish accepting comment on 2018 gray wolf hunting season | CraigDailyPress.com

Wyoming Game and Fish accepting comment on 2018 gray wolf hunting season

Craig Press staff report

Two gray wolves run through the snow.

CHEYENNE — The Wyoming Department of Game and Fish is accepting public comment on draft regulations for the state’s 2018 gray wolf hunting season.

Written comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. June 4 at public meetings, listed below. Comments may also be submitted by mail to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Regulations, 3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY  82604, or online at ]wgfd.wyo.gov. Copies of the proposed regulations are available on the Game and Fish website and at the address above.

The population of gray wolves in Wyoming continues to be healthy and exceed all criteria established to show the species is recovered, the agency said in a news release. Wyoming Game and Fish uses hunting to manage wolves, as it does with many other species.

"The primary change for the 2018 wolf hunting season proposal is adjustment of the wolf mortality limit, which was increased to 58,” said Ken Mills a large carnivore biologist at Wyoming Game and Fish. “We calculate mortality limits annually based on the best available population and mortality data for wolves and packs present in the Wolf Trophy Game Management Area to be sure harvest levels are appropriate and ascribe to our commitment to manage for a recovered wolf population. This proposal is the result of a data-driven approach based on measured wolf population dynamics."

The total minimum population of wolves in Wyoming living outside Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation at the end of 2017 was 238, with 198 in the Wolf Trophy Game Management Area. The proposed mortality limit for 2018 is expected to result in an end of year population of about 160 wolves in the trophy game area, similar to the 2017 wolf hunting season.

Game and Fish's proposal is available for review and comment online, and the proposal includes the allocation of higher hunt area quotas in those areas where wolf conflicts with livestock are high or in areas where wolves are impacting big game populations.

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Public meetings on these regulation changes and others will occur at the following times, dates and locations.

• 6 p.m. April 30 — Game and Fish Office.

• 6 p.m. May 2 — Game and Fish Office in Laramie.

• 6 p.m. May 8 — Park County Library in Cody

• 6 p.m. May 9 — Game and Fish Office in Casper

• 6 p.m. May 10 — Headwaters Arts & Conference Center in Dubois

• 6 p.m. May 16 — Game and Fish Office in Pinedale

• 6 p.m. May 17 — Teton County Auditorium in Jackson

• 6 p.m. May 22 — BEAR Center Pavilion in Evanston

• 6 p.m. May 23 — South Lincoln Events Center in Kemmerer

• 6 p.m. May 24 — Game and Fish Office in Green River

Written comments will be presented to the Game and Fish Commission prior to the public hearing at its July 10-11 meeting at the Game and Fish Office in Laramie.

The Game and Fish Department supports the Americans with Disabilities Act. Requests for reasonable accommodations may be made at the nearest Game and Fish office. Every effort will be made to honor such requests.