Wyoming Game & Fish Catches First Bear of Season

courtesy of trib.com
by Christine Peterson

It’s a big old bear. Wyoming Game and Fish officials caught the first grizzly bear of the season this morning in a snare outside of Meeteetse. The bear weighs 520 pounds, one of the largest bears Bear Conflict Management Supervisor Mark Bruscino has seen in the spring. Bruscino estimates it’s 20 years old and near the end of an average bear lifespan.

It was caught on the third morning of trapping after frequenting a pit with several dead cow carcasses. Because he’d never been caught causing problems before and is healthy, Bruscino is driving him to a release site in the mountains outside of Dubois. The distance puts as much wilderness between the bear and the ranch as is possible with deep snow still covering most of the mountains in northwest Wyoming.

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Wyoming Elk Researchers to Give Talk About Study

courtesy of The Ravalli Republic
by Perry Backus

Wyoming researchers looking for the cause behind declining pregnancy rates in a Yellowstone National Park elk herd will talk about their study this week in Hamilton.

Sponsored by the Ravalli County Fish and Game Association, the talk begins at 6 p.m. at the Bitterroot River Inn.

“When dealing with wildlife management, you can never have too much information,” said association president Tony Jones. “We’re hoping that some of the things they learned may transfer over to what’s happening here.”

Last winter, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks started an ambitious study in the Bitterroot Valley looking the relationship between elk and predators.

“Big game numbers here are doing the same thing that they’ve seen in Wyoming,” Jones said. “We want to get a better handle on why our big game numbers are on a fast decline … when you have wolves and lots of them, it’s easy to say they are the problem. Sometimes it’s not the wolf that’s doing the bulk of the damage.”

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Fish & Wildlife Seeks Accounts of Eastern Wyoming Black Wolf

courtesy of trib.com
by the Associated Press

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants people to report any more sightings of a black wolf that appears to have wandered a couple hundred miles east of Yellowstone National Park.

An officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency photographed the wolf Saturday not far from the Belle Ayre coal mine about 10 miles southeast of Gillette.

The wolf wore a radio collar but its gender is unknown. Mike Jimenez, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wyoming wolf recovery coordinator, said anybody who sees the wolf should call him at 307-733-7096.

Male and female wolves tend to disperse far from their home packs between 1 and 3 years of age. That’s probably what this wolf is doing, Jimenez said Wednesday.
“It’s difficult to say whether this wolf will stick around, or whether it’s dispersing, and it could be miles away a week from now and nobody ever sees it again. We don’t know,” he said.

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Initiates ‘Flex’ Plan for Wolves in Wyoming

courtesy of New West
by Brodie Farquhar

Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are exploring an idea whereby Wyoming could gain state management over wolves, retain the wolf’s dual status of trophy and predator and reduce wolf numbers outside of Yellowstone, down to 10 breeding pairs and 100 animals.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead spoke of the plan’s details during a Tuesday press conference.

“We’re trying to get out of this stalemate,” Mead said.

The key to the plan, which was originally suggested by USFWS, is what Mead called a “flex line” adjustment to the current boundary line separating trophy wolves in and immediately around Yellowstone, and the rest of the state where wolves are regarded as predators and can be shot on sight.

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Big Bad Wolf – USA (short film)

Produced By ABC Australia
Distributed By Journeyman Pictures

Click here to watch the video on YouTube

Fragile species in need of protection or dangerous predator – the wolf is strongly dividing opinion in the USA. As the debate intensifies both sides are raising their hackles and squaring off for a fight.

“I think if the devil had an animal it would be the wolf.” With a license plate that simply states, ‘no wolves’, hunter Ron Gillette is on a mission. Since the reintroduction of Canadian wolves to the Rocky Mountains their numbers have grown rapidly and for Ron they are a menace growing out of control:”the wildlife terrorist”. Yet he faces strong opposition, with courts keeping the wolf on the endangered species list. For conservationist Nancy Taylor, the wolf has mystical qualities and she is equally hell-bent on protecting it.”If somebody threatened my wolves I would step in front of them and take the bullet.” Under threat or posing a threat, the question remains – how wild will the west become?

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Wyoming Wolf Bargain in the Works

courtesy of Jackson Hole News & Guide
by Cory Hatch

Wyoming and the federal government will head back to the negotiating table after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed with a court decision to reconsider Wyoming’s wolf plan.

The agency Monday withdrew its appeal of the court decision. U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne last year said the Fish and Wildlife Service ignored science when it rejected Wyoming’s plan.

“We will continue ongoing negotiations with Wyoming to reach agreement on a wolf management plan that satisfies the Endangered Species Act,” acting Fish and Wildlife Director Rowan Gould said in a statement Tuesday. “Rather than lose more time in court with an appeal that won’t help resolve the problem, the Service looks forward to working on a plan that can meet the state’s needs while ensuring maintenance of a viable and sustainable recovered wolf population that is connected to other populations in Montana and Idaho.”

At issue is Wyoming’s law and plan that would allow wolves to be killed by any means at any time in roughly 88 percent of the state.

Only in northwestern Wyoming would wolves be managed as trophy game, where they could be hunted according to regulation and season.

Today, wolves, remain protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. They were restored to Idaho and the Yellowstone area starting in 1995 with the goal of turning over management to states once established in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

Gould said state rule is still the goal. “We strongly believe that the recovered Northern Rocky Mountain distinct population segment of gray wolves is most appropriately managed by states and tribes under approved state management plans,” Gould said.

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Wyoming Governor Mead Won’t Follow Montana Governor on Wolves

courtesy of The Billings Gazette
by Joan Barron / Casper Star-Tribune

Gov. Matt Mead said Thursday that he still believes a “congressional fix” is the best way to resolve the legal issues over wolf management in the state and region. Mead, in a brief interview, said he understands the frustration of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, which is shared by Wyoming and Idaho.

Schweitzer is defying the federal government by encouraging livestock owners to kill wolves that attack their animals even in areas where it is not currently allowed. He also plans to have state agents kill wolves that are harming some elk herds.

“I think you have to be cautious about telling people to go break federal law,” said Mead, a former chief federal prosecutor for Wyoming.

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Wyoming Rancher Says Night Penning Reduces Conflicts

courtesy of Wyoming Star-Tribune
by Cat Urbigkit

Portable electric fences as night pens for domestic sheep in the Upper Green River region of the Wind River Mountains last summer protected sheep and sheepherders from predatory animals, according to a rancher.

Speaking before the Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board last week in Cheyenne, rancher Mary Thoman also said the pens reduced the number of grizzly bears removed from the area because of conflict.

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Wyoming Wolf Numbers up, Depredations Down

courtesy of Wyoming Star-Tribune
by Whitney Royster

While Wyoming’s wolf population outside Yellowstone National Park increased in 2010, depredation losses were the lowest on record since 2003, according to an unofficial year-end report published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Although the official report won’t be available until March, it is estimated that Wyoming’s wolf population outside Yellowstone National Park increased by about 9 percent to about 247 wolves, while depredations decreased to a total of 64 animals. In 2009, an estimated 222 animals were killed by wolves.

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Wyoming Wolf Death Toll Rises

Federal agents wiped out two wolf packs, including 10 pups, in parts of Wyoming last week, drawing criticism from Defenders of Wildlife. In all, 16 wolves were killed after they preyed upon three calves on private property near Cody and a lamb near Dempsey Creek, northwest of Kemmerer.

“Simply killing wolves and their young, whether or not they’ve been implicated in conflicts, does very little to resolve the problem,” Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife said in a letter to the editor this week. “Instead, state wildlife agencies should work with ranchers to reduce the risks of depredations via effective nonlethal solutions.”

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