Wolf Regulations Being Decided for 2019
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has now opened up the comment period for Chapter 47 Gray Wolf Hunting Seasons which will set the regulations for the 2019 hunting season.

This beautiful wolf above is the Alpha Female of the Wapiti Lake pack in Yellowstone National Park. She and her pack are one of only 80 wolves left inside the park. Any wolf that wanders outside of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks can be shot on sight for four months of the year. In the rest of the state, they can be killed by any means for any reason or no reason at all year-round. In our last newsletter, I told you about research that was currently being conducted by leading scientists, including Yellowstone's Doug Smith, to see what the effect of hunting is on pack dynamics. Preliminary results show that pack size is a big factor in how a pack will be affected by losing certain members. With half of the packs in Wyoming being fewer than five members, hunting has a big impact on the pack and what happens to them after members are killed. Season is also extremely important and packs that lose members before breeding season are unlikely to have pups.

The way Wyoming is treating its wolves is shameful. If you are outraged that your chance of enjoying wolves in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks has been diminished significantly, now is the time to let the state know. If you are outraged that 47% of the known wolves to be alive in the state in 2018 were killed, now is the time to speak up. These animals cannot speak for themselves and our ecosystems are suffering because of it. Please click on the links below as they will lead you to many great resources to support your comments. The state thinks it can ignore the voices of people who live outside the state borders but forgets that almost half the state is comprised of public lands. This land belongs to me, you, and every U.S. citizen. We have a right to say how our wildlife is managed there. The federal agencies have deferred wildlife management to the states. It's time they are held accountable to the public they serve.

We and the wolves thank you.

Kristin Combs
Executive Director

Comments can be submitted by mail , ONLINE , or in person. See below for dates and locations of meetings.

By Mail:

Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Wildlife Division
Attn: Regulations
3030 Energy Lane
Casper WY 82604

May 21, 2019            6:00 p.m.        Laramie                   Game and Fish Office
May 28, 2019            6:00 p.m.        Cody                         Park County Library
May 29, 2019            6:00 p.m.        Green River            Game and Fish Office
May 29, 2019            6:00 p.m.        Dubois                     Headwaters Arts & Conference Center (CH 47)
May 29, 2019            6:00 p.m.        Jackson                    Game and Fish Office (CHs 4, 25, 32 and 44)
May 29, 2019            4:00 p.m.        Sundance                 Crook County Courthouse
May 30, 2019            6:00 p.m.        Pinedale                   Game and Fish Office
May 30, 2019            6:00 p.m.        Worland                   Washakie County Fairgrounds
June 4, 2019              6:00 p.m.       Lander                       Game and Fish Office (CHs 4, 25, 32, 42 and 44)
June 5, 2019              6:00 p.m.       Jackson                     Teton County Library (CH 42)
June 6, 2019              6:00 p.m.       Jackson                     Teton County Library (CH 47)
June 6, 2019              6:00 p.m.       Sheridan                  Game and Fish Office

* June 4 in Lander doesn't include Chapter 47 Wolf Regulations, May 29 in Jackson is for furbearer and other regulations, June 5 in Jackson is for Mountain Lion Hunting Seasons, June 6 in Jackson is for Wolf Regulations
Talking Points/Facts

  • The science supports predator populations sustaining their own numbers without the necessity of hunting.
  • Millions of people visit Yellowstone to see wolves and support the local economy. Tourism is Wyoming's second largest industry and wildlife-watching brings in over $50 million alone each year.
  • Wolves in the Gros Ventre Range are moving the elk around which leads to healthier herds. There is little evidence that the elk numbers in the Gros Ventres have declined, but rather that they are located in different areas. This is a natural process but was the reason wolves were targeted in the Gros Ventres in 2018. Wolves and other predators are the best defense we have against illnesses in ungulate herds like chronic wasting disease.
  • The season opening date was moved to September 1st in 2018 because of the increased quotas. It should be moved back to October 1st since the quotas are lower in most hunt areas in 2019.
  • Hunt area 13 is recommended to remain open until March 31. This is the hunt area where 2 wolves were illegally killed in 2018. Hunting this late into the season is guaranteed to leave wolf pups without parents to raise them therefore resulting in a higher number of wolves taken than just the ones hunted. Hunt area 13 is also where there was 11 livestock losses in 2018. Is the quota being increased for scientific purposes there or at the bequest of ranchers? Are any non-lethal conflict prevention techniques being used on either of these ranches?
  • 47% of the wolves believed to be alive in 2018 were killed which is unsustainable and doesn't allow for genetic connectivity between populations in the Northern Rocky Mountains.
  • In 2018, the Department raised the allowed number of wolf licenses per person to two. It should be returned to one. This would reduce the likelihood of more than one wolf from a single pack being killed.
  • Four wolves were illegally killed in 2018. This was an increase from one illegally taken in 2017. The argument that allowing wolf hunting will reduce poaching and illegal take of wolves is false with research to back that up.
  • Two park wolves were killed in 2018 furthering the need for a buffer zone around the parks. Studies have shown that killing wolves around the parks cuts the chance of seeing a wolf in the park in half.
  • Hunters killed wolves in 20 of 31 packs (64.5%) in 2018. 
  • Sixteen wolf pups (less than one year old) were killed in 2018.
  • Nearly one wolf was killed for every head of livestock killed by wolves in 2018; 64 wolves for 70 livestock.
  • In 2018, 52% (25 cattle and 7 sheep) of all confirmed wolf-livestock conflicts in the trophy game management area were on public land (your land) and 48% (30 cattle) of all conflicts were on private land.
  • In hunt areas 8 and 11 the quota is the highest of all hunt areas which is consequently where the highest number of livestock losses were located.
  • Killing wolves in one area can lead to higher losses of livestock in others.
  • Public outreach in Yellowstone National Park included giving 177 formal talks (including 16 at scientific conferences), 75 interviews, helping at least 9,000 people view wolves, making 29,100 visitor contacts, and giving 329 informal talks in the field. 
  •  USDA Wildlife Services spent $35,324 on wolf "management" activities in Wyoming -- aka: killing wolves.
  • In order to keep Endangered Species Act protections from being reinstated, the state must ensure genetic connectivity between other populations in the Northern Rocky Mountains (Idaho and Montana). No mention of successful genetic connectivity is in the 2018 report.
  • The quota for the Gros Ventre Region is seven wolves. According to a WGFD biologist, there are only about "five, maybe six wolves in the Gros Ventre." With a quota above the number of remaining wolves, all wolves will be killed in this area. Local wildlife guides who have guests that wish to see wolves are unable to share that experience with them as wolves are now scarcely seen, especially in and around Grand Teton National Park.
  • Wolves are allies not enemies and are a boon to the economy of Wyoming -- a state that is looking to diversify its economy.
  • If residents from out of the state can hunt on public lands in Wyoming and have a say in how our wildlife is managed, then people can come from out of state, watch our wildlife, and have an equal say in how wildlife is managed.
  • No other animal is managed to minimum numbers in Wyoming other than predators. Wolves are a treasured national resource and the vast majority of U.S. citizens want to see them protected.
  • Why are some animals in Wyoming treated with ethical standards for hunting and others are not?

  •  Two new hunt areas (13 and 14) were created to better direct wolf hunting mortality. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department combined the mortality limit for hunt areas 6 and 7 to allow for greater flexibility for the public. The mortality limits for hunt areas 8, 9 and 11 were also combined because the packs present in these hunt areas regularly cross hunt area boundaries in the broader Gros Ventre River drainage, thus a combined mortality limit provided a more comprehensive approach to wolf management in these areas. 
  •  The wolf hunting season previously opened on October 1st but was shifted to September 1st in 2018 to allow greater hunting opportunity, especially in view of the higher mortality limit approved for the 2018 hunting season. (The season opening date remains at September 1st).
  • Sixty-six wolves were lethally removed by agencies or the public following livestock conflict in an effort to reduce livestock losses to wolves (almost no mention of non-lethal techniques being used to prevent losses).
Funding Needed for Billboards

Our previously posted billboards (pictured here) have been very effective at educating visitors and residents about the misguided wildlife management in Wyoming and garnering public support for change. Millions of people visit the national parks each year to see bears and wolves; it's what makes this region special. Our new billboard will be focused on wolves as part of our Spitfire Fund to honor the late wolf who was killed by a trophy hunter just outside the border of Yellowstone National Park. Any amount you can contribute will go directly to helping stop the needless slaughter of our wolves.
One week left for photo contest!
Visit our Instagram site and tag your photo #wwawolf to be entered. Winners will get bragging rights and awesome WWA swag!

Photo submissions will be accepted until May 31.

Thank you for supporting Wyoming Wildlife Advocates!
We could't do any of our valuable work without you.
Header photo: Loi Nguyen
Wolf in sagebrush: Tina Smith Photography