Wolf Hunting in Wyoming
October 25, 2013
Wolf hunting in the Western Mountain state of Wyoming began when the gray wolf was released from Canada into Yellowstone National Park, as well as surrounding areas, in 1995 and 1996. The original intention of the reintroduction of the gray wolf to Wyoming was because of past extirpation in the region. Because of the vast wilderness and an abundance of prey species throughout the area, it was seen as a suitable location for reintroduction. After the reintroduction, the numbers of gray wolves throughout the region soared. At the end of December 2011, numbers in Yellowstone reached an estimated 328 ...view middle of the document...
Approximately 92% of Wyoming’s gray wolf population resides in the Game Trophy region. (WGFD, 2012) The main reason wolves in any region besides the Northwest are considered Predatory is because the rest of the state is geographically unsuitable for wolf habitat, and they cause many issues with livestock and dogs.
In September of 2012, Wyoming Game and Fish Department took over management of the gray wolf from the federal government. This coincided with the removal of the gray wolf from the Federal Endangered Species List. Despite a hefty past of backlash against wolf hunting from animal rights activists, the removal of the wolf from the endangered list prompted many more problems in maintaining a healthy relationship between hunters, the state government, and animal activists.
Unfortunately there is a massive goal difference between the three parties. Hunters view wolf hunting typically on two different levels. One, hunters will participate in sport hunting. It has been a hobby of many generations and is typically extremely managed by the state. Like other Game Trophy Animals including elk and deer, hunters are limited to one wolf per season. There are many rules to follow, which protect the wolves from cruel and unusual mistreatment. Any rule breaking results in serious punishment for the hunter. Secondly, hunters will hunt wolves to protect their land, families, and livestock. According to the gray wolf management monthly update for the month of September 2013, wolves had killed 51 livestock and dogs for the year to date. Hunting for this reason is mainly seen throughout the state where wolves are classified as predatory animals; however, wolves still pose a threat to livestock and other animals even in the Northwest region. (Western Wolves, 2013)
Wyoming state government views wolf hunting as a necessity. Hunting wolves keeps a balance in the ecosystem. When an efficient predator is introduced to a region, with minimal predation on it, numbers will rise exponentially. This causes dramatic problems because with unlimited food, breeding ability, and limited predation on the gray wolf, the population will soar, which will eventually cause it is eat out its food source and starvation will drastically drop the population, or disease will take effect. In addition to affects on the ecosystem, the state government is also required to pay fines to ranchers who lose livestock due to wolves, which is costing the state tens of thousands of dollars in reimbursement. (J. Hurley, personal communication, October 20, 2013.)
Animal rights activists tend to view the problem with an all or nothing mentality towards a solution. In this situation, wolves are seen as animals that should not be hunted, period. As in any animal rights organization, the ultimate goal is to give animals the voices they lack and prevent hunting as a whole. No animal rights activist group or organization has been known to work with the Wyoming state government in preventing...