Wolf hunting to begin
By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
September 29, 2012
Hunters will be able to settle their scopes on Canus lupus legally Monday when Wyoming’s first-ever regulated wolf hunt begins.
The date also marks when wolves will be targeted as predators in about 85 percent of the state, including south of Highway 22 in Teton County. In that area, wolves can be killed by almost any method, including poisoning, hunting by aircraft and trapping, until Oct. 15, when licensed hunting rules are imposed in the zone.
In the trophy hunt area of northwest Wyoming, the state set a quota of 52 wolves. Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, the National Elk Refuge and the Wind River Indian Reservation will continue to be hunt-free refuges for the apex predator.
For big-game outfitter Carlton Loewer and many other residents, Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s hunt is overdue. He guides for C4 Outfitters and Camp Creek Outfitters near Hoback Junction and Bondurant.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Loewer said Friday. “It’s definitely time for us to start management.”
In the nine years he’s commercially sought elk, deer, antelope and bear, Loewer said he’s observed a sizable decline in quarry. He blames wolves.
Through Friday afternoon, Wyoming had sold 2,236 wolf licenses, Game and Fish spokesman Eric Keszler said.
Park County led sales with 562. Hunters in Fremont County bought 327, while Teton County followed with 324, Sublette with 228 and Natrona with 117.
Teton County south of Highway 22 is a “flex zone,” where wolves will be regulated as trophy game from Oct. 15 to March 1. Wolves can be killed as predators in that area the rest of the year.
The Dog Creek and Daniel packs inhabit the area south of the flex zone border. Loewer’s hunting turf is in the flex zone.
“There’s roughly 20 in the areas that I hunt,” he said.
He’s looking forward to bagging one.
“I’m definitely hunting them, and I’ll be at it all winter long, too,” Loewer said. “I’ll probably make a rug out of it or mount it.
“I don’t think it’s going to be easy by any means — they’re very elusive animals,” he said.
Because he also hunts in the predator zone, Loewer said he will make no special effort to go after wolves in the flex zone during the initial two-week period. The zone was created to protect genetic diversity by limiting the take during periods of high dispersal into Idaho, Keszler said.
Reporting requirements differ in the two types of management areas.
“In the predator area, you are required to report taking of a wolf to us within 10 days,” Kezsler said. “In the trophy area, you have to report it to Game and Fish within 24 hours,” he said. “Within five days, you have to present a skull and pelt.”
Inside predator areas, where Game and Fish estimates there are 20 to 30 animals, wolves can be taken by any measure that’s legal under state and federal laws, Keszler said.
Gov. Matt Mead released a statement about the wolf hunt Friday, calling it “scientifically sound.”
“It was recommended by the Secretary of the Interior, the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, it has been peer-reviewed twice,” Mead said. “It is a sound plan that allows for state control of wolves, which I think is very important.”