State split on wolves, supports hunting them
By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: November 15, 2012
Wyoming residents are divided about the reintroduction of wolves to the state but overwhelmingly support wolf hunting, according to a survey by the University of Wyoming.
The survey was released days before groups sued to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-establish Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in Wyoming. If the lawsuit is successful, it would take wolf management out of state hands and nullify Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting rule.
About 49 percent of residents agree with the reintroduction of wolves, while 47 percent think it was a bad idea. There was less parity when the residents were asked if reintroduction has had good or bad results. Fifty-four percent of residents say the effect was mostly negative, and just 34 percent thought it was mostly positive. Eight-two percent of residents favored hunt-ing in at least some parts of the state.
County-specific data from the wolf survey, part the biannual Wyoming Election Survey, are statistically unreliable, said Jim King, a University of Wyoming political science professor and the survey’s co-director.
Emphasizing that caveat, King discussed the county findings.
“In counties along the Colorado border there was much more support for wolf reintroduction,” he said. “In Teton, Park, Fremont counties there was a lot of support.”
Sublette and “eastern plains” counties had the lowest approval, King said.
Nine Teton County residents responded to the survey. Teton had relatively pro-wolf views, with 55 percent of respondents strongly agreeing or agreeing with the 1995 trans-plant of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Two-thirds of county respondents strongly agreed or agreed.