A Kelly resident and big game hunting guide who illegally shot and killed a wolf in Grand Teton National Park last winter is being allowed to commercially outfit hunters without interruption.

Meeting Aug. 26, the Wyoming State Board of Outfitters and Professional Guides unanimously decided to issue Gros Ventre Wilderness Outfitters owner Brian Taylor a one-year conditional outfitters license.

That was the recommended penalty proposed by a three-person investigative committee, said Amanda McKee, executive director of the outfitters board.

“The board as a whole voted to accept the committee’s recommendation,” McKee said.

The seven-person board, she said, voted unanimously, although members who were part of the investigation recused themselves from the vote.

The outfitters board made its decision ahead of the 2019 big game seasons on Bridger-Teton National Forest land where Taylor guides, which started for bow hunters Sept. 1 and rifle hunters Sept. 15.

Reached over the weekend, Taylor said he was eager to put his misstep with the law in the past.

“A regrettable mistake was made that I have been accountable for from the beginning,” he said.

“The authorities from federal, state and local agencies and organizations have been very professional throughout the entire process,” Taylor said. “I believe all involved are ready to put this matter to rest.”

Apart from the licensing probation, Taylor pleaded guilty to unlawful take of wildlife, was fined $5,040, lost his wolf hunting privileges for a year and earned a year of probation.

The Dec. 31 incident that got Taylor into trouble occurred on the closing day of the 2018 wolf hunting season, while Grand Teton rangers were furloughed due to the federal government shutdown. The Jackson Hole born-and-raised guide was hunting with his family near the jagged park boundary in the Spread Creek area when, he said, he mistook his whereabouts by 2 miles, entering the park when he thought he was exiting it.

He tracked a wolf pack that had been feeding on a bison hunter’s left-behind gut pile, and closed to within 200 yards when his .30-06 ended the life of a gray female wolf from the Lower Gros Ventre Pack.

Park ranger Nick Armitage caught Taylor by following his tracks, and the dead wolf’s drag trail, through the snow.

Taylor is an avid wolf hunter, and he’s also been vocal opponent of the species.

One activist group that has kept tabs on the outcome of the Grand Teton National Park wolf poaching was “incredibly disappointed” with the Wyoming State Board of Outfitters and Professional Guides’ decision.

“By issuing such a nominal punishment to Mr. Taylor, Wyoming has set an outrageous and dangerous precedent,” the Humane Society of the United States’ native carnivore protection strategist, Wendy Keefover, said in a statement. “The state’s outfitter board has signaled that poaching wildlife on a national park in Wyoming is worthy of nothing more than a slap on the wrist.”

Taylor was, and still is listed as a board member of the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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(13) comments


When will the topic end? The guy shot a ferrel dog. What da ya want, bring back the death penalty ?

Diane Henry

Surprise, surprise! Who oversees the State Outfitters Board? A guide who violated the Lacey Act by killing a wolf in a National Park, and dragging it's body out of the Park, will be allowed to continue doing business. The fine and probation period are a slap on the wrist....maybe the lasting punishment is the permanent loss of reputation and credibility as a Wyoming guide.

Deidre Adams

I too, am very disappointed in the so called punishment meted out by the board. If you are in business as a hunting guide - your top TOP priority is to KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AT ALL TIMES!!! I truly don't believe his tale of not knowing or getting turned around. He spotted wolf tracks and went for it. Very sad. I've said it before and I'll say it again - We humans share the Earth with all species; we don't own it; we need to take care of it. Wyoming - your towns near the National Parks depend of visitors/tourists influx of $$$ - make them proud and start defending ALL WILDLIFE as it needs to be defended!!!

Craig Rowe

The Board doesn’t set a very high standard for the industry it claims to govern. If Taylor Andy Gros Ventre Outfitters are, essentially, allowed to hunt wolves in Grand Teton for $5000, how is that fair to those companies who respect authority and federal law? Given Mr.Taylor’s outright disdain for top predators, it can be easily argued this was planned with little regard for boundaries or common sense.

Craig Rowe

This is a very weak response to a very serious issue. What kind of guide doesn’t know where he is, especially if a local and in consideration of a national park? Anyone who wants to destroy wolves out of hate has zero understanding of how nature works and even less about hunting. When Mr. Taylor goes fishing and doesn’t catch anything, who does he blame? Probably bad luck, right? But if he hunts elk and gets skunked, it just be the wolves. Another Wyoming hunter who wants to shoot fish in a barrel and call himself a marksman. Some guide. Sounds like he can’t navigate his way out of a closet.

Tony Rutherford

I have to wonder if it would have been different if he had been guiding a client, and that client killed the wolf? Two miles into the park and he never realized where he was? I'm convinced once he began tracking the pack.....where he was didn't really matter? Kind of odd that guides and outfitters would hold court for guides and outfitters? The fine seems appropriate......but the punishment doesn't. The young men that poached the cougar in Yellowstone had hunting, fishing and trapping prohibited for three years.....based on the same defense....not knowing the boundary?

Craig Rowe

The young man in Yellowstone doesn’t have the privilege of tenure that Mr. Taylor’s sycophantic board allows him. It’s simply a matter of who you know, despite them being equally skilled hunters. So to speak.


Should have used the Hume defense, that wolf was going to die anyway.

Steven Kardas

Keefover is disappointed  that Mr Taylor's life is not completely destroyed. Some times people make mistakes and it has been determined that  Mr Taylor made a mistake.  He has been punished. The $5000 fine is a lot of money. Taylor will continue to guide and can mentor others about the importance of clearly knowing your location when hunting. 

Jay Westemeier

The fine should have been five times as much. $5000 can't replace a protected animal and is not enough to discourage this from happening again.

Craig Rowe

Do you think he’s a very good mentor? It’s quite obvious from factual public statements that Taylor and Gros Ventre Outfitters encourage elimination of top predators to make their hunting easier. That suggests to me that they aren’t very skilled at what they do. After all, he wasn’t even aware of where he was hunting. There are mistakes, then there are egregious attempts to circumvent the law passed off as mistakes.

Jay Westemeier

Did anyone really think this would end differently? Whenever there is a club with few members, morality and justice within that club is virtually non-existent. The "defiance" culture is alive and well in Jackson Hole.

Michael Grasseschi

always surprises me the wolf hatred -even though I have been living with it for years-even here in Jackson, where we are supposed to be more educated and open minded than the rest of the state. Right?...siiigh....the battle rages on...

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