• Range Writing

Wolves in Wyoming

At the end of 2019, the wolf population in Wyoming remained above minimum delisting criteria; making 2019 the 18th consecutive year Wyoming has exceeded the numerical, distributional, and temporal delisting criteria established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

At least 311 wolves in ≥43 packs (including ≥22 breeding pairs) inhabited Wyoming on December 31, 2019. Of the total,there were ≥94 wolves and ≥8 packs (≥7 breeding pairs) in Yellowstone National Park, ≥16 wolves and ≥3 packs (1 breeding pair) in the Wind River Reservation, and ≥201 wolves and ≥32 packs (≥14 breeding pairs) in Wyoming outside Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation (WYO).

In WYO, ≥175 wolves in ≥27 packs resided primarily in the Wolf Trophy Game Management Area where wolves are actively monitored and managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and ≥26 wolves in ≥5 packs in areas where wolves are designated primarily as predatory animals and are not actively monitored.

A total of 96 wolf mortalities were documented statewide in Wyoming in 2019: 92 in WYO, 3 in Yellowstone National Park, and 1 in the Wind River Reservation. Causes of mortality included: human-caused = 88 (92% of mortalities); natural = 7 (7%); and unknown = 1 (1%). Eighty-four wolves were captured and telemetry collared for monitoring and research in 2019.

In 2019, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department implemented a wolf hunting season with the biological objective to stabilize the wolf population at approximately 160 wolves in the Wolf Trophy Game Management Area. A mortality limit of 34 wolves was divided between 14 hunt areas in WYO. Wolf hunting seasons were open from September 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 with the exception of hunt area 12 (opened on October 15, 2019) and hunt area 13 (ended March 31, 2020). The season for each hunt area closed when the mortality limit was met or at the season end date, whichever occurred first. A total of 26 wolves (25 legal and 1 illegal) were killed during the wolf hunting season in WYO. Wolves could also be taken in any legal manner in WYO where they are designated as predatory animals. Twenty-three wolves were taken by the public under predatory animal status in 2019.

Wolves were confirmed to have killed 70 head of livestock (42 cattle, 27 sheep and 1 donkey) and 1 dog statewide in Wyoming in 2019. An additional 11 cattle (9 calves and 2 cows/yearlings) and 1 donkey were confirmed as injured by wolves. Nineteen packs were involved in ≥1 livestock conflict statewide in Wyoming and 1 dog was killed by wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Thirty wolves were lethally removed by agencies or the public following livestock conflict in an effort to reduce livestock losses to wolves.

A total of ≥$1,918,753 was spent on wolf monitoring and management activities in Wyoming in 2019 for ALL jurisdictions combined as follows: Wyoming Game and Fish Department = $1,021,920 (~$543,676 directly toward wolf management, including $106,183 for livestock damage compensation); USDA Wildlife Services = $2,226; Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board = $67,308; Grand Teton National Park = $121,000; Wind River Reservation = $6,300; and Yellowstone National Park = $700,000.

{Wyoming Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services, and Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe Tribal Fish and Game Department. 2020. Wyoming Gray Wolf Monitoring and Management 2019 Annual Report. K.J. Mills and Z. Gregory, eds. Wyoming Game and Fish Department, 5400 Bishop Blvd, Cheyenne, WY, 82006.}

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