Wyo-fed wolf talks fail. By Whitney Royster. Casper Star Tribune.
Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Wolf Decision ‘Political’
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has refused to let Wyoming kill wolves just because the governor says the wolves are “hurting big game herds.” Governor Dave Freudenthal (Dem.) has given many contradictory explanations how wolves are hurting big game in Wyoming, outside Yellowstone National Park.
Several weeks ago the Service indicated they might go along with Wyoming’s wolf management plan, which they had long held to be defective. Bills for new Wyoming wolf management plans were introduced in the state legislature (which will now soon adjourn). The bills, however, tended to make Wyoming’s proposed wolf management, which had already been rejected twice, even more hostile to the presence of wolves.
Perhaps sensing the Service would not accept an even more hostile wolf plan, Wyoming’s governor asked the U.S. Wildlife Service to let Wyoming kill wolves while the state and the federal government dickered during the next year (and perhaps beyond).
The talks ended yesterday in what Whitney Royster (above) wrote was “a high-spirited, often angry and name-calling press conference.”
Freudenthal has been inconsistent to why he regards the wolves as such a problem. Earlier he said they were decimating Wyoming’s big game herds. Later he said the wolves weren’t, but would. At any rate, their presence had made hunting more difficult because the wolves have changed the behavior of big game, implying is was too hard for Wyoming hunters to learn to adapt.
I have argued for many years, that Wyoming doesn want to really manage wolves. Instead the goal is either “a prison” for them in Yellowstone Park, or the current situation which provides an often useful emotional issue to be raised whenever other political events draw the public’s attention.
It now appears that Wyoming wolves will continue under federal management and might be safer than Idaho wolves which will soon be subject to a hunt, for which Idaho’s new governor, Butch Otter, suggests a population reduction of 80%. Idaho went forward with a minimal wolf plan, crafted by livestock interests, which was approved serveral years ago by USFWS, but only goes into full effect when wolves are fully delisted. That could be by next fall.
Currently the USFWS is requesting your comments on their proposed wolf delisting in Idaho and Montana (but not Wyoming).