A Jackson meeting last night drew 70 people, who showed up to comment on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's latest plan to manage wolves.
It was the biggest turnout so far for eight meetings being held across the state to take comment on plans to cut wolf-hunting quotas. Rancher Glenn Taylor echoed the feelings of many ranchers and hunters in the room.
"My message is, we need to manage the wolves.
Game and Fish is on the right track. Quota is not enough, but management is the key," said Taylor.
It’s been eight months since gray wolves were removed from the endangered species list, but some are concerned that the Park Service has not taken necessary action to close a perceived loophole in legal protections for the animals within national park lands.
Specifically, they mean the potential hunting of gray wolves along the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, which connects Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
Wyoming residents can now buy a permit to kill a wolf. But in Teton County, they only need a permit if they're hunting north of Highway 22. South of that highway, which bisects the county and crosses Teton Pass, anyone can kill a wolf, day or night, for free -- at least for the next two weeks.
That's because Wyoming's wolf management plan classifies wolves as trophy game north of the highway. Trophy game status means hunting is regulated and a permit is required. But south of the highway, wolves are deemed predators so those regulations don't apply.
As of Friday, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department sold over 22 hundred wolf licenses. Park County led the sales. Park County Commissioner Joe Tilden told the Big Horn Radio Network is pleased that the hunt is finally moving forward.