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WY: Jackson wolf hunt zone closes

By Mike Koshmrl
Jackson Hole Daily

A hunter’s successful pursuit of a wolf over the weekend closed a wolf hunting area that runs from town limits eastward to beyond Bondurant.

The zone, area “10,” reached its three-wolf quota at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, according to harvest reports posted online by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The area, roughly, is bounded by Highway 191 and Hoback Canyon on the south side and the divide between the Green and Snake rivers on the east side. Its north boundary is approximately marked by the Cache Creek drainage and crest of the Gros Ventre Range, and its western extent is Highway 89.

The whereabouts of wolves killed in the zone and their pack affiliations are not public information due to a state statute intended to protect the identity of hunters and public officials.

Three wolf packs roamed the zone at the end of 2016, according to the state’s annual wolf report: the Horse Creek, Dell Creek and Rim packs. The latter two wolf packs, both denizens of the Bondurant area, were chronically preying on livestock and, in turn, being killed themselves a year ago, when the species was being managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Now that wolves are managed by Wyoming, state law prohibits the dissemination of information about livestock conflict and wolf packs — including if packs have been wiped out.

Four of Wyoming’s 12 managed wolf-hunting zones have reached their quotas and are now closed. A hunting zone in the Upper Green River area and southwest slope of the Wind River Range has also reached its limit, as have the two hunt units nearest to Cody. A map of zones that have reached their quota is attached to the online version of this story.

Within a managed “trophy game” area in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, there have been 25 wolves killed through two weeks of the first wolf hunting season since 2014. Elsewhere in Wyoming wolves are managed as a “predator” and can be killed indiscriminately and without limit; in these areas, 20 wolves have been killed since jurisdiction switched from federal to state governments in April.