Wyoming Wolf dispute could extend for years

This article is from the Casper Star Tribune. By Jared Miller.

Giving the standoff between the USFWS and Wyoming, the current wolf situation with the federal government continuing to do all the wolf management in most of NW Wyoming, and Wyoming yelling about wolves and the federal government, could go on indefinitely.

Wyoming’s political oligarchy will only benefit from its current stance.

Quoting from the Star-Tribune, “Vance Welsh, owner of an auto body shop in Afton, said state leaders were right to reject the federal offer. When it comes to wolves, Wyoming needs to stick to its guns, he said. ‘I think that the governor is doing the right thing,’ said Welsh, who has several outfitter friends and follows the issue closely. ‘We’ve been lied to enough from the feds, and there is no need in accepting whatever they decided they want to have shoved down our throats.’ ”

Folks like this are Governor Freuenthal’s ace-in-hole. He can play the big bad federal government issue for as many years as he wants to remain in office.

In fact, Wyoming got already got most of what it wanted — the delisting proposal in fact eliminates all wolf protection in Wyoming outside of a portion of NW Wyoming, where most, but not all of the wolves are, greatly reducing the likelihood they will migrate down to Eastern Idaho, nothern Utah, and Colorado.



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  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    The funny thing is, with how the proposal published in the Federal Register structured, the wolf would remain under the protections of the ESA 10j provision in northwestern Wyoming where they would continue to prey on elk without control, and Mr. Welsh’s outfitter friends couldn’t do anything about it except howl.

    In any case,there is no doubt in my mind that the proposal is illegal, for reasons I’ve explained elsewhere on this blog.

    This will continue for years.

    In the larger sense, all Wyoming had to do four years ago was simply change the State law to reclassify wolves as trophy game throughout the entire State, and the wolf would already be delisted and the State would be killing wolves almost to its heart’s desire. The initial Wyoming wolf plan written by the Game & Fish trophy game section took that approach, but politics took over and the Legislature passed the dual status law. And so, four years later, here we are with no end in sight.

    We haven’t had political theater like this in the West since western stockgrowers and their allies in Washington tried to get Congress to turn over public lands to the States in 1946. In response, we got Bernard de Voto’s unparalleled 1947 “Uneasy Chair” columns on what a bunch of pirates stockgrowers were.

    We have no voice today as eloquent as de Voto’s to let us know what a bunch of thieves these guys are.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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