POWELL, Wyo. (AP) Park County commissioners are not happy with Wyoming's new wolf management plan and say it might take litigation to keep the measure from going into effect.
Wyoming Game and Fish commissioners approved the plan Tuesday at a meeting in Sheridan.
It establishes a dual classification for wolves, protecting them in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the contiguous wilderness areas. But everywhere else in the state, they would be considered a predator and could be shot on sight.
Park County commissioners Tim Morrison and Marie Fontaine were upset that commissioners approved the plan without taking written comments on the matter.
"Something is going on that they want to rush through this thing. We may be at a point where someone has to sue the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission if they go ahead with this plan," Morrison said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requiring management plans from Wyoming, Idaho and Montana to ensure a viable wolf population. The plans must earn the approval of federal scientists before wolves are removed from the endangered species list.
Idaho has also approved a wolf management plan and Montana's plan is expected to be ready next month.
Fontaine also was not happy with the section in Wyoming's plan that spells out how many wolf packs are allowed in the state.
Under the plan, a minimum of 15 wolf packs would be maintained, with at least seven packs outside of Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks and the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway.
If seven or fewer packs are found outside the parks and parkway, officials could extend trophy game status beyond the wilderness areas to help wolf numbers recover.
But Fontaine said if there were, for example, 10 wolf packs inside the parks and parkway, only five packs should be required outside of them not seven.
Morrison said it was also wrong that the law didn't more clearly spell out the location of wolf packs outside the parks and parkway.
The Meeteetse resident said he can hear wolves howling in the area and was concerned increased populations would be devastating to area ranchers.
"They are very concerned," Fontaine said.
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