Wolves in the Bighorns? Yes and no

Mike Jimenez, USF&W
Mike Jimenez, USF&W

Wolves were the topic of discussion at a recent meeting in Buffalo. Aaron Palmer has this report.

The Animal Damage Management Board met in Buffalo last Thursday, and what seemed to be one of the more anticipated presentations came from Mike Jimenez of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Jimenez gave an update on wolves in and around the Yellowstone ecosystem and the entire Northwest region of the country.

According to data presented by Jimenez, Yellowstone wolves have occasionally wandered outside the ecosystem to areas as far away as southern Canada, Colorado and even Oregon and Washington, but for the most part the population has stayed concentrated in the immediate area around Yellowstone.

When asked if wolves are in the Bighorn Mountains, Jimenez said they have been here, but USF&W believes they were young wolves and were not staying put, but roaming through the area. But, he said, the wolf populations are being monitored and when there are conflicts with domestic livestock, they are being dealt with swiftly.

Jimenez said the wolf population is estimated to be 1700 wolves in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, with 242 different packs throughout the three states. He was more specific with the numbers in Wyoming.

The ADMB is a 14-member state-appointed board that helps deal with predator and wildlife management issues through funding of county predator management boards, wildlife agencies, and other groups.

Also at the meeting, the board considered requests from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for funding in predator management before more Bighorn sheep are introduced to the Seminoe Mountains and Elk Mountain in Wyoming's Black Hills. Both requests totaling just over $15,000 were funded.

The board also discussed USDA Wildlife Services aerial hunting ferry time, heard an update on County Predator Management Board refund policy, discussed raven predation on Sage Grouse populations and heard a presentation on Predator Management District Board meeting rules and regulations.

From the Johnson County News Desk, I'm Aaron Palmer with sheridanmedia.com news.

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