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Hearing on Wyomings triennial review of cougar and wolf hunting rules- July 18-20th (July 19th)

July 18 @ 8:00 am - July 20 @ 5:00 pm

July 18-20th Commission hearing – Hyrid format

Wyoming is doing their triennial review/rewrite of their Mt Lion hunting regulations, their  annual review of wolf hunting regulations and also rules on take of non-game wildlife. The mountain lion and wolf and non-game sections will be reviewed on the afternoon of the 19th, maybe starting at 3:40 pm MT (estimated) and folks can sign up to give oral testimony remotely by Zoom at specific time slots allocated for those topics on the agenda. Public speaks after staff, during approximate & estimated time allotted for item.  The 18th is a field trip.

View Agenda & get Zoom codes:

Public comments were due June 3rd by close of business, the Commission meeting is in July  & various public meetings were held in mid May (5/9/22-5/19/22) in various locations around Wyo. Written comments were due  submitted on-line by Friday 6/3/22 by COB or in the future verbally at a  Commission meeting in mid July, face-to-face or maybe remotely if they should allow virtual connection on July 18-20th – – they normally do that and you need to sign up in advance for remote testifying listing the topic(s) you want to testify on, Wyoming Game & Fish Commission meeting,- Evanston, Wyo.  – For more info on that meeting: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/about-us/game-and-fish-commission

WYOMING COUGARS

We  (PHAS) object to the current Wyo. Black Hills lion season as too aggressive.

What Wyoming Game and Fish is proposing for cougars:

  1. Wyoming Game and Fish (WGF) divides the state into 33 cougar hunting areas and re-evaluates the hunting season every 3 years. They allow hound hunting. For the next three years – Wyoming GF proposes hunting season that will  increase the cumulative take of mountain lions by 11 lions/year, increasing the harvest limits in 4 districts by  a range of 1-5 cougars. Harvest limits are not to be reduced in any district.
  2. It subtracts some land of hunting Area 22 (Ten Sleep) – moving land to Area 28 (Crowheart Butte)  (This  move is mostly about private in-holdings within the Wind River Reservation – it ismaking a contiguous area of an anomalous indent into the Reservation  – I.e. most of the land absorbed by 28 is private parcels who may or may not allow hunting on their land)
  3. Politics at play: Advocates of aggressive cougar harvest often express desire to maximize ungulates on the landscape for the hunters to shoot — those hunters don’t want to share enough of the prey with lions.

Cougar hunting area map: map https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/PDF/Regulations/2021-ML_BW.pdf

Proposed Wyoming cougar hunting rule: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/PDF/Get Involved/2022 July Regulations/CH-42-Draft-05-06-2022-3.pdf

Talking points:

  1. The leading cause of reduction in deer population is quality ofwinter range. It is a mistake to blame cougars for depressions of deer populations.
  2. By [my][our] values – all predators need respect – cougars are designed by nature to eat ungulates & other prey, that is their purpose and role.
  3.  Larger predators affect behavior of ungulates and thus the ungulate’s impact on habitat.
  4. Humans need  to share the prey with the non-human predators
  5. WGF has not made statistics and reports on 2021 cougars population trends available on-line, just at face-to-face meetings without virtual connections, thus it is hard for many folks, who did not go to those meetings,  to evaluate the proposed changes or the failures to make needed change.  See statement of Reasons – https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/PDF/Get Involved/2022 July Regulations/Stmt-of-Reasons-2022-CH-42.pdf
  6. We believe that WGF aggressively manages the 3 Black Hills cougar areas  as a cougar sink. (Areas numbers 32, 30 & 1 and they have a cummulative harvest limit of 61 lions )  We are upset on-line public doesn’t  have the Wyoming population trend statistics to look at in 2022.  WGF is relying on SD to grow cougars and for SD to export them by natural migration to Wyoming to be shot. SD mountain lions are likely decreasing in number due to SD’s harvest rates.   In SD we allow a Black Hills harvest limit of 60 lions either sex or 40  females. A third of the Black Hills habitat is in Wyoming.  Article on SD harvest: https://www.bhpioneer.com/local_news/report-mountain-lion-harvest-mortality-rates-could-lead-to-declining-population-in-hills/article_ccd44ce2-e651-11eb-bd80-33fe57d4f570.html Those of us in SD & NE Wyoming object to over-harvest in the Black Hills in both states, although Wyoming is much worse than SD.
  7. Area 24 (and maybe some of north edge of area 25) has the Wyoming extension of the Pine Ridge Ecosystem, an ecosystem that exists in Wyoming, Nebraska and SD.  Area 24 is also the prairie to the west of the Black Hills and there are some uplifts in it’s NE corner that generate lions and Area 24 has unlimited harvest  and we object to that.
  8. We want more cougars in the Black Hills and the Pine Ridge  Ecosystem.  We want the chance to see their tracksor glimpses of themon the landscape.

This link has the info for proposed rule changes for Chapter 42- Wyomings mountain lion rules and wolf hunting rules: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Get-Involved/Public-Meetings  – This link also has the schedule for future public meetings meetings, commenting directions & you can hyperlink to proposed rules up for changes –  for Chapter 42 is the mountain lion hunting & 47 is wolf regulation. Below each proposed rule change, is a link for on-line commenting on that rule.

To comment:

Mountain lion commenting link is: https://wgfapps.wyo.gov/WGFD_WebSurvey/CommentOnly.aspx

Postal mail comments to:

Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Wildlife Division
ATTN: Regulations
3030 Energy Lane
Casper, WY 82604

On Friday June 3rd it will be too late to “snail mail” – We think the postal mail deadline must be received in Casper on June 3rd. We suspect received before COB.

To see the Wyoming Game and Fish (WGF) Commissioners and their e-mails. You can always e-mail Commissioners directly: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/About-Us/Game-and-Fish-Commission/Meet-the-Commissioners

WYOMING WOLVES:

Remember to comment to WGF by Friday June 3rd  at COB.

WGF’s wolf commenting  link is: https://wgfapps.wyo.gov/WGFD_WebSurvey/CommentOnly.aspx

Proposed wolf regulations:

https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/PDF/Get%20Involved/2022%20July%20Regulations/CH-47-Draft-05-04-2022-3.pdf

Wolf hunting rules also at: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Get-Involved/Public-Meetings

See map of  Wyoming and wolf hunting regions:

https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Wildlife-in-Wyoming/More-Wildlife/Large-Carnivore/Wolves-in-Wyoming/Wolves-and-Wyoming-Laws-and-Regulations

WGF Commission has the authority today, to change the wolf hunting rules in a couple areas of Wyoming, but not in other areas. The Wyoming legislature set the parameters for wolf regulations in most of the state – the predator zone.  If you want that “Predatory Animal Management Area’s “management changed you need to talk to the Wyoming legislature or get the northern rockies wolves re-listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The WGF’s proposed rule results in no cumulative change to the  number of wolves allowed to be taken in “Wolf Trophy Game Management Area” & “Seasonal Wolf Trophy Game Management Area”, but it changes  the allowed take in 6 out of 14 individual hunt areas within the Trophy Game Management Areas (some hunt areas increase and some decrease) WyomingUntrapped has a map of the Trophy Game Management Area’s subset areas.

Here is WyomingUntrapped’s  2022 grey wolf alert w/ talking points: https://wyominguntrapped.org/news/raise-your-voices-up-for-public-comment-gray-wolf-hunting-regulations-2022/

Article/info on wolves by Wyoming Game and Fish:

https://wgfd.wyo.gov/News/Wyoming-maintains-stable-gray-wolf-populations

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COMMENTING To USFWS on wolves

Folks can also help the Wyoming wolves by sending comment letters to the USFWS asking for the  northern rockies population to be re-listed under the Endangered Species Act.   Grey wolves (except Mexican wolf sub-species) were de-listed by Trump in late 2020. In February 2022, a  judge ordered the re-listing of all grey wolves, except in the northern rockies .

2 listing petitions have been filed for resisting (June and July 2021) and received a positive 90 day finding and now await a 12 month finding.

Here is the link for an action alert on protecting wolves in the northern Rockies w/ pre-fab online letter to support emergency listing: https://act.biologicaldiversity.org/stnIOQExdE2KHAxapy3B6A2?sourceid=1008066

Other links

https://wolf.org/headlines/environmental-groups-ask-feds-for-emergency-re-listing-of-northern-rockies-wolves/

https://biologicaldiversity.org/w/news/press-releases/endangered-species-act-protection-sought-for-wolves-in-northern-rockies-2021-05-26/

Relist Wolves Now: https://www.relistwolvesnow.org/

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Calling really matters to advocate for Gray Wolves.

https://doi.gov/contact-us
To reach Interior Secretary Haaland (she’s the boss of Martha Williams@ USFWS)
(202) 208-3100, Ext 3,

Please leave your Name, City/County, State, Tele #

Ask her to grant emergency listing of Northern Rocky Mtn Gray Wolves & perhaps share a personal story of what wolves mean to you. Phone calls are tallied, they show interest in the future of Wolves, and amount of calls are related to the Secretary.

Please Call the White House Comment Line: Tues, Wed, Thurs (202) 456-1111

 

Prairie Hills Audubon Society has an alert up on the web site and any updates will be posted to the events/alerts web page –  https://phas-wsd.org/event/deadline-to-send-written-comments-on-wyomings-triennial-review-of-cougar-and-wolf-hunting-rules/

If you want a copy of a draft report on the Wyoming Mountain Lion population trends, I got a copy from WGF , but this is  not published on-line at this time. So if you want that, ask me to send it.

Details

Start:
July 18 @ 8:00 am
End:
July 20 @ 5:00 pm