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By Brendan LaChance
CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Legislature is considering a bill that would create a new program to compensate ranchers if they experience livestock losses due to grey wolves.
The proposed legislation would dedicate $90,000 for administration costs of the program and to make damage payments over a two year period. That amount would be appropriated for the period between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2022.
“The department of agriculture shall administer a program to compensate landowners, lessees or their agents whose livestock…is damaged by a gray wolf in an area of the state where gray wolves are classified as a predatory animal,” the proposed legislation states.
Grey wolves are considered a predatory animal in most areas of Wyoming as show in this Wyoming Game and Fish Department map:
(Wyoming Game and Fish Department)
“Wolves outside the TGMA (Trophy Game Management Area) are now considered predatory animals as defined in state law and therefore can be harvested,” Game and Fish says. “Any wolf harvested in the predator zone must be reported to the Game and Fish within 10 days of harvest, this can be done by phone. Game and Fish would like to obtain a genetic sample from each harvested wolf.”
“Game and Fish does not manage wolves outside the Trophy Game Management Area.”
The proposed new program would compensate livestock producers for losses due to grey wolves in areas of the state not manage by Game and Fish.
The bill is sponsored by Representatives Winter and Sommers and Senators Agar and Bebout.
The Wyoming Legislature will begin their 2020 session on Feb. 10.