In an apparent effort to demonstrate that their state will not be dragged out of the 1800s without a hell of a fight, wildlife policy makers in Wyoming (remember Dick Cheney?) have decided to spend a hefty chunk of the sparsely-populated state’s budget to beef-up the war on coyotes, wolves and other four-legged terrorists. While the some of the state’s livestock producers might feel this is an appropriate way to use their dole, we hope that the rest of the world knows that there are ranchers in Wyoming that actually want to join the rest of us in the 21st century.
By Brodie Farquhar
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted Friday to donate $100,000 to the state’s Animal Damage Management Board to fund predator control projects for wildlife priorities.
Hank Uhden, administrator of the state board charged with managing predators, outlined the current projects recommended by Game and Fish during the commission’s meeting in Casper Friday. They include:
* Whiskey Mountain bighorn sheep project, $18,000. Coyote management will be used to improve lamb survival and herd viability, after the herd suffered a 40 to 60 percent die-off in 1991 and has struggled since with low lamb survival.
* Cattle depredation statistical survey, $8,000. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Office will conduct an annual survey on depredation on cattle, instead of a survey every five years.
* Badger Creek-Hanging Woman fawn predation project, $9,120. Killing of coyotes will be used to enhance antelope and deer fawn survival in Sheridan County. Project includes areas of control and non-control to provide comparative data.
* Prevention of black bear and mountain lion depredation on livestock, up to $12,500. Alleviate black bear, grizzly bear and mountain lion depredation to livestock and beehives in all counties.
* Coyote-specific poison delivery mechanism, $6,936. Ongoing research to develop self-activated delivery of oral baits to coyotes, reducing bait exposure to other animals
* DNA analysis for control of predatory wolves, $15,115.
* Fremont County sage grouse/mule deer project, $10,000. Use motion cameras to identify predators affecting nest sites; measure differences in nesting success between predator control and non-control areas; and enhance struggling mule deer population.
New projects include:
* Livestock guard dog symposia, $5,000. Designed to plan, promote and produce regional symposia on effective use of guard dogs against predators.
* Quantify Wyoming sheep losses due to predators, $42,800. Number of fetuses will be determined in pregnant ewes by ultrasound in three sheep operations. Sheep will be closely monitored through docking and weaning of lambs to determine causes of losses, including predation.
* Bear conflict trap request, $4,000. Fund culvert box traps to manage bear conflicts in Jackson-to-Pinedale area.
* North Fork human/bear conflict resolution, $15,000. Improve storage methods for garbage and other attractants, as well as continuing education and outreach efforts in Park County.
* Upper Green River food and waste storage project, $2,000. For food and trash storage containers, to prevent habituation of bears at rural business locations.
* Absaroka elk ecology project, $59,000. Radio-telemetry to be used to determine seasonal movement and habitat use of migratory and resident elk, including habitat selection in response to wolves.
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