WY Game and Fish approves predator funding

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.

Wolves - government Sponsored Terrorists?

By Brodie Farquhar
Star-Tribune correspondent
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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One response to “WY Game and Fish approves predator funding

  1. Opposition to predator control in Wyoming has been a hard struggle. Generally, projects that are claimed to “benefit” wildlife are in areas where livestock producers want to kill coyotes, and “benefiting wildlife” is a cover for predator control for livestock and using wildlife funds to pay for it.

    The coyote shooting project designed to improve bighorn sheep lamb recruitment in the Whiskey Mountain herd, which is my local herd, has no scientific validity–no experimental design, no control. It’s just shooting coyotes. It’s been going on for 3 years now and has had no detectable impact on lamb recruitment. Local trappers are catching more coyotes than in the past. The project ignores serious problems with sheep habitat, and is, in short, being pursued solely in prejudice against coyotes.

    The bottom line problem with the sheep herd is that there are far too many sheep on a range with not enough productive capacity to support a herd of 1320 animals, which is the herd objective. What needs to happen is to reduce the number of sheep by at least half. However, this is not locally acceptable because the Whiskey Mountain herd is touted as the largest herd in North America. In other words, we’re maintaining an unhealthy, unvigorous herd for local marketing purposes, and then blaming coyotes because the herd lacks vigor. Typical.