A total of 76 wolves were killed in Wyoming last year. Hunters killed 44 during the state's licensed hunting season, meeting the state's quota.
Wyoming issued 2,500 licenses for the state's 2017 wolf hunting season, which ran from October through December. Hunters killed a total of 44 wolves during the season (43 legal kills and one illegal kill). An additional 32 wolves were killed in areas of the state where they're considered nuisance predators and can be killed without a license.
That's a 1.7-percent success rate for hunters taking a wolf.
"So it's hard to actually cross paths with one unless you really know a specific pack or put in a lot of time," said Ken Mills, lead wolf biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Still, the state met its quota of 44 wolves.
"(The wolf hunting season) got off to a pretty fast start in October and we closed a number of hunt areas early," Mills said. "Then November was really quiet for the hunt areas that were open, and in December it picked back up, and I think probably snow had a part to do with it...which helps people with tracking and seeing wolves."
But last year was the first year since 2013 that the state allowed licensed wolf hunting. This came after a 2017 federal appeals court lifted endangered-species protection for wolves, allowing the state to take over management of the animals.
There are currently around 380 wolves in Wyoming. The canines remain protected in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Wyoming wants a sustainable population of around 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside the parks and the reservation.
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