Game and Fish: No trouble monitoring Wyo. wolves

Associated Press Published: November 14, 2012
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Tracking wolves has been no problem because Game and Fish biologists already have extensive experience monitoring other animals including bears and mountain lions, Bruscino said.

"We will build off of the existing body of knowledge and research on Yellowstone area wolves. But I think more of our focus will be on whether wolves are or aren't impacting specific ungulate populations, and to what degree they may be impacting," he said.

The information will help Game and Fish determine hunt limits for wolves as well as for ungulates, namely moose and elk.

"In some situations, wolves do have a measurable impact on ungulate population. And then, in some circumstances, they do not. So we want to get a better handle on what herds may be impacted and to what extent," Bruscino said.

Game and Fish has added radio collars to five wolves since August. Radio collars could be added to more wolves after the hunting season, with the goal of having radio collars on at least two wolves in each reproducing pack.

Tracking radio-collared wolves involves flying over the region at least a couple times a month to pick up signals and, if possible, spot and count wolves on the ground.

"I would call this a transition period from the research standpoint. We're working with the research partners to finish up pending research, and we'll look at other proposals with our research partners or internally as it comes up," Bruscino said.

Game and Fish will coordinate with Yellowstone to release annual reports on Wyoming's wolf population. Last year, Yellowstone's wolf count was at least 100 animals.

The report on Wyoming's 2012 wolf population will be released by mid-March.