WSGA: In the News


Pacific Legal Foundation and Property Rights Groups Petition Feds for Preble's Mouse Delisting - Monday, April 3, 2017

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Farm and Ranch Transition Conference Available for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers across Wyoming - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

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Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) Announces Endorsement of Liz Cheney - Friday, September 30, 2016

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WSGA to testify before the Public Lands & Forests Subcommittee of the Senate Energy Committee in Washington, D.C. on June 21st - Monday, June 20, 2016

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Wyoming Livestock Producers Urged to Donate to Those in Need - Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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WSGA Welcomes Grizzly Bear Action - Friday, March 4, 2016

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Clifford P. Hansen Memorial Scholarship Available to Wyoming Students - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Clifford P.  Hansen Memorial Scholarship is in remembrance of Clifford Hansen, who was known as a Teton county rancher, Past President of Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Governor of Wyoming and a U.S. Senator. The Memorial Scholarship was established through contributions received in memory of Senator Hansen and other departed WSGA leaders.  It recognizes an outstanding college student pursuing an education related to Wyoming’s agriculture or natural resources.  WSGA believes that continuing education is an important asset for youth and we are proud to announce that January 2016 marks the second year of awarding the scholarship.  The $1,000 cash scholarship will be awarded for the 2016-2017 academic year.

 “The Hansen Memorial Scholarship serves as a reminder of the dedicated leadership provided to WSGA and to the State of Wyoming by past and current leaders of our industry,” Stated Executive Vice President, Jim Magagna.

 

To be eligible, students, parents or guardian must be a member in good standing of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. The applicant must be a sophomore, junior or senior enrolled full-time at the University of Wyoming or a Wyoming Community College, have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher and be majoring in agriculture or natural resource related field.

 To apply for this scholarship, the applicant must submit an essay of 500 words or less addressing the following questions and an official transcript.

  • What have you gained from your college experience?
  • How do your post-college plans involve agriculture or natural resources?
  • What characteristics distinguish you as deserving this scholarship?
All applications will be due Friday, April 8, 2016 to Haley Lockwood at P.O. Box 206, Cheyenne, WY 82003 or to haley@wysga.org. The winner will be approved by the WSGA trustees based on a recommendation from the WSGA Executive Committee. The scholarship winner will be announced at the 2016 Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show in Laramie, Wyo., June 1st – 4th.  
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SR Cattle Company (Kane Ranch) Receives 2016 Leopold Conservation Award® as Part of Wyoming’s Environmental Stewardship Award Program - Tuesday, January 5, 2016

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Annual Wyoming Day at National Western set for Jan. 23 - Tuesday, January 5, 2016

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Wild Horse Litigation: WSGA Recognizes Impact of Excess Wild Horse Numbers - Thursday, December 17, 2015

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Wyoming Stock Growers Recognizes Leaders in Land Stewardship - Wednesday, December 9, 2015

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Wyoming Stock Growers Association Thank Sponsors for their Generous Contributions - Wednesday, December 9, 2015

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WSGA Files Petition for Review against the BLM and Forest Service Sage Grouse Habitat Plans in Wyoming - Thursday, October 15, 2015

WSGA Files Petition for Review against the BLM and Forest Service Sage Grouse Habitat Plans in Wyoming

Cheyenne, Wyo. – On October 14th the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) filed a Petition for Review in the Federal District Court in Wyoming regarding the recently announced amendments to BLM and Forest Service plans in Wyoming addressing habitat for sage grouse.  WSGA is requesting that the Court review the Final Plan Amendments and Environmental Impact Statements for six BLM Field Offices (Casper, Kemmerer, Newcastle, Pinedale, Rawlins and Rock Springs) and three USFS units (Bridger-Teton National Forest, Medicine Bow National Forest and Thunder Basin National Grasslands.  The petition asks the Court to find the final agency actions arbitrary, beyond the scope of authority and procedurally defective.

WSGA President Niels Hansen, Rawlins, emphasized the potential impact of these plan amendments on Wyoming's ranching industry.  "Our public land grazing permittees and lessees need and deserve stability in their operations.  The arbitrary natures of the grazing prescriptions in these plan amendments and the uncertainty that will accompany their implementation will influence rancher's management decisions in ways that can prove detrimental to both livestock and sage grouse."

WSGA had previously provided comments on the draft plans and had filed a formal protest to the proposed Plan Amendments and final EIS.  The Association’s concerns centered on the plan’s failure to fully adopt provisions relating to livestock grazing found in the Wyoming Governor’s Executive Order on Sage Grouse.  Specific issues cited in the protest included failure to distinguish “Improper Grazing”, the definition of “Disruptive Activity” and the treatment of voluntary grazing permit relinquishments.

“Our objections were summarily dismissed by the agencies”, noted WSGA Executive Vice President Jim Magagna.  However, Magagna recognized several significant improvements to the draft documents as a result of efforts of the Wyoming Governor’s Office and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.  “With a few significant exceptions, the BLM final plans are consistent with the Executive Order regarding grazing.  The Forest Service Plans do not give this same deference to the state’s efforts.”  Magagna emphasized that the negative impacts of these changes on Wyoming ranchers will not only increase they are fully implemented over the next several years. 

Regarding WSGA’s decision to raise the first legal challenges to the plan amendments, Magagna commented, “Wyoming has been the recognize leader in the sage grouse conservation effort.  It is important that our federal land agencies “get it right’ to assure the continued pro-active engagement of the state and its citizens.  It is equally important that legal challenges to the plans and their implementation be decided in Wyoming by Wyoming judges.  WSGA is pleased that Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), with a strong record of success in natural resource litigation, has agreed to represent us in this case.”

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2015 Environmental Stewardship Tour Scheduled for Tuesday, July 14 at the King Ranch - Monday, June 29, 2015

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Governor to Proclaim Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Day by Recognizing Leopold Conservation Award® Recipient - Thursday, April 16, 2015

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WSGA Files “Friend of the Court” Brief - Will Aide the State of Wyoming’s Challenge to BLM’s Wild Horse Management - Monday, April 6, 2015

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WSGA Summer Internship Program - Thursday, February 12, 2015

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BLM and Forest Service Announce 2015 Grazing Fee - Monday, February 2, 2015

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Clifford P. Hansen Memorial Scholarship Available to Wyoming Students - Monday, January 5, 2015

The Clifford P.  Hansen Memorial Scholarship is in remembrance of Clifford Hansen, Teton county rancher, Past President of Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Governor of Wyoming and U.S. Senator. The Memorial Scholarship was established through contributions received in memory of Senator Hansen and other departed WSGA leaders.  It recognizes an outstanding college student pursuing an education related to Wyoming agriculture or natural resources.  WSGA believes that continuing education is an important asset for youth and we are proud to announce that January 2015 marks the announcement of the inaugural Memorial Scholarship.  The $1,000 cash scholarship will be awarded for the 2016 academic year.

 

“The Hansen Memorial Scholarship serves as a reminder of the dedicated leadership provided to WSGA and to the State of Wyoming by past and current leaders of our organization,” Stated Executive Vice  President, Jim Magagna.

 

To be eligible, students, parents or guardian must be a member in good standing of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. The applicant must be a sophomore, junior or senior enrolled full-time at the University of Wyoming or a Wyoming Community College, have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher and be majoring in an agriculture or natural resource related field.

 

To apply for this scholarship, the applicant must submit an essay of 500 words or less addressing the following questions.

  • What have you gained from your college experience?
  • How do your post-college plans involve agriculture or natural resources?
  • What characteristics distinguish you as deserving this scholarship?

All applications will be due Friday, April 3, 2015 to Haley Lockwood at P.O. Box 206, Cheyenne, Wyo 82003 or to haley@wysga.org. The winner will be approved by the WSGA trustees based on a recommendation from the WSGA Executive Committee. The scholarship winner will be announced at the 2015 Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show in Sheridan, Wyo., June 3rd – 6th.

 
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Student applications sought for Public Lands Council Conference - Monday, January 5, 2015

CHEYENNE - The Public Lands Council is once again offering two Nick Theos scholarships of $250, complimentary hotel accommodations on Capitol Hill, and complimentary conference registration to attend the annual Spring Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, March 23-26, 2015.

 

PLC represents public lands ranchers in Washington, DC. Since 1968, PLC has worked with Congress and the federal land management agencies to maintain a stable business environment in which livestock producers can conserve the West and feed the nation and world.

Nick Theos, a founding member of PLC and great supporter of the livestock industry, passed away on April 11th, 2013 at the age of 92. It is because of the Theos family and the Nick Theos PLC Scholarship Program that young people are able to attend our annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.

 

In an effort to get more college students involved with PLC issues and provide them with an unforgettable learning experience, we are offering this chance to meet members of Congress and their staff; attend meetings with agency officials; and hear from the leading experts and influencers in the industry. Scholars will be able to actively participate in our efforts to promote and support public lands grazing at our Nation’s Capital.

 

Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in public lands ranching. We ask that they complete the attached form and include a letter of recommendation from a teacher or professor, FFA mentor, livestock association, or other leader that can attest to the professionalism and interest of the applicant. If selected, applicants should be prepared to give short remarks to meeting attendees during lunch on Tuesday, March 24th. PLC will provide hotel rooms and registration fees. The Wyoming Public Lands Coalition will cover the cost of travel to Washington, D.C.

 

For application details and more information, visit http://www.wysga.org/publiclandscouncil.aspx or contact WSGA Communication Director Haley Lockwood at haley@wysga.org or 307-638.3942. Applications are due Friday, January 23, 2015 by 5 p.m. to the email address above or to P.O. Box 206, Cheyenne, Wyo., 82003. One or two students will be nominated by the Wyoming Public Lands Coalition leadership and the final winners will be chosen by the national Public Lands Council from a nationwide pool of applicants. These winners will be notified by the National Public Lands Council.

 

 

 
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King Ranch Company Receives 2015 Leopold Conservation Award® as Part of Wyoming’s Environmental Stewardship Award Program - Monday, January 5, 2015

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Wyoming fence law targets unlawful grazing - Friday, December 5, 2014

 

A bill that would make it a crime to unlawfully allow livestock to graze on neighboring lands will be sponsored by the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Agriculture committee.

The legislation makes it a misdemeanor to open a gate or remove a fence for the purpose of allowing livestock to graze on neighboring lands outside the landowner's land use rights. The charge carries a fine of up to $750.

Jim Magagna, executive director of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, said at the group’s 2014 Annual Winter Meeting that the law is aimed to keep owners of small ranchettes from releasing overcrowded animals on larger ranches' private lands.

“Somebody might have 40 acres and they think they can put 50 head of horses on that,” he said. “It doesn’t work. They run out of something to eat and they look to larger pastures with grass owned by a rancher and think 'Let’s just leave the gate open; the horses will get filled up and when they’re full come back home.'”

The legislation would apply to people who own or control livestock. Authorities would have to prove landowners intentionally left gates open or fences in disrepair.

The group’s Brand Committee questioned the legislation's effect on federal lands in the state. Specifically, the committee wondered whether federal agencies would be subject to the legislation.

The bill would apply to livestock owners, Magagna said. 

“I would question the state’s authority to impose a misdemeanor on a federal agency,” he said.

Wyoming legislators will bring the bill to the floor in the January Legislative session.

Reach general assignment reporter Trevor Graff at 307-266-0639 or Trevor.Graff@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @TrevGraff.

 
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Gov. Mead, legislators outline Wyoming agricultural issues Wild horse management could be headed to court - Friday, December 5, 2014

Gov. Matt Mead plans to continue pressuring federal officials to fix what he calls a broken Endangered Species Act and poor wild horse management practices in Wyoming.

Mead told ranchers Wednesday at the annual winter meeting of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association that although the state is a leader in agricultural and federal lands issues, the state has yet to solve several key matters.

“As we battle the federal government on many different things from sage grouse to wild horses, it is great to be able to say, 'We aren’t just complaining; we’re doing something in Wyoming,'” Mead said. “We value open space, we value agriculture, and we’re doing something about it.”

The governor said he will continue litigation to pressure the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Congress to consider alternatives for wild horse management.

Federal officials gathered more than 1,200 wild horses from the checkerboard lands of southwest Wyoming in September. The agency spends more than $80 million nationwide for wild horse management, and the BLM's long-term holding facilities in Rock Springs are nearing capacity.

“They don’t have the resources needed to properly manage wild horses,” Mead said. “We have to make sure that the wild horses are appropriately managed, and we have to make sure the BLM has sufficient funding to do that.”

After releasing his supplemental budget request earlier in the week, he asked legislators to consider a shift in state spending for the coming year.

“It’s important for us to continue to be conservative, but also fund those things that build Wyoming,” Mead said. “The fact of the matter is, our job is not to be a bank. Our job is to make sure our citizens are in a good place.”

Several Wyoming legislators participated in a forum on agricultural issues facing the Legislature at Wednesday’s meeting.

Rep. Hans Hunt, R-Newcastle, unveiled proposed legislation to boost spending on technical education in the state.

Hunt said his proposal will mirror Wyoming’s Hathaway Scholarship program for the University of Wyoming. He wants to provide money for students in agricultural and technical fields.

“It’s got to where we are neglecting the elective courses, particularly agriculture and vocational technical classes,” Hunt said. “There are a lot of kids out there who have a lot of potential, but they don’t have an interest in studying math and science.”

Newly appointed agriculture committee member Leland Christensen said he expects the panel to continue work on a bill that bans the use of natural resource data obtained by trespass on private lands.

The bill creates the crime of trespass to unlawfully collect resource data. It carries a penalty of a maximum six months in jail and $5,000 fine for a first offense and a sentence of 10 days to a year in jail for repeat offenses.

“If you collect that data unlawfully, it can’t be used,” Christensen said. “We recognize that that really only works at the state level. If they take that information out of state, we can’t really control what the feds have in their books.”

Mead joined Wyoming’s federal delegation in opposition of the Endangered Species Act during the convention. Members of the Wyoming delegation say they will continue work to fix what they consider broken legislation after the holiday recess.

Reach general assignment reporter Trevor Graff at 307-266-0639 or Trevor.Graff@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @TrevGraff.

 
 
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'Cattle Kate' recounts true story - Sunday, November 23, 2014

 

Title: 'Cattle Kate'

Author: Jana Bommersbach

Pages: 342

The first chapter of Jana Bommersbach’s novel “Cattle Kate” reminds one of Ambrose Bierce’s classic short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” In both cases, the intended victims of a judgment wait with hands bound for a hangman’s noose to be lowered and tightened on their necks.

Thoughts of injustice mixed with the hopefulness that this is just a bad dream race through their heads. Whether or not Bierce based his story on a real event is not known, but Bommersbach did.

The author soon engages us with the image of Kate twisting and kicking so violently at the end of the rope that her beautiful beaded moccasins fly off her feet. Doubters of the authenticity of the scene or the story can view those moccasins on page 22 in the November, 2014 issue of True West magazine.

The actual moccasins are on display in the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne. The photo appears in a factual article Bommersbach wrote for the magazine titled “Dead Wrong About Cattle Kate,” and makes a good companion piece to her book. She lays out many of the facts modern sleuths have used to determine that the victim and her husband lynched beside her were innocent of the alleged crime.

In some ways, the novel matches the format of many fictional Westerns where the victims own desired property with good water that neighboring ranchers want for themselves. But when readers know that facts support the storyline, they can readily accept it. Born Ellen Watson in Ontario, Canada, Kate came to Kansas with her family and soon married a man who abused her with a horsewhip. She fled that predicament and moved to Rawlins, Wyo., where she worked as a cook and waitress until meeting her second husband, James Averell.

A business-minded man, he filed for homestead land and opened a general store and restaurant where Kate cooked and mended clothes for cowboys. Because these men come and go to their cabin, rumors of prostitution began to form. The couple soon came up against the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and one of its members, John Bothwell, who made several offers to buy land from them which they refused.

Bothwell countered them with charges that they were rustling cattle from his herd. Rumors accusing cattle rustling and prostitution prompted vigilantes to take them to a convenient tree to conduct their outrageous act. While the sheriff did eventually arrest six men for the lynching, nothing came of it due to intimidation of witnesses and the disappearance of another.

The historical novel “Cattle Kate” is interesting and might serve to remind us that lynchings took place in this area, too, such as one in Emmons County in 1897, a vigilante group’s response to the Spicer family murders.

Jana Bommersbach possesses North Dakota roots. Born in Hankinson, her professional journey took her to Arizona and the role of an acclaimed journalist. The Arizona Press Club has honored her with The Distinguished Service Award as well as Arizona Journalist of the Year. A communications expert, she has won praises and awards in all phases of her work as a journalist, author, broadcaster and speaker.

 Lynn Bueling, a member and staff writer for the Western Writers of America, lives in Mandan.

 
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Willard Wilson of Thermopolis Passes at 86 - Service Thursday, Nov. 13th - Monday, November 10, 2014

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Laramie County Community College Cattlemen’s to hold Producer’s Night - Friday, November 7, 2014

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Beef producers bracing for change - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Federal Judge Ruling Continues Suspension of Wolf Hunting in Wyoming - Monday, October 6, 2014

Federal Judge Ruling Continues Suspension of

Wolf Hunting in Wyoming

 

CHEYENNE – A ruling today by a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C. continues the suspension of gray wolf hunting in Wyoming. After two years of hunting, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled on Sept. 23 that Wyoming’s plan was not legally sufficient to support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 rule allowing limited take of gray wolves.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik said, “We are disappointed in the ruling that removes the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s ability to manage gray wolves in Wyoming. We will continue to work with the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office to address relevant concerns and ensure wolf management is returned to the state." 

Today’s ruling continues the suspension of the wolf season and all other take of wolves in the state. In response to the ruling, Wyoming filed an emergency regulation to address the concerns stated by Judge Jackson, but Jackson ruled the emergency regulation was not sufficient to alter the judgment she imposed last week. 

The Game and Fish has suspended all sales of gray wolf licenses and will establish a system to refund hunters who have already purchased a 2014 gray wolf license. Hunting in the trophy game area in northwest Wyoming was scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

 

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Wyoming Youth Selected for 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team - Monday, October 6, 2014

  2015 National Beef Ambassadors Selected

By: Melissa Sandfort, 308-697-3486; misandfort@beefboard.org

Rachel Purdy (Wyoming), Will Pohlman (Arkansas), Alicia Smith (Texas), Kalyn McKibben (Oklahoma), Demi Snider (Ohio) were chosen as the 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team at the annual National Beef Ambassador competition, which is funded in part by the beef checkoff and managed by the American National CattleWomen, Inc, contractor to the beef checkoff.

Twenty senior contestants, ages 17-21, were judged in the areas of consumer promotion, education and outreach strategy, media-interview technique and issues response at the event in Denver, Sept. 26-27.

Contestants from throughout the country vied for a spot on this elite team of agriculture advocates and for the $5,000 in cash prizes sponsored exclusively by Farm Credit. Additionally, five educational scholarships totaling $5,000 were awarded by the American National CattleWomen Foundation, Inc. and Monsanto.

This year’s contest also hosted a junior competition for youth beef-industry advocates, ages 12-16. Ten passionate contestants vied for cash prizes, competing in three judged categories: consumer promotion, media-interview technique and issues response. The first-place winner was Phillip Saunders (Virginia). The second place winner was Bret Lee (Louisiana), and the third place winner was Abbey Schiefelbein (Minnesota). They all took home checks from Farm Credit for their top scores.   

While preparing for this national beef promotion and education competition, youth across the nation learn about beef and the beef industry with support from state CattleWomen and Cattlemen’s associations and state beef councils. The preparation highlights industry issues of current consumer interest. Winners of the state competitions compete at the national level, where they receive additional training. After the event, the youth ambassadors speak to industry issues and misconceptions and educate their peers and meal-time decision makers about beef nutrition, cattle care, safety and more during consumer events, in the classroom and online.

Follow the National Beef Ambassadors on Twitter at @beefambassador and visit www.nationalbeefambassador.org or www.ancw.org for more information.

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Wyoming Wolf Protections Restored - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WYOMING WOLF PROTECTIONS RESTORED

KILLING OF WOLVES NOW PROHIBITED ACROSS WYOMING

 A DC Federal District Judge has granted environmental plaintiffs request for summary judgment in a 2013 case challenging the delisting of wolves in Wyoming.  This action restores full ESA protection to wolves in Wyoming and returns wolf management to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  The judge based her decision on finding that the Wyoming regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to protect the species.
The Court in particular found fault with the FWS acceptance of Wyoming’s commitment to maintain a buffer of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation while relying on park/reservation wolves to equate to the 50% buffer being required in Idaho and Montana.  The minimum population required in each state is 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs.  While state statute binds Wyoming to the 100/10 minimum, the additional commitment to the buffer is not contained in statute and therefore, according to the court, not legally enforceable.
On a positive note, the Court did uphold the FWS on plaintiffs challenge to the adequacy of genetic connectivity among wolf populations.  It further upheld the FWS finding that the wolf was not “endangered in a significant portion of its range” and that the predator area was not a significant portion of its range.
It is WSGA understands that the State of Wyoming will seek a stay on the judge’s ruling to allow it an opportunity to make required changes addressing the enforceability of the state plan.  Pending the granting of a stay, it is illegal to kill wolves in any area of Wyoming even with a valid G&F issued wolf license.


 
   
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