LANDER, Wyo. - Wyoming hunters and ranchers killed at least three gray wolves within the first three days of the animals' removal from the federal endangered species list, local and state wildlife officials said.
Wyoming, Montana and Idaho took over management of wolves within their borders on Friday as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ended protection of the animals under the Endangered Species Act.
Two wolves, a male and a female, were killed Friday near an elk feedground in the Pinedale area in Sublette County, said Eric Keszler, spokesman for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Scott Talbott, the Game and Fish official overseeing Wyoming's new wolf management program, said one of the wolves was wearing a tracking collar.
Also Friday, a rancher killed a wolf on his property because he'd been having problems with a wolf harassing his livestock, said Cat Urbigkit, a member of the Sublette County Predator Board.
All three wolves were killed in Wyoming's predator zone, where people are now allowed to kill wolves at any time and for any reason as long as they report the time, location and sex of each kill to the state within 10 days.
"There has been a lot of excitement and interest for hunters in Sublette County," Urbigkit said. "The predator board has nothing to do with that, but if the hunters are successful in their efforts, then hopefully the predator boards will not be called in on conflicts."