April 29, 2024

Wolf Issues Sweep Through the Northwest

Article Contact: Marie Neumiller,

Why It Matters: As population studies wrap-up, commissions convene, and court decisions are announced, management and regulatory conversations begin anew. While wolves are only one species among thousands, the decisions being made with wolf management have ripple effects throughout wildlife conservation as well as hunting and trapping opportunities. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is working actively with Legislators, Commissioners, state fish and wildlife agencies, and our partners to ensure that Sportsmen’s interests are represented in any resulting laws and regulations.


  • The Washington Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) met with WDFW Director Kelly Susewind, Region 2 Director Brock Hoenes, and biologists of Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to discuss the annual wolf report and their recommendation to downlist wolves in Washington State. CSF holds an active seat on the WAG and represented the sportsmen’s voice in those conversations.
  • In the wake of events in Wyoming, Legislators and the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish are beginning to have conversations about current predator zone policies.
  • Similar conversations were heard during Washington and Oregon’s recent commission meetings.

This past week, as fish and game commissions convened across the northwest from Washington to Wyoming, one common thread was wolf management. In addition, recent court rulings will lead to adjustments in current wolf trapping seasons. Though wolves have been a common thread across the region these past few weeks, the questions being asked and regulatory solutions available differ in each individual state. While wolves are only one species among thousands, the decisions being made with wolf management have ripple effects throughout wildlife conservation as well as hunting and trapping opportunities.

  • In Montana, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld part of a previous court-ordered wolf trapping season restriction. However, in that same ruling the Appeals court disagreed with restrictions in Regions One through Five. This ruling may force Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks to adjust their wolf trapping seasons once again in areas with grizzly bear populations. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation continues to track these cases and will engage once management conversations can begin.
  • Oregon’s annual wolf report showed a decrease in population due, in part, to the translocation of ten wolves to Colorado for their reintroduction efforts, along with a poaching incident. Changes in breeding pair numbers will have impacts on the regional listing statuses of wolves, slowing management progression.
  • Washington received a report on their annual population study, which showed a twenty percent population increase in 2023. The result of this study supports WDFW’s recommendation to downlist wolves from endangered to state sensitive, potentially opening some additional, sportsmen-led management options.
  • The Wyoming Department of Game and Fish Commission began the early stages of their difficult conversations around the state’s predator zone and methods of take. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is actively working with the Department and legislators as regulatory solutions are discussed.

Regulatory solutions to wolf management questions vary significantly in each state across our nation. With variances in habitat, prey abundances, social tolerance, and management styles, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to wolf management. Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s States Program Team are actively engaging with governors, legislators, directors, commissioners, department staff, and partner organizations to ensure that the sportsmen’s voice is heard early so that we are well represented in any resulting pieces of legislation and/or policy decisions.

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