August 2005 -- Following hours of public comments on the state wolf plan, the Utah State Wildlife Board unanimously voted on June 9, 2005, to accept the state?s first wolf-management plan. This plan allows ranchers, along with their family members and employees, to use lethal methods of control on wolves when found chasing, harassing or killing livestock on both public and private land. In other words, it provides livestock owners the guidelines needed to protect their investments.
There were two amendments in the original plan that the Utah Wool Growers Association (UWGA) and the Utah Farm Bureau Federation successfully lobbied to change. The first one recommended using rubber bullets and other non-lethal control methods to control wolves. The second amendment would have allowed a wolf to kill livestock four to five separate times before lethal control methods would have been enforced.
?These were two areas that we weren?t going to compromise,? says Clark Willis, director for the UWGA and wolf-plan working group task-force member.
This vote brings wolves closer to the legal status of bears and cougars, which are considered predators, and ranchers and farmers are allowed to shoot them if they feel the animals are threatening their livestock.
It was also necessary in order for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to give management authority of wolves to the state once they are delisted from the Endangered Species List.
Utah?s plan closely follows a state resolution passed by legislation stating that wolves will be protected until they interfere with livestock and wildlife.
?We followed the state?s resolution to a tee,? says Willis, ?that is why the State Wildlife Board passed the amendment. They felt the agriculture community really stepped up to the plate on this one and did a good job.?
In order for the plan to get to the State Wildlife Board, it was first passed by the Central Utah Regional Advisory Council.
?During this process, we had wonderful support from all aspects of the livestock industry who understand that we must be active in making the decisions that affect our industries,? says Clark.