Wyoming resident cited for illegally possessing a live wolf

The individual recently captured the gray wolf and brought it into a home and local establishment in Daniel, Wyoming.
A female wolf stands in the road near the Lamar River bridge near Yellowstone National Park. (Courtesy of Yellowstone National Park, Jim Peaco)

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Courts, Crime, Environment

An individual recently captured a gray wolf inside what is known as Wyoming’s “predator zone.” According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the individual then brought the wolf into his residence and later into a local business in Daniel, Wyoming, near Pinedale, before killing the animal.

In Wyoming, it is legal to kill a wolf in most areas, but not to be in possession of it.

Sublette County Circuit Court confirmed the name of the individual is Cody Roberts, who declined a request to comment. 

Breanna Ball, a public information officer with the department, wrote in an email to KHOL, “An anonymous reporting party notified the Wyoming Game and Fish Department that an individual was alleged to be in possession of a live wolf.”

A game warden investigated the incident and fined Roberts $250 for possessing live wildlife. According to Game and Fish, a violation of Chapter 10 also carries misdemeanor charges.

“This appears to be an isolated incident,” Ball wrote.

The predator zone, where the incident occurred, makes up more than 80% of the state and allows unregulated wolf killing without a license. In this zone, wolves are considered predatory animals year-round and, under state law, can be killed at any time. 

The above map shows the different zones where regulations vary for wolves. Under state law, wolves are considered predatory animals and therefore can be harvested at any time in the “Predatory Animal Management Area”. (Wyoming Game and Fish)

According to Wyoming’s Wolf Management and Monitoring Annual Report, wolves killed or injured 97 heads of livestock (46 cattle, 46 sheep and five horses) statewide in Wyoming in 2022. 

Still, only 1% of livestock deaths can be attributed to wolves in Rocky Mountain states, according to a recent report from the Society for Conservation Biology

Rob Edward from the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project said that the tensions between humans and wolves have existed for centuries. 

“There’s always been a tension with large carnivores, including wolves and the production of livestock,” Edward said. “There’s been tension with fishermen over how many salmon seals take, for example. So it’s not completely unique to wolves, but wolves have had a big place in the human psyche for many centuries now.”

Wyoming Game and Fish estimates that there are roughly 20 to 25 wolves in the Pinedale region. 

In 2017, wolves in Wyoming were delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the population had recovered. This follows a decision to delist wolves in Montana and Idaho in 2011. 

The issue got national attention when hunters killed 25 wolves just outside of Yellowstone National Park in the 2022 season.

Regulations around wolves vary not just within the state of Wyoming but also across the U.S. Following a 2022 court order, gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states are now protected under the Endangered Species Act — with the exception of the Northern Rocky Mountain population in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. 

Colorado recently reintroduced wolves with the release of 10 animals in Summit and Grand Counties on the Western Slope. 

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About Emily Cohen

Emily has served as executive director of KHOL since June 2019. She has a background in ecological design and urban planning and has worked as a teacher on the US-Mexico border in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, as a policy wonk in Washington, DC and as a land use planner in Wyoming. She enjoys getting away from the operations side of radio to produce original stories about arts and culture in Jackson.

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