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Casper – Since its inception in 2000, the Wyoming Statewide Domestic Sheep/Bighorn Sheep Interaction Working Group continues to work cooperatively with all stakeholders to maintain healthy Bighorn sheep populations while sustaining a viable domestic sheep industry in Wyoming.

“This group was convened in 2000 by Governor Jim Geringer and Senator Craig Thomas,” said Wyoming Game and Fish Department Biologist Doug McWhirter. “It has been a long haul, but we have developed a plan and prescribed some management responses as a result.”

The Working Group met on April 25 to discuss ongoing efforts, as well as to open questions and answers for future work by the group.

Working group plan

Beginning in 2000, the group developed a plan over the course of four years to accomplish their goals, which included identifying key Bighorn sheep herds in Wyoming and prioritizing those herds.

“What is important coming out of the plan are the terms of the agreement,” McWhirter emphasized. “We prioritized first. We also came to an agreement on an approach and methods.”

The terms of the agreement indicate priority to protect the domestic sheep industry in Wyoming, such that changes should not be made to grazing allotments without agreement or a sense of urgency or duress.

They aimed toward no net loss of domestic sheep industry animal unit months (AUMs) on allotments in Wyoming, as well.

The roles and goals of the plan have been supported through action over many years, and actions such as movement of allotments, voluntary waivers and transplants of sheep, among other actions, have fostered both the viability of domestic and Bighorn sheep.

West-wide impacts

In the U.S. Forest Service’s Region Four, the Intermountain Region, Chris Iverson emphasized that they are working to be transparent in their efforts to dispel myths and accomplish their goals. 

“We are making an effort to share everything we are doing and to be transparent,” Iverson commented.

Within the Intermountain Region, Iverson noted that a Bighorn Sheep Management Framework is being developed and has been in discussion for nearly a year. 

“We were very conscious that we needed a sound and well-designed framework,” he said.

However, national forests across the country are bound by the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) to provide for diverse wildlife communities. 

“Our statutory and regulatory requirements include maintaining viable populations of desirable species,” Iverson explained. 

Approach

With a regional approach in mind, Iverson noted that they have begun to establish a strategy that protects both Bighorn sheep and domestic sheep in the region.

“We took a regional approach because we wanted to put one team of our best experts together to ensure a consistent process,” he said. “We wanted a measure of efficiency to do the process once with the best team we could put together.”

At the same time, an allotment-by-allotment approach didn’t make sense in terms of scale.

“We wanted to do this on an appropriate scale,” Iverson explained. “We don’t have to maintain viable populations in every project area. Our requirement by the NFMA is to maintain viable populations within the area of the national forest.”

“This has been a complex issue, but the goal of our framework is very similar to the goals of Wyoming’s working group,” he adds. “We want to provide opportunities for sustainable domestic sheep grazing while maintaining viable Bighorn sheep populations and our responsibility under NFMA.”

Engagement and management

Iverson further noted that the Region Four plan aims to engage with Bighorn sheep experts across state lines.

“If we can get information from the state of Wyoming, we are encouraged to seek the state expert in interpreting data,” he said. “The most important part of this whole process is to validate range allotment status.”

The region is also working to assess a wide array of management options to accomplish goals. 

“We have taken a good faith effort in looking at management options,” Iverson continued. “We don’t have to make immediate decisions, so we can take a conscious effort to look at where there are opportunities.”

Region Two

In U.S. Forest Service  Region Two, the Rocky Mountain Region, Brian Ferebee noted that they have the same directive and responsibilities as Region Four, and he said, “We deal with issues in the forest plan revision process.”

While Region Four’s national forest land use plans aren’t due to be started for between five and 15 years, Ferebee noted that several plan revisions are currently in progress in Region Two, including the Shoshone National Forest plan.

“We’ve dealt with litigation on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, and we are still in litigation there,” he commented. “We are anxious to get that decision.”

Allotment use

In their core native herds of Bighorn sheep, Ferebee said their approach has been to look at meeting viability requirements within the forests.

“This doesn’t mean we don’t have allotment issues, but that is where management issues come into play,” he added. “We are looking at maintaining separation and using management options.”

“If it wasn’t for the work that we have done and some of the management actions that have taken place, we might be in a different place in this region, commented Ferebee. “We feel really good about the work this working group has done that we have been able to take advantage of.”

In future editions of the Roundup, look for more on comments of the meeting’s attendees. Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sublette County – A Sublette County project will make miles of fenceline more friendly to migrating wildlife in the near future.

“Big game in our area will find more than 280 miles of previously-prohibitive fencing passable as they move between seasonal ranges by the end of 2012,” says the Wyoming Land Trust (WLT) of the Corridor Conservation Campaign (CCC). “That makes a real difference, not only for sustaining our wildlife populations, but for our community, as well.”

Wildlife habitat, part of which involves migration routes, is important to the survival of species and faces a number of threats, says the WLT.

“Wildlife have fragmented habitats,” says Rick Pallister of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation on a video detailing the CCC. “They can’t get from one high quality piece of habitat to the next without going through a lot of obstacles.”

The CCC began in 2008 as a five-year program with the goal of building 500 miles of wildlife- and livestock-friendly fencing in Sublette County. These fences are built through key wildlife migration routes through the area.

“We mapped about 110 miles of fences in the first phase of the project, and, of that, 90 percent of the fences had some barrier to wildlife,” says Dave Marshall of KC Harvey, an environmental consulting firm. “We would often find a very low bottom strand. When antelope would try to get underneath, they would struggle.”

Harvey continues, “The fence inventory provided a really clear picture of where the barriers were for wildlife moving and provided a really good planning tool to take to landowners.”

For a fence to be wildlife and livestock friendly, the WLT says, “Fences are generally no more than 42 inches tall, with a smooth bottom wire at least 16 inches off the ground and 10, but preferably 12, inches between the top two wires.”

When the bottom wire is smooth, antelope are allowed to easily travel under the fences without getting caught. Additionally, the space between the top two wires allows wildlife to jump over the fence without their hind legs catching.

The five-year effort was divided into five phases.

Phase one involved modification of about 82 miles of fencing in the historic “Path of the Pronghorn” migration route. The route runs between Grand Teton National Park and Trapper’s Point in Sublette County. Completed in 2009, phase one monitoring efforts use game cameras mounted on the fences to show wildlife passing under and over the fences.

Phase two, which began in 2010, involves the modification of a route nearly 60 miles long for mule deer migrations. Approximately 200 miles of fence will be modified in this area. The Sublette Mule Deer Study, starting in the late 1990s, confirmed the mule deer migration route. At this point, 40 miles of fence have been modified as part of phase two.

The identification of corridors in phases three through five, with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other partners, will move the project forward in the coming years. Currently, migrations in the Ryegrass and Wyoming Range Front areas and areas along the Green River from Trapper’s Point south are potential targets for the continuation of the project.

“We’ve had to revise some timelines with the economic situation,” says Director of Conservation at WLT Jordan Vana. “Overall, things are going well.”

To monitor the success of the project, the WLT looks at the number of miles of modified fences, images from game cameras positioned on the fence and sharing GIS data on modified fence locations. By sharing GIS data, partner organizations are able to overlay radio-collar information and other data to determine whether corridors are being widely travelled and fences do not provide barriers.

WLT begins each part of the project by first identifying migration routes.

“Migration routes are based on sound science and public recognition and appreciation,” says the organization.

Then, with landowner permission, fences are inventoried and agreements for modifications to fences are reached. The fences are targeted as being functional for the landowners, yet friendly to wildlife needs.

The WLT hires fencing contractors through a competitive bid process. One important aspect of this project is that landowners incur no cost in building wildlife friendly fencing.

Finally, agreements are signed with both the contractors and landowners. Landowners are required to maintain the fence for a specified period of time, usually 20 years, according to the WLT.  

The CCC operates with a number of partners from industry and private corporations to environmental groups. The partners include BP, Bank of Sublette County, Bill Barrett Corporation, EnCana Oil and Gas, USA, Environmental Defense Fund, Good Sportsman Marketing, LLC, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Heart of the Rockies Initiative, James Family Foundation, Jonah Interagency Mitigation and Reclamation Office, Mule Deer Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Pinedale Anticline Project Office, Patagonia, Pope and Young Club, QEP Resources, Inc., Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Proactive Fitness and Rehab Center, Shell, Safari Club International, Teton Motors, Inc., WLC Engineering, Western Governors’ Association, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, Wyoming Wildlife – The Foundation and private individuals and landowners.

A number of government entities also partner with the project, including the BLM, Bridger-Teton National Forest, UW Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative.

“We need wildlife, and we need wild places. The WLT is working with private landowners, working with the agencies and working with energy companies – taking mitigation dollars, private dollars and some government dollars – and putting it together for something that is fantastic for wildlife,” says Gray Thorton of the Wild Sheep Foundation. “We are protecting areas that need to be protected and ensuring that this corridor is maintained. This is a critical program.”

John Emmerich of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department also comments on the video, “We are actually creating permanent conservation in the sense of maintain these conservation corridors.”

Saige Albert is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Johnson County – “We have the best pilots in the country,” said Wildlife Services (WS) Wyoming State Director Rod Krischke of the five men his agency uses in the state to fly the planes used in coyote control operations.
One of those pilots was on hand July 13 when USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos spent time in Johnson County, making a few tour stops and hearing specific issues of concern to Wyoming’s sheep industry, most of which were related to predator control and the importance of WS.
The first stop on Avalos’s tour was the Purdy Ranch south of Buffalo, where a bright yellow WS airplane and an on-the-ground trapper worked in conjunction to try to present a live demonstration of aerial coyote control to the Undersecretary.
Although the coyote that had been spotted earlier that morning left the country before the tour group arrived, Avalos was able to hear first-hand accounts from fellow tour participants on the importance of funding for the airplanes.
“The scenario when we bring an airplane to a ranch is usually one of two things – it’s calving or lambing season or the rancher is moving livestock to a place that hasn’t been hunted before, or the ranch is actually having coyotes kill livestock,” said WS Southeast District Supervisor Craig Acres. “That constitutes a call from a cooperator, saying it’s that time of year when he’s had problems before, or he’s found a fresh kill.”
Acres said that, if a wildlife specialist, or trapper, is familiar with the area, it doesn’t take much time to scout or locate coyotes before the plane comes.
“If they’ve been in the area before, they have a good idea of where the coyotes will be and how they travel across the ranch,” said Acres, adding that coordination calls are made the night before the hunt, at the minimum between the trapper and pilot, communicating about weather and where both will be.
“Usually trappers will have the coyotes spotted, or have them howling, and they’ll put the plane right in the spot where they’ve seen or heard them,” said Acres.
“Unless the county has a trapper, this is about the only tool we have in terms of being effective,” said Wyoming Wool Growers Association Executive Vice President Bryce Reece, who led the tour. “We have five airplanes in Wyoming right now, and they’re busy all the time. We have a big state with lots of country, and there would be no way for the trappers to cover the country on the ground.”
Krischke said one thing that’s particularly valuable about the airplane is its selectivity.
“We have wolves, grizzly bears and black-footed ferrets, among other things, and the value of the airplane is that we can address problems and identify every animal that’s taken,” he noted.
“This is selective – they won’t shoot anything but that coyote,” said Reece.
After taking a ride himself in the airplane, Avalos and the tour group proceeded to Buffalo, where Johnson County officials explained their rabies management strategy, which consists of trapping skunks around the outskirts of town.
The group was treated to lunch at the historic TA Ranch south of Buffalo before settling into the restored granary for an educational afternoon. Avalos first heard from Brad Boner of the Mountain States Lamb Cooperative/Mountain States Rosen about the co-op’s take on the new Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule.
“The rule uses words such as ‘fair’ and ‘unfair,’ which open a legal Pandora’s box. The overly broad terms are one reason why your agency’s had so many comments,” said Boner, who also mentioned unintended consequences, regulatory mandates to decrease costs to businesses and a rule that would have prevented the co-op from forming, had it been in place a few years back.
“We appreciate the fact that there are some things to be corrected, but be specific to those things, instead of overreaching and broad,” said Boner.
Avalos responded, saying that in New Mexico, where he came from, he was a general contractor, and that he understands what it’s like to have regulations change on an annual basis.
“We were mandated by the farm bill to change the 90-year-old law, and I understand that, when nothing has really been changed for 90 years, people are concerned about how the changes will impact their livelihood, operations and the futures of their kids, and for good reason,” he stated.
“We just had a hearing July 7, and I think we got the message across. The proposed rule is a proposed rule – a starting point. In it we included things Congress told us to put in, and other components that they didn’t,” he continued. “We received over 60,000 comments, and we’re listening. Those comments will direct what we come up with at the end.”
“I can tell everybody in this room that there will be modifications to the proposed rule, but I can’t go into details. I understand the problem with cooperatives and the unintended consequences,” he said, also emphasizing that he and Secretary Vilsack are strong supporters of value-added marketing, and supporters of incentives for producers who do a better job than average.
Avalos also heard from various Wyoming players about state predator control, predator control projects for antelope and deer and the ongoing Big Horn Basin study looking at predators’ affect on nesting sage grouse, among other topics, such as the importance of livestock protection dogs to the Wyoming sheep industry.
Of WS as a whole, Reece said his concern is that Wyoming is 50 percent federally owned, and WS is the only entity with predator control activities on federal lands, which operates under an MOU.
“Ninety percent of the sheep in Wyoming spend some portion of their time on some federal piece of property,” said Reece. “Having a strong WS presence in this state benefits all counties and all programs, even if they don’t directly cooperate with WS.”
Christy Martinez is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

While USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos was in Johnson County to view hands-on demonstrations of predator control, he was also updated on wildlife predation projects in other areas of Wyoming.
Wyoming Wildlife Services (WS) Southeast District Supervisor Craig Acres spoke on three projects, including the Shirley Mountain Mule Deer Project and the Big Creek Antelope Project in Carbon County and a Mule Deer Enhancement Project in Goshen County.
The Shirley Mountain Mule Deer Project began in 2008 and was recently completed.
“We very quickly went from a 65 percent doe/fawn ratio to almost 85 percent once predator control was issued,” said Acres.
Of the three projects, Acres said they’re the common types developed by local county predatory management districts.
“All these projects were done with existing personnel and with existing money within a budget,” he explained. “They’re incorporated into the human health and safety, wildlife and livestock protection duties, and they’re a good snapshot of typical game enhancement projects.”
Of the Shirley Mountain project, Acres said Mule Deer Herd Unit 540 had been below population objective since 1987.
“In recent years the post-season population estimates had been consistently below management objective, and the doe/fawn ratio had been 64 percent since 2004, so the criteria was met to initiate predator control,” noted Acres, adding that big game projects through predator boards and WS don’t address habitat issues, just the removal of predators.
“In 2008 we started to implement a coyote control project for mule deer in 540, which is east of the North Platte River and west of Highway 487, north of Hanna,” said Acres.
Two areas were split out, with coyote control in the southern area of 441 square miles and a control area to the north of 568 square miles, where WS only continued to remove coyotes to prevent calf depredation.
“We began enhanced coyote control in Spring 2008, and concluded operations in June 2010,” said Acres, noting that 1,697 man hours and 46 hours of aerial hunting were used to remove 546 coyotes.
Of the results, Acres said that the doe/fawn ratios in the control area in 2006/2007 were 56 percent, and 51 percent in the treatment area. By 2009 those ratios had overcome the 65 percent Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) threshold to instigate predator removal, so the project was concluded.
Acres said that, about five months after that determination, surveillance flights were made, and in June 2011 the WGFD reported a decrease in fawn ratios in the treatment area already.
“They requested to start the project again, but at this time, with the budgets in Carbon County, we’ll table that for now and see if we have the money and personnel to take it on later,” he said.
The ongoing Big Creek Antelope Enhancement Project in southern Carbon County, five miles from the town of Riverside, deals with a herd that meets the WGFD criteria of lower than a 65 percent doe/fawn ratio.
“This area is very sensitive due to minimal control taking place on these ranches in the past,” noted Acres. “That is important when we look at starting wildlife projects, because in a lot of the country the game animals have benefitted from livestock protection. This is an area where WS had not worked for up to eight years, giving us a clean slate where our results will not be skewed by prior activities. It’ll be interesting to see how this negotiates itself over the next couple years.”
The project just began with work on May 16, 2011, and so far 36 coyotes and two dens have been taken. Acres said work will continue through the summer until the antelope migrate out for the winter.
“When the antelope leave, the coyotes leave, and weather is the sole reason why they migrate,” he explained. “That area is 7,500 feet in elevation, and the first snows can be two to three feet deep.”
Acres said WS hopes to show appreciable results in the number of fawns that are raised.
“This project is a little different than Shirley Mountain, because, along with basic ground methods and aerial hunting, we’ll take plague and tularemia samples, along with GPS locations, stomach contents, and age and sex for each coyote that’s taken. We want to not just recruit more fawns, but also to collect a snapshot of coyotes in that habitat area,” said Acres. “We’ve already found a significant portion of coyotes have game animals in their stomachs.”
The Mule Deer Enhancement Project in Goshen County is taking place in the Goshen Hole Rim area, southeast of Wheatland along the Goshen/Platte county line.
“We were already doing livestock protection in the area, and removing coyotes on an annual basis, so we stepped up the amount of time we spend aerial hunting and on the ground, and we started keeping track of doe/fawn ratios,” explained Acres. “This new activity is coordinated with the time we spend on livestock protection activities, so we’re killing two coyotes with one stone.”
“We’re already there at certain times of the year when it’s important to protect calves, and the extra flights prior to mule deer and antelope fawning negate dens being born, and adults trying to feed their pups with mule deer and antelope fawns and calves,” he added.
WS is also documenting the data on coyotes taken in this study area.
“To this date, we’ve taken 100 coyotes in that area, and through last spring and early summer the stomach contents of 13.3 percent had mule deer fawns, and 26.7 percent had antelope fawns in their stomach,” said Acres. “As this project moves along, the percentage of those fawns in their stomachs will hopefully go down, because we’ll take the coyotes out before they’re born.”
Acres noted that the metabolism of a coyote allows it to digest food very quickly.
“We find a lot of coyotes with empty stomachs. If we come up with stomach contents with a viable amount of food matter, we know we’re there pretty quickly after they’ve taken that animal,” he said.
Acres said the Goshen County project needs to go another year before comparable figures will be gathered.
“The Goshen County Predator Management Board and WS plan to continue the project as long as funding continues, or until mule deer fawn recruitment reaches levels that constitute predator control need not be continued,” he stated.
Of predator management budgets statewide, Acres said, “I remember the year before the Animal Damage Management Board (ADMB) was founded, and I had six counties on their last six months of funding. With the advent of the state money, ADMB and the interest of Wool Growers and Stock Growers, along with the Wyoming Legislature, we were able to save six county programs quickly.”
“As a manager and a wildlife specialist, and someone who has a lot of interest in Wyoming succeeding as a state, even if this money goes away we will never go back to where we were,” he said. “Through this funding being available, we’ve proved what works and what didn’t work.”
“Even if we lose funding, we’ll never go back to six guys thumbing through brand receipts and trying to call research people trying to get projects to keep lambs and calves alive,” added Acres.
Christy Martinez is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A new program proposed by the Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team wouldn’t look to add more prairie dogs in Wyoming, but rather would manage those already in existence in a way that would support black-footed ferret reintroduction and recovery.
The program’s main premise would be to pay landowners incentives to keep prairie dogs on their land, which, in turn, would facilitate black-footed ferret introduction. Black-footed ferrets have been listed on the Endangered Species List since it was created in 1973.
WGFD Deputy Director John Emmerich chairs the Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team, and he says, “Black-footed ferrets live on prairie dogs. Without prairie dogs, we don’t have black-footed ferrets. We’re looking to provide an incentive for landowners to support sufficient acres for prairie dogs to recover ferrets and other species that use prairie dog towns.”
The program would also provide assurances that landowners would continue to raise livestock and run their operation as usual, and would provide management for prairie dogs that move outside enrolled acres.
“About two years ago it was obvious to the committee that we’ve perfected reintroduction. We raise many ferrets in captivity, and if we have good release sites they do well in the wild, as long as they have enough prairie dogs,” continues Emmerich.
The Black-footed Ferret Recovery Plan targets species recovery at 3,000 breeding adults in their historic range, which they say would take 500,000 acres of prairie dogs in scattered towns. Currently there are more than four million acres of prairie dogs in 12 states, but Emmerich says most are scattered in small populations not large enough to support ferrets.
“We’re trying to come up with a package of incentives that would allow landowners to sustain their operations and still have prairie dogs on their place,” says Emmerich, noting that would translate into a payment in return for 2,000-acre contiguous blocks of prairie dogs – the amount determined sufficient for ferret release.
The concept paper titled “From Liability to Asset: A Cooperative Conservation Initiative for Ranching & Wildlife on Prairie Dog Occupied Rangeland,” lays out a cooperative approach between the involved agencies and interests in the 12-state prairie dog population area. Those include, among others, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD), Wyoming Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Mark Eisele of the King Ranch in Laramie County.
As a rancher and landowner, Eisele says his role with the program is twofold – to be helpful, and to be a “watchdog.”
“There are some producers who want prairie dogs, and who want to be paid for them, and if the public wants benefit from wildlife, they should pay for those benefits,” says Eisele, continuing that his bigger concern is public lands grazing. “I don’t want anybody losing a single AUM to a prairie dog. If we bring in more prairie dogs and cut AUMs, that’s unacceptable.”
“I want to make sure that public lands don’t get sacrificed with this program like they did with wild horses,” he adds.
Eisele says he’s also watching where the funding comes from, as many assume it would come through the NRCS and Farm Bill programs.
“I’ve spent some time working with the conservation districts, and we want to make sure their programs in Wyoming stay intact, EQIP in particular,” explains Eisele.
Wyoming State Conservationist Xavier Montoya says he feels like EQIP and WHIP aren’t quite the right place for the program, but rather the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP).
“A 10-year rental agreement would pay landowners for 10 years to do whatever it is the program interests want them to do to manage prairie dogs to make sure the ferret can be reintroduced,” says Montoya. “NRCS isn’t in the business of reintroducing endangered species, so our part would be to pay somebody to manage for prairie dogs.”
Emmerich says that payment hasn’t yet been determined, although NRCS county rental rates have been considered as a basis.
“The goal is to set it at a level high enough to attract landowners to participate,” he says.
Regarding USDA APHIS Wildlife Services and its role as the control agency for prairie dogs outside program boundaries, Montoya says, “I think this could really be successful, but all of our budgets have been cut. Wildlife Services will manage the prairie dogs to make sure they’re staying where they’re supposed to, but if their budget’s been cut, how will they do that? If we don’t have everybody at the table, this won’t work.”
As this article went to press, the program’s interest groups traveled to Washington, D.C. to communicate the concept to federal agencies in their national offices and to national agricultural organizations.
“If implemented, this would be a multi-agency effort,” says Emmerich. “The financial resources would come through the NRCS and some of their programs like GRP, which would make payments to landowners. The regulatory assurances would be developed in concert between the state wildlife agencies and FWS, which approves the final regulatory assurances. Boundary control would be under Wildlife Services, and the state wildlife agencies would be engaged in all of these activities and working with interested landowners.”
“We have some producers who would like to see this happen,” comments Eisele. “There are some who are great at managing prairie dogs on their own, with livestock grazing and cyclical hunting areas, and there are places where they could get paid for it, and that would be great. However, it’s a matter of defending the rights of the minority but the will of the majority. I want to be sure to protect the rest of us.”
“We have more acres now than the objective,” says Emmerich of Wyoming. “We’re not looking for more prairie dogs in Wyoming to meet these goals – we just need to manage the ones we’ve got in the right way to support ferrets. If this program becomes reality, we think it will be an important tool to recovering the black-footed ferret.”
“The only way we can get enough release sites is to have private landowner participation, and that’s why we’re trying to develop an incentive program,” he adds.
Christy Martinez is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..