The state game commission moved a step closer to ending federal protection for wolves in Wyoming during a meeting last week in Casper. The Wyoming Game Commission adopted a plan last Wednesday that would classify wolves as unprotected predators in most areas of the state.

Game commission approves plan:

"Basically what was happening here is the commission adopted the points of agreement agreed to by the U.S. Department of Interior and the governor's staff, and incorporated those into Wyoming's current wolf management plan."

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Scott Talbott said there are still some things that need to happen for Wyoming to be able to manage its wolves.

Stalking federal protection:

"From this point forward, certainly, there are some statutory provisions that will need to be changed; we'll be looking to the Legislature to do that. And then delisting by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And when that's accomplished, we'll move forward with state management of wolves in Wyoming."

In an agreement worked out between Gov. Matt Mead and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, wolves would be classified as game animals in an area around Yellowstone National Park, and the plan requires the state to tolerate a certain number of wolves.

Allowable spillover from Yellowstone:

"The state of Wyoming will be obligated to manage at least 10 breeding pairs and a hundred wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park. That will include all of the state outside of Yellowstone, including Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge. Those wolves will count toward Wyoming's quota."

If all goes according to plan, says Mr. Talbott, the agreement would end federal management of wolves by late next year.

State management by next autumn:

"Our goal in this process is to have a wolf hunting season and state management of wolves during the fall of 2012."