JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Biologists estimate the overall Wyoming wolf population at 286 this year, which is down 61 animals from a year ago.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that's the fewest wolves counted in the state since the Wyoming Game and Fish Department took over management and initiated wolf hunting seven years ago.

State biologists estimate there were 46 wolf packs in the state at the end of 2018.

Game and Fish wolf biologist Ken Mills says a combination of hunting, natural mortality and reduced pup production drove down the number of wolves in the state.

Although having fewer wolves concerns wildlife watchers and activists, the outcome is what Wyoming wildlife managers have been seeking.

With fewer wolves, documented conflicts between wolves and domestic animals fell off last calendar year.