I understand that there have been concerns expressed regarding my involvement with the wolf lawsuit, and my view of wolf management in Wyoming. I want to set the record straight in case there is any question about my commitment in that regard.
I was first hired by the “Wolf Coalition” in 2002 to file suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service over its failure to properly manage the Canadian gray wolf population that it had introduced into Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990’s. That Coalition was made up of 28 different organizations, including sportsmen groups, outfitters and guides, County Commissioners, ag groups, and conservation districts, among others. The point of our lawsuit was to establish that the wolf population exceeded the recovery goals as of 2002; that Wyoming had developed an appropriate wolf management plan to protect that recovered population; and that the FWS was required to approve it, delist the wolf from the ESA, and turn management over to the State. We continued that fight over the next 15 years, with the Wolf Coalition being one of the most important and consistent advocates for our livestock industry, outfitting industry, including Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, hunters, Counties, conservation districts, and small business owners whose livelihoods have been so damaged by the introduction of this predator. As importantly, we were the primary voice at the table throughout this time for protecting our other wildlife resources such as our elk, moose, and deer populations.
In February, 2017 we finally succeeded in convincing the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. that Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan met all of the requirements of the ESA. This was a major victory for Wyoming, and allows us to implement management techniques that are unavailable anywhere else in the Country. For example, Wyoming is the only State where wolves are considered predators in the majority of the State – meaning that we can use more robust and effective control techniques (aerial hunting, may be shot on sight in certain geographic areas, etc.). Wyoming is also the only State where the National Park Service is responsible for maintaining and protecting a portion of our population within the National Parks. Finally, Wyoming is now only required to maintain a limited number of wolves – thereby allowing us to control the population through hunting seasons (within the trophy game area), and throughout the year (within the predator area). This win, in other words, will finally allow Wyoming to start controlling wolf numbers in this State, thereby making it possible to rebuild those game herds that have been so decimated by the uncontrolled and previously ever-expanding gray wolf population.
As Governor, I have every intention of asserting Wyoming’s sovereignty over our wildlife, and of aggressively implementing those control techniques that are effective at constraining our wolf population to the recovery numbers. Under my administration we will no longer tolerate an ever-expanding wolf population. We will instead focus upon protecting all of our wildlife resources, and protecting our livestock producers from suffering the consequences of those bad policies for which Washington, D.C. is notorious.
I have dedicated the last 20+ years of my career to protecting our legacy industries in Wyoming. I have fought to protect private property rights, the livestock industry, the sportsmen industry, outfitters and guides, and local governments. I have worked tirelessly – often-times all alone – to push back against federal overreach, and to hold the federal government accountable for the mismanagement of the federal lands and for its failure to follow the endangered species act. I have refused to buckle under as the EPA has sought to take our water. I have traveled the Country warning of the dangers of an out-of-control federal government. I AM THE ONLY CANDIDATE WITH THIS HISTORY, and with my record of success on these issues. So the next time that someone whispers in your ear about me, claiming that I want to give people access to private lands, that I have worked to give Wyoming’s water away to other states, or that I haven’t fought hard enough or long enough on battling the wolf mess, you can now look them in the eye and say with absolute confidence: “THAT MY FRIEND, IS HOGWASH.”