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The return of the Grey Wolf: NYS needs to put additional protections in place

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NYS DEC confirms a Gray Wolf was killed by a coyote hunter near Cooperstown in 2021

By Andrew Harris, Gray Wolf. Wikimedia Commons photo

When Nathaniel Dike came to Allegany County over 200 years ago, the place was teeming with wildlife. Species like the Gray Wolf, the Black Bear, and Mountain Lion made frontier life a challenge for European settlers. Unlike the native tribes who had lived in harmony with these apex predators, the “white man,” came with livestock and a different way of life.

“The History of Allegany County,” by Hazel Shear, describes how our ancestors approached predator species like the Gray Wolf: They inihalated them. In fact, when many men returned from the Civil War, the bounty placed on Gray Wolves paid for the new homestead. In the matter of four or five decades, the last in our region was dead. Mountain Lions, and a host of other species also were wiped out, presumed extinct in Allegany County.

Well over a century has passed and mother nature appears to be attempting to recover those losses. In late 2021 a hunter, assuming he was killing a coyote, killed a male Gray Wolf according to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. That was about two hundred miles from Allegany County, well within the normal range of an wild wolf. Read the full press release from NYS:

This is the third confirmed wolf that has been killed in upstate NY since the species was declared extinct.

Biologists and wild canine lovers all over the world are now pressing the state to foster the re-emerging wolf with some common sense steps. Dramatically changing coyote hunting regulations is a main focus.

Peter Bauer of the Adirondak Almanack provided updates on the “Cooperstown” wolf and offered these sensible changes that will help prevent another accidental killing of a wild wolf:

  • The coyote hunting season should be reformed. Currently, it’s a 6-month season with 24 hour a day hunting, with no daily or seasonal bag limits. Hunters can kill as many coyotes as they please.
  • As part of the coyote season reform, all wild canids taken in the state should be checked and tagged.
  • Wild canids that are taken that have a weight greater than 50 pounds or that meet additional criteria established by the Department should be subjected to a DNA analysis. Tests that show a large canid is a wolf should be investigated to see if other wolves remain in the area where the animal was killed.
  • Coyote hunting should be for a season of no longer than ninety days, and the hunting of coyotes by night should be prohibited. The Department should establish bag limits for coyotes and shall establish size limitations for the taking of coyotes.
  • DEC should modify its hunting and trapping training curriculum to include educational information concerning the presence of wolves in the state, the legal protections for wolves, the checking and tagging requirements for wild canids, and how to distinguish a wolf from a coyote when a hunter or trapper is in the field.
  • DEC needs to solicit information from the public about wolf sightings in New York State and investigate reported wolf sightings.

“The next wolf that wanders into New York should be protected, not allowed to be accidentally killed.”

Peter Bauer

Read that full article by Bauer here:

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