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D.C. District Judge Blocks Wyo. Wolf Hunting

Grab yer guns and head out of Wyoming fellas, cuz there ain't no wolf huntin' here, at least for now.

A couple of years ago, we brought you the big news: Gray wolves were being taken off the Endangered Species Act (ESA) list after 10 years of waiting, all thanks to a bit of language slapped on to a defense bill. (Thanks Congress!) Once Congress cleared the federal red tape, it was up to the states to give the all-clear for wolf hunting.

Montana and Idaho were on board. Wyoming joined too. But last week, some namby-pamby judge in Washington, D.C., decided that Wyoming's laws weren't protective enough, and called a cease fire on fun.

The Minimum Number of Wolves Isn't the Minimum

Over on FindLaw's Decided blog, one of my fellow writers has the scoop on the district court decision that has wolf hunters, rather than wolves, howling. We'll give you the short version.

A gaggle of environmental groups -- the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Fund for Animals, Humane Society of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club -- sued because Wyoming apparently isn't too good at reading. The 2012 rule that restored wolf hunting required not only a minimum of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves, but also a buffer population above the minimum.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department relied on Wyoming's nonbinding scheme, which protected the minimum, sans buffer. But don't worry, the current population of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain region is estimated at 320 packs consisting of at least 1,691 wolves and at least 78 breeding pairs.

Still Delisted (Head to Montana and Idaho)

Fortunately, at least on the federal level, wolf-hunting is still OK -- Wyoming will just need to tweak its rules a bit.

As the court noted "the level of genetic exchange reflected in the record" (that means the wolves humped a lot), it declined to disagree with the agency's findings that the wolves were not endangered at the moment.

Which Caliber Bullet?

Since it has been so long since it was legal to hunt wolves, we figured we'd check to see which caliber is best for a wolf. Obviously, a .458 Winchester Magnum or a .375 Holland and Holland Magnum are a bit overkill -- there might not be much meat left.

If you're using a .22, the wolf will quickly be hunting you.

Anything in between, however, should work, depending on range. HuntWolves.com has a whole lot of helpful advice on picking the right round for the job.

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