Wolf howling in winter

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming lawmaker is sponsoring legislation to create a new state compensation program for ranchers who lose livestock to wolves.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. John Winter, of Thermopolis, would create a fund with $90,000 to reimburse ranchers over a two-year period.

Currently only livestock killed within wolf-hunting zones in western Wyoming qualify for compensation. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department pays out about $385,000 a year under the program, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

Under Winter's bill, ranchers who lose livestock to wolves outside wolf-hunting areas also would qualify for compensation.

Other reimbursement programs have been discontinued since the U.S. government removed Wyoming's wolves from federal protection in 2018.

The bill would need a two-thirds vote to be introduced during this winter's legislative session dedicated primarily to the budget. The four-week session begins Feb. 10.

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