Barrasso Joins Boebert In Effort To Delist Wolves In Lower 48

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso has joined efforts by Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, to get wolves delisted from federal protection in all of the Lower 48 states. Political observers say it has almost no chance.

Mark Heinz

May 03, 20244 min read

Pack of wolves
(Getty Images)

Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso has joined efforts by a fellow Republican, Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, to get wolves delisted from federal protection in all of the Lower 48 states.

Boebert’s House Resolution 764, aka the Trust the Science Act, to delist wolves passed the U.S. House this week, and Barrasso is co-sponsoring a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

However, the odds seem slim to none that the measures will succeed, some policy observers say.

“I can’t imagine a scenario where this bill would pass the Senate and be signed by the president,” former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Interior and Wyoming resident Rob Wallace told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.

He added that he called “a trusted source” in Washington, D.C., who conveyed the same opinion.

Colorado’s Wolf Controversy

Wolves are delisted and may be hunted in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. But they remain under federal protection in Colorado, where 10 wolves were reintroduced in December.

Two wolves were already in Colorado, the last surviving members of the North Park pack, which was formed sometime around 2020 by wolves that migrated into the Centennial State from Wyoming.

One of the reintroduced wolves died of natural causes, according to officials, so Colorado’s known wolf population is 11.

The number of cattle killed by wolves in Colorado since the reintroduction was recently reported at six, but has since got up to eight, according to a statement from Boebert.

“Out-of-touch Denver and Boulder leftists voted to reintroduce wolves in Colorado. Farmers and ranchers are powerless to defend their livestock from wolf attacks, and there have been eight confirmed wolf livestock killings in April alone,” Boebert said in a statement regarding the House passage of HR 764.

Colorado’s wolf reintroduction program was initiated by Proposition 114, which Colorado voters passed in 2020 by the slimmest of margins, 50.91% to 49.09%.

“Rather than celebrating the gray wolf recovery success story, leftists want to cower to radical environmentalists and keep them on the Endangered Species Act list forever,” Boebert added. “The gray wolf is fully recovered and should be delisted in the Lower 48 states. Today’s bipartisan passage of my Trust the Science Act empowers states and puts people ahead of violent predators.”

Barrasso Ready To Help

HR 764 squeaked through the House by a vote of 209-204, with Wyoming’s Republican Congresswoman Harriet Hageman among those voting for it.

The split was highly partisan, with 205 Republicans and four Democrats casting aye votes. Of Colorado’s five Democrat representatives, only Yarida Caraveo supported HR 764.

Barrasso is ready to support the measure in the U.S. Senate, Laura Mengelkamp, a Barrasso spokesperson, told Cowboy State Daily in an email Friday.

“Senator Barrasso is a cosponsor of the Senate companion bill (S. 1895) to Rep. Boebert’s legislation. So yes, he supports it in the Senate. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, is the lead sponsor in the Senate,” Mengelkamp stated.

A request for comment from the office of Wyoming’s other Republican senator, Cynthia Lummis, hadn’t been answered as of publication time.

Doomed To Fail?

Despite passage in the House, Colorado resident John Michael Williams told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that he also thinks efforts to delist wolves across the Lower 48 will fail.

“My guess? I don’t think so. Interesting though that Democrats crossed over to vote for it in the House, and a few Republicans opposed it,” said Williams, administrator of the Colorado Wolf Tracker Facebook page.

Wallace also said that the politics don’t seem to favor a total delisting of wolves.

Since many of the Congressional delegates from key states with wolves, such as Colorado, Wisconsin and Minnesota are Democrats, “I don’t think there would be much interest in helping Boebert,” he said.

The wolf population in Minnesota has continually survived and didn’t require reintroductions like those in the Rocky Mountain states.

A Minnesota wolf expert previously told Cowboy State Daily that wolves there live quite differently from wolves in Wyoming. They typically hunt in smaller packs, and frequently eat fish.

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter