The second person who will have the option of hunting grizzly bears near Jackson Hole this fall has no intention of shooting and killing one of the bruins, anti-hunting activists say.
Jackson wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen made a splash in the news around the world last week when he beat long odds, drawing No. 8 on an “issuance list” that will allow up to 10 grizzly hunters, one at a time, into the field starting Sept. 15. But another Jackson resident is actually better positioned, and drew the No. 2 spot on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s list.
“She’s going to go out and shoot them with a camera,” said Ann Smith, a longtime Jackson resident and conservationist who helped spring the “Shoot ’Em With a Camera” campaign.
The successful applicant’s identity is public information, though the News&Guide is choosing not to name her or other hunters who lucked out in the draw. Manglesen identified himself.The woman did not respond to requests for an interview.
The Shoot ’Em group’s tactic was to attract nonhunters to apply for Wyoming’s first grizzly hunting season in 44 years. It appears the nonhunting cohort was awarded at least two licenses.
“We know we have two, and we hope we have more,” said Judy Hofflund, one of the organizers. “We have no way of knowing how many licenses we got. I wish there was a way of knowing.”
One successful applicant the movement’s five women founders don’t have to wonder about is Mangelsen, who learned of his fortune from colleague Sue Cedarholm on Thursday morning.
“When Sue told me that I got No. 8, I about fell off my chair,” Mangelsen said. “I just thought, ‘How can that be possible?’”
He was up against 3,500 Wyoming residents and 2,327 nonresidents vying for a shot at the tags valid where most of Wyoming’s grizzlies roam. Another 948 residents and 530 nonresidents applied to hunt in “hunt area 7,” on the peripheries of the greater Yellowstone area where relatively fewer bears are found. It’s unclear if any nonhunters were awarded licenses for that area.
Wyoming wildlife managers say the activists’ tactics are legal, though they’re not thrilled that it’s taking away opportunities from hunters.
“Definitely, we have no problem welcoming anybody who buys a license,” Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Renny MacKay said.
If Wyoming’s hunt isn’t first snagged by a lawsuit, the most effective way for activists to disrupt it, ironically, will be to compel their camera-toting followers to actually lethally shoot a bear. Once a female grizzly is killed by a licensed hunter, the season ceases.
Smith has conferred with the Jackson resident who is No. 2 on the issuance list, and a purposely killed female, she said, is not in the cards.
“She would never do that,” Smith said. “She’s horrified at the whole idea.”