Jackson Hole grizzly 399 is the most famous living wild bear on Earth. Think about that. She is universally beloved, a marvel to millions around the world who know of her existence.

She and other bears make wildlife conservation meaningful for large numbers of people who otherwise have little connection with nature. 399’s most passionate admirers are children who, for the rest of their lives, will never forget seeing her.

This is rare. It is powerful. Why is it so difficult for politicians in Wyoming to comprehend?

In most states 399 would be celebrated, embraced, treated as a national treasure by elected officials, even adopted as a wild mascot. Bizarrely, not in Wyoming. Gov. Matt Mead and his administration mostly portray native grizzly bears in Greater Yellowstone as liabilities imposed on the state by the federal government.

It’s an attitude of small-mindedness reflected in the shocking behavior of some Wyoming citizens. On Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, Bill Addeo, a resident of Hoback Junction, brazenly typed a message on the Jackson Hole News&Guide website in response to a column I had written titled, “If Jesus were here, he’d defend wildlife.”

Addeo wrote: “I KILLED BEAR 399. So, if Wilkinson is doing a book on bear 399, he needs to talk to me about the bear’s last moments gasping for air as the cubs ran about. I was there taking pictures and have all the inside information.”

Most people find Addeo’s humor disturbing. The world is now anxiously waiting to see if grizzly 399 emerges from her den as a 20-year-old mother with a new set of cubs.

Why do Americans, by a huge margin, distrust Wyoming’s ability to keep the recovery of the Yellowstone region’s grizzlies going?

And who is Addeo? He’s the attention-grubbing guy who proudly shot a wolf in Wyoming’s “predator zone,” where, in 85 percent of the state, wolves could be killed any time of day by any means for any reason.

Inexplicably, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved Wyoming’s predator zone, the first time in the history of the federal Endangered Species Act the agency allowed a recovered wildlife species to be treated so callously.

Addeo shot the wolf after it ate an antelope. He strapped the bloodied carcass to the top of his SUV, drove it into Jackson and parked his vehicle along Town Square. His friend, the late Sam Coutts, told the Jackson Hole News&Guide to send a photographer to chronicle the spectacle. Essentially, Addeo raised a middle finger in the face of those who value wolves and grizzlies alive.

He claimed he would have killed the wolf’s four packmates, too, if only he could’ve gotten them in his gunsight. A few years earlier Coutts, a former Special Forces soldier and Wyoming big game outfitter, was convicted of poaching a bald eagle, the protected avian symbol of this country, after one of the wild raptors ate trout in his private fish pond.

Are these folk representative of most hunters? No, of course not, but their barefaced backwoods behavior toward bears and wolves flourishes in Wyoming, and it echoes in Montana and Idaho. This week it was announced that famed Yellowstone transboundary bear “Scarface” was shot outside the park under suspicious circumstances.

“I met a guy who wants grizzly 399’s rug on his wall, stating that because she is famous, she makes a better trophy.” wildlife photographer Daryl Hunter wrote recently.

There are also the Wyomingites who want to kill 399 for other reasons, some out of spite, because they hate the federal government and environmentalists for wanting to keep grizzlies like 399 protected.

Should American citizens, who have made a huge investment resuscitating the Greater Yellowstone grizzly population, be concerned? There is no compelling evidence — none I’ve seen — that sport hunting grizzlies will build social tolerance.

Irrational cultural hostility toward grizzlies thrives in Wyoming, a state where public officials want to suppress recovery, even preventing bears from inhabiting remote federal public lands in the Yellowstone region because priority is given to non-native, taxpayer-subsidized private cattle.

Governors in most states would proudly tell the world their province is special because it has bears like 399 inside its borders, recognizing them as rare and powerful assets. Why Wyoming Gov. Mead can’t do that reveals a lot about who he is.

Columnist Todd Wilkinson is author of “Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek,” about grizzly 399 (Mangelsen.com/grizzly) and featuring photos by Jackson Hole photographer Tom Mangelsen. Contact him via columnists@jhnewsandguide.com. Columns expressly represent the views of the author.

(87) comments

Bill ADDEO

"When you see that in order to produce, you need permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you...you may know that your society is doomed." "Atlas Shrugged" - Ayn Rand
For way too long the silent majority has been censored by political correctness and the very bias media. This national election will put three Supreme Court Judges in place. Compassion, diversity, animal rights, corruption and the big lie have turned this country upside down. Killing capitalism and making slaves out of workers and heroes out of bums, has become the battle cry of the left. Remember, those who melt their guns into plows will plow for those who don't. All it takes for evil to succeed, is for good people to do nothing. I have a customer 308 AR with a flir thermal scope and a double tap trigger with a silencer up front. I use solid copper barnes triple shock bullets that I custom load for accuracy and can put away a running wolf at 1000 yards with different variations of scopes.
My teacher once told me that anybody could be president. After barack hussein, it looks like she was right!!
God Bless America!

Jay Westemeier

[offtopic][lol]

Marion Dickinson

One of the biggest problems with the entire endangered species thing is, it has become a huge fundraiser for environmental groups and has nothing to do with balance. As long as a taxpayer dollars can be harvested thru lawsuits, thee is not and will never be enough of anything that will get those groups power and taxpayer dollars (that they pay NO taxes on themselves). The opinions of wildlife biologists have no impact at all on what is "enough", there is no such word in the environmental language. We were supposed to have 100 wolves per state, we have exceeded that by close to 1000%, but it is not enough. There will never be enough griz as long as lawsuits will bring in ever more taxpayer dollars....or an enviro is killed by one...common people do not count.

Jay Westemeier

Again Ms. Dickinson, you claim that environmental groups are somehow profiting from lawsuits. I've asked you a number of times to elaborate on that and never get an explanation or proof from you. Now, if you believe that the Wyoming taxpayers are wasting their money for the cost of your state's Fish & Game Department's legal costs, you should complain to that department, your state representatives and governor, not the environmental groups that are funded by their members and donors. Remember that it's the actions of your state's agencies, legislature and governor that are leading to many of these lawsuits. And if you and other citizens of Wyoming feel that it's so important to you that the state takes charge of predator control in the manner you see fit, you should be willing to pony up the money needed to defend your positions in any impending lawsuits.

Kevin Watkins

Jay, you can easily look up the information online that Marion is referring to. Here is one of hundreds of links that explains how it works- https://www.mountainstateslegal.org/news-updates/action-update/2013/02/07/equal-access-to-justice-act-is-neither-equal-nor-just-environmental-groups-get-paid-off-and-file-more-lawsuits-meanwhile-private-citizens-battle-for-years-for-their-fees-#.VyjI6_krLcs Marion is correct, although I am sure you will not believe her, it does not fit your narrative.

Jay Westemeier

Kevin, What you are talking about and what Ms. Dickinson is saying are different. You are basically debating how and how much legal teams (lawyers) are compensated for those types of lawsuits. You're talking about lawyers fighting over compensation. Although I agree that it seems almost impossible to fight the government in court and that the MSLF, in principle is a great idea, the allegation that environmental groups are filing lawsuits just to raise money for themselves is ridiculous. Remember that the article you provided the link for was written by a legal foundation (group of lawyers) that is essentially complaining that they aren't winning and making as much money on these lawsuits as the other side's legal teams. I'm no lawyer, but in my opinion, the MSLF needs to do a better job of reviewing impending cases and consulting with and advising their clients to help avoid these lawsuits in the first place. And for what it's worth, my opinion of lawyers and lawsuits probably doesn't differ much from yours or Ms. Dickinson's.

Kevin Watkins

Yes Jay, there are plenty of examples of environmental groups suing to make money for themselves. I knew it would not fit your narrative of the noble environmental groups.
http://www.strata.org/wp-content/uploads/ipePublications/Final-Print.pdf
" Budd-Falen found the average EAJA
reimbursement in Endangered Species Act cases was $490.73 per hour, and got as high as
$775 per hour. Some courts are blatantly ignoring the statutory cap and redefining the
“special factor” clause. The market value for private lawyers determines most fees when
most of the layers working for these non-profits would make much less for their in-house
work (Baier, 2012, p. 41)"
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/how-endangered-species-act-litigation-means-big-money-for-environmental-groups/article/2551639

Jay Westemeier

But Kevin, those amounts were paid to the environmental group's lawyers, not the groups themselves. If there is any scam involved, it seems to be between the courts and the lawyers. I think the article writers and you are assuming that the additional amounts over the statutory cap are going to the groups. And if the environmental groups are achieving monetary gain, so be it. It would be the same for any of the MSLF clients if they sued and won their cases. Moral of the story is, if you don't want to get sued, don't kill or threaten the existence of an endangered species.

Kevin Watkins

Jay that money is from taxpayers. And it is beyond " Moral of the story is, if you don't want to get sued, don't kill or threaten the existence of an endangered species" Unfortunately many of these lawsuits are frivolous and without merit. It costs the USFS valuable resources(money) that would otherwise be allocated to programs that are beneficial to the public and public lands. No one is getting "sued for killing an ES" they (we) are getting sued because some one does not agree with a policy. And often that policy has already went through a peer review, NEPA or EIS and been proven scientifically valid. And by the way some of the Lawyers are on staff of the various groups, so the groups do benefit financially. You are going to tell me when a Group bills their lawyer out at $775/hr there is not one iota of dishonesty and why are most of these lawsuits presented to the courts in DC or San Fran? WWP has 4 lawyers on staff alone.

Dawn Hatch

How about instead of managing them, which actually means killing them, people work together for a wildlife corridor north for the bears? There are less than 20 in the Cascades.

Chad guenter

And there are none in California. How do we get them there?

Chad guenter

Ms. Hatch: I lived in Washington state over 20 years ago. The North Cascades has always had a very small population of grizzlys. It hasn't ever really grown, that small number is probably all that habitat can support, just as the GYE is maxed out on it's griz carrying capacity.
If they aren't hunted they will die in other ways, starvation, bear on bear conflict, or most likely human interaction searching for food so they don't starve to death. The habitat is saturated.

Dawn Hatch

We will agree to disagree. Thank you.

Dawn Hatch

I stand with Mr. Wilkinson's comments and his article. I also stand with Darryl Hunter and Kat Brekken. Call me a tree hugger all you want. Makes me want to fight for these iconic grizzlies even more and harder. God Bless America!!!

Chad guenter

Ms. Hatch, I too stand with Darryl Hunter in keeping the Primary Conservation Area as a buffer when allotting grizzly bear tags to a limited number of hunters in 2017.

Dawn Hatch

I don't read where Mr. Hunter wrote what you post. The bears don't need to be hunted at all.

Chad guenter

Funny, the more the pro-predator people whine and fail to yield to any compromise (buffer zones, etc.) the more people like me retreat from our compromising positions and hope that all the wolves and bears go back to being true endangered species.

In the wolves case, I hope the invasive species is eradicated as any invasive species that has been unnaturally transplanted by man should be.

Keep griping Mr. Wilkinson and many more moderates will see though your hyperbole and realize your true goal of "wildlands" free from ANY human contact.

Bill ADDEO

My letter way below was removed because I killed the argument and proved all the tree huggers wrong. There was nothing profane in it, just the truth. That is what is wrong with liberals. They call you names and then, will not let you print your views which most of the time, is different than theirs. Wilkinson uses all the buzz words and phrases that are really meaningless. "Condemned by every hunter" "Principles of wildlife conservation" "Wolves deserve better treatment" "Official report" and the best one is "Everything I wrote in the column was true" That's because he says so and everyone should listen to him and his "Experts." When hunting wolves was legal, the tree huggers went ballistic and wanted the law changed. Now that it is "Illegal" they condemn anyone who thinks different than them. Now, let's talk about the law. Slavery was the law, abortion was not. Rosa Parks had to sit in the back of the bus until she broke the law. Now she's a hero.
I was part of a UN peacekeeping mission 15 years ago to shoot a documentary on human right violations in Cuba. After ten days of shooting, the mission was cancelled because we did not find what they wanted to find, and that was, massive human rights violations. That is why, after over 60 years of embargo, you never saw any documentary or evidence of human rights violations in Cuba, because it was all propaganda. While we were there, American companies were busy buying up waterfront property to build resorts and we were told that Cuba was going to open up. The real human rights violations were caused by the American embargo that caused much poverty, pain and suffering. That is what we found and the truth was never told.
The game of smoke and mirrors is played out to the detriment of animals and humans. It's all about the agenda, as in Agenda 21. Common core is also a scam and so is global warming. Follow the money and you will find the thieves!
When Kenya outlawed hunting in 1974, they had over 50.000 elephant. Today, they have less than 3500. When the value was taken away, the animals died. They were put into Savo National park and ate the park bare and starved to death. Read Peter Beard's book. "The End of the Game." Beard calls it, "Starvo National Park." Even Richard Leakey, who was the game warden at the time, admitted two years ago that he mad a mistake. Really? That's like Robert McNamara admitting on his death bed that Vietnam was a mistake.
I have been in 79 countries and have hunted all the continents. If humans don't control the predators, the predators control everything and it does not end up pretty. In Wyoming, the wolf is a tool being used by the tree huggers to achieve human control of humans, not animals. In the end, the animals suffer. Groups like P.E.T.A. are a front for the power drunk egomaniacs who want to control you. The Sierra Club is another front that funds and violates human rights, all in the name of animals.
If Donald Trump loses, the wolves will take over America and you will be eaten alive.
God Bless America.............................!

Jay Westemeier

Addeo always has been and always will be considered an agitator wherever he goes. Just research his past. He supports anarchy for his own financial gain, he and his wife have started politically charged conflicts with their neighbors in Florida, and the couple have been involved in numerous lawsuits. Todd's reference to Addeo as "an attention grubbing guy" is accurate.

Cody Brinton

Todd has no real interest in properly managing wildlife-- he has no interest in bringing folks together for wildlife--- He gets paid to write his divisive columns - usually not fully truthful- never both sides of story-- he's a a pot stirring rag writer that has no value in our wildlife conversations-- You want wildlife to have the public gather around them in common sense? Quit reading his garbage-- Id love to see him say in public what he says about folks from the safety of his office--- if it was said in public someone would black his eyes would be my guess--- Later Todd-- Loser

Todd Wilkinson

Cody,
Don't know what planet you live on, but this one operates, in part, on principles of North American Model of Wildlife Conservation which condemns those who advocate poaching of public wildlife or carry it out. Everything I wrote in column above is true and the responses from you and others here only prove you can't handle the truth. Maybe not in your circles, but making threats (to poach public wildlife via shoot, shovel and shut-up) is condemned by every hunter, liberal or conservative, I know and by every professional hunting organization. Making personal threats to dole out black eyes because you are offended someone would call out lawlessness, bullying, and intimidation only validates everything said in column above. Poaching public wildlife, making personal threats and intimidating people who say/write what you don't want to hear does not win you favor from the public, nor gather people around, nor lead to common sense. It gives the hunting community a black eye it doesn't need and it reinforces the argument that if Wyoming (elected officials and those with Wyoming Game and Fish) aren't willing to stand up to, and stand down, those advocating shoot, shovel and shut-up, how can it be trusted to responsibly manage wolves and grizzlies?

One more thing: here's what I shared with someone who sent me a threatening email last week, incited by a relative of the late Sam Coutts. This person repeated the false assertion that bears and wolves are devastating elk in Wyoming.

As I noted, wolves deserve better treatment than being classified as vermin; at least give them the dignity of being a game animal to raise license dollars. Secondly, you will find a recent official report from Wyoming Game and Fish to be enlightening. I did. In many, many of Wyoming's hunting districts hunters can get multiple elk tags so the contention that wolves and bears are exacting a huge negative toll on elk herds is utter nonsense. Any hunter who isn't getting his elk isn't trying hard enough.

Harvest success rate in Wyoming is highest in the Rockies. Predators are also going to be the best defense to slowing the spread of CWD.

Bullet points from attached WGF report for elk:

Calendar year 2014:
State population objective for elk in Wyoming: 79,525
Actual population: 114,600
Harvest: 25,509
Success rate: 45 percent

Take note of this comment from WGF authors: "Overall the Department continues management strategies to reduce elk numbers."

If you can't handle this truth, don't blame conservationists. Take your complaint to Wyoming Game and Fish. While you are at it, ask the Department what it thinks about those who poach public wildlife. Here's a free link to a book the Department published on the topic: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Law-Enforcement/Case-Files

Chad guenter

The wolves that were released in 95 are vermin, Mr. Wilkinson. They are an invasive species far larger than what was native to the area. It is a "scientific" fact.

You surround yourself with people the likes of Ted Turner, who openly despise the existence of "too many" human beings and call for the eradication of BILLIONS. Turner is quoted saying "“a 95 percent decline from present [population] levels would be ideal”

CNN Founder Ted Turner Supports Population Reduction To 2 Billion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMgamzziQMM


Mr. Wilkinson, to you and a those like you. Human Beings are the problem with this planet and the fewer there are the better.

Jay Westemeier

Here we go again with the "introduced wolves are an invasive species" claim.
Historically, the wolf populations originally native to Yellowstone were classed under the subspecies C. l. irremotus. When the issue of what subspecies to use for the introduction was raised, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives stated that the taxonomy of grey wolves had been revised numerous times, and that C. l. irremotus was not a distinct subspecies, but a geographical variant. Three publications were made on the appropriateness of using a founding population of Canadian wolves: Brewster and Fritz supported the motion, while Nowak determined that the original Yellowstone wolves were more similar to C. l. nubilus, a subspecies already present in Minnesota, and that the Canadian animals proposed by Brewster and Fritz were of the subspecies C. l. occidentalis, a significantly larger animal. The rationale behind Brewster and Fritz's favor was that wolves show little genetic diversity, and that the original population was extinct anyway. This was contradicted by Nowak, who contested that Minnesotan wolves were much more similar in size and shape to the original population than the proposed Canadian wolves, though he conceded that C. l. occidentalis was probably already migrating southward even before human intervention.
So Guenter, would you rather of had Nowak's choice C. l. nubilus introduced instead? Do you believe that subspecies would kill less moose and elk? Do some research on wolves in Minnesota. You'll find all kinds of anti-wolf rhetoric that you love and, at the same time, it will refute your claims that another subspecies would not be killing the moose and elk of the GYE. Wolves do what wolves do to survive, including the extinct subspecies C. l. irremotus.

Chad guenter

"""""Canadian wolves, though he conceded that C. l. occidentalis was probably already migrating southward even before human intervention."""""""""

But NATURE wasn't respected by the wolf introducers, was it?

Letting nature take it's course and having wolves move back from wherever naturally, was not an option for the Clinton crew.

Dawn Hatch

The wolves introduced in 1995 were a good thing. Because the wolves fed on the elk, the elk no longer would congregate along the rivers and streams, a place where the elk were very vulnerable to being attacked. The result of the elk herds leaving was a comeback of the cottonwood, willows and other riverbank trees that the elk had overgrazed. Once the trees were big and healthy, native migratory bird arrived. The shade from these big trees also cooled the water making the water habitable for trout again and trout provides food and protein for bears. The low hanging branches of the new willows provided food for beavers, which by 1996 had disappeared from Yellowstone. They now have dams which are home to beavers and otters. So, Chad, it's a good thing the wolves were introduced in 1995.

Devon Viehman

Todd - your lack of professionalism and outward disregard for any sort of ethical journalism is an embarrassment to the industry. To reference a man who has passed away when it has nothing to do with the actual story is unethical. Your opinion pieces are just that; opinion without any consideration for peoples feelings. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.

Bill ADDEO

Glenn Graham; typical liberal trash from another socialist. First of all, I don't need permission to have a gun. Nobody "let's me have a gun." Those who don't have guns will be ruled by those who do. Now, because you state the Bears are okay, we should all bow to the great bear wisperer?Talk to anyone in Juneau, Alaska who hasn't seen a moose in 25 years because the Bears ate them all when no hunting was allowed. The majestic black bear can now be found in the county dumps with disposable diapers sticking out their butts scavenging for food like a town bum. The Bears ate all the Cubs, killed most of the sows and will now die off of old age and they will be gone. All in the name of compassion. Hunters are the biggest and best conservationist in the world. We want food tomorrow. Environmentalists want entertainment today. God bless America.

Jay Westemeier

Says the bitter, old, self-proclaimed woodsman William H. Addeo, as he types from a beach in Florida. Can't believe some people of northwest Wyoming actually fall for this guy's act. God bless the Grizzly & Wolf.

Mary Willis

Timothy Treadwell loved the big bears and apparently thought they were his friends. Then one day a brown bear killed Treadwell and his girlfriend and ate part of their bodies. Leaving them alone, or admiring them from a distance is one thing, but romanticizing them and attribuitng human characteristics to them is a mistake. They are dangerous predators and we should never forget that they will attack and kill without warning or reason. To think such an animal can be “universally beloved” is a little bit wierd.

Jay Westemeier

Mr. Willis,
Some of your points are valid but I think you're misinterpreting Wilkinson's statement about 399 being "universally beloved". That bear's celebrity has brought increased awareness to the plight grizzlies and other predators have to endure to survive in an ever shrinking wilderness environment. 399 has brought about increased interest in wildlife preservation from adults and their children around the world. She and her cubs have helped make people's trips to the area more exciting and worthwhile to millions. The increased interest alone has led to better education and awareness of the inherent dangers that the bear and other predators can pose to careless people. These are just some of the reasons that bear is considered to be famous and universally loved, not as a pet, but as an educational tool and symbol of our wilderness. Not weird at all.

Chad guenter

Mr. Willis: You are correct. Those who literally worship the bears and the wolves would rather watch them eat and in the wolves case KILL themselves into starvation than MANAGE their numbers to a level the GYE will support.
Grizzly bears ARE starving every year and are forced into man's domain in search of food. This is because of overcrowding/overpopulation. The sooner we start managing bear and wolf numbers the HEALTHIER the GYE will be.

Glenn Graham

Calm down Chad. There is no overpopulation of bears. The bears are being managed harshly enough already.

Bill ADDEO

When humans give wild animals names, like scarface and 399, we are trading places with them. When you shut down the national forest to humans from November till may you are trading places with them. Animals own nothing and you are giving them our land. But, I suppose you support affirmative action, welfare, illegal invaders, Medicaid, EBT cards, Clinton, sanders and you eat meat but won't kill it? What's next, beastiality?
God bless America!

Jay Westemeier

Yes, what a terrible country we live in. The two party political system is basically dead in this country and it's about time. The people in between the radically far right and far left are finally making their voices heard this year. We need a viable candidate from the middle to emerge so the radicals from both sides will become irrelevant. Not sure why you and a few other malcontents here haven't escaped to the Middle East where you can join up with your like-minded brethren. Long live the Grizzly & Wolf!

Glenn Graham

Bill Addeo - Are you real? Tell me that they dont let you have a gun?

Chad guenter

Ms. Catalina: "Government aid"?????? Are you kidding me?

Wyoming, if it were an independent nation would have ZERO problem not only surviving, but prospering on its vast wealth of natural resources. Tack on tourism revenues from WYOMING parks and Wyomingites would be the envy of the rest of the nation.

You try your best to bring emotion into a very simple debate about wildlife management. There are TOO MANY bears and TOO MANY wolves, their numbers need to be controlled for the GYEs own good.

And when "judges" born, raised, educated, and "ruling" from the east coast OVERTURN wildlife management decisions made in Wyoming, by Wyomingites, yes there may be a slight feeling of "We'll show them" involved with our defiance.

Jay Westemeier

Good luck with your foolish secessionist ideas Guenter. 48% of the land within the state belongs to the United States of America. The fossil fuels Wyoming produces are non-renewable and are going the way of the covered wagon. Time for me to go fishing.

Grant Spellerberg

Chad, the only overpopulation in Wyoming is human. Why don't we figure out how to control that population? Oh and about tacking on the revenues from tourism in Wyomings parks; if it wasn't for the Grizzlies and wolves that revenue would be cut in half. Think about it.

Chad guenter

Mr. Spellerberg: There is absolutely no proof backing your claim that half of tourism revenue is due to the bears and wolves. That is a completely made up number.

Besides, the wolves and the bears will remain in the parks, so the fictitious number of visitors here strictly for bears and wolves would not change.

Chad guenter

Mr. Spellerberg: In being so amazed at your baseless statement on revenue from the parks, I completely overlooked your even more ridiculous statement about the nations least populated State.
Wyoming is overpopulated with human beings????? I wont try to guess here what drives that view, but either possibility is not flattering.

Are you part of Mr. Wilkinson's and Ted Turner's anti-human being club?

debbie catalina

the conflict about the grizzlies isn't only about the grizzlies. The people of this part of our nation see themselves as an autonomous nation either self-consciously or consciously. They appreciate the tourist dollars and the government aid without which they can't survive and yet don't want to be subject to the laws of the nation. They suffer from the worst possible sort of entitlement syndrome imaginable.Sadly, the girzzlies specifically and wild life generally are, to them, symbols of their imagined subjugation by the evil national government. And - so - killing wildlife in large part isn't even about the wildlife. its about a "We'll show them" attitude. They are mostly ill educated and not able to imagine a world in which natural resources are limited or that ecological balance is not a cartoon idea imagined by those stupid cityslickers.

Bill ADDEO

Jayvis; John Wayne said it best about you and you're animal rights agenda jerks, "Life is tough, it's even tougher if you're stupid." By the way, animals have no rights. People have rights. And, as usual, I am right and you are wrong.
God bless America.

Jay Westemeier

Another example of your ignorance Addeo. Check out every state's, yes EVERY state's animal cruelty laws and hunting laws. Those laws all indirectly protect what unfortunately are few animal rights in this country. Anyone like you who has zero respect for wildlife and animals in general, should pay or eventually will pay dearly with their wallet or extended time in jail. It's not the wild west that you fanaticize about any more and the false sense of security you have hiding in the woods won't last forever.

Chad guenter

Mr. Westemeier: This is why I try to avoid interacting with you as much as possible. When you are proven wrong time and again you resort to ad hominem attacks and name calling.

Please do your research sir, and if you don't agree with what you find, try to resist your urge to lash out.

https://ballotpedia.org/Wyoming_Hunting_Rights_Amendment,_Constitutional_Amendment_B_(2012)

A Wyoming Hunting Rights Amendment was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Wyoming as a proposed legislatively referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure preserved citizens' rights to hunt and fish.

Do you need this repeated Mr. Westemeier???

The measure preserved citizens' RIGHTS to hunt and fish.

Jay Westemeier

When did I call you a name Guenter? I just showed you what is on the WF&G web site. You can go to any other Wyoming state web site or google the question and it will give you the same answer.... hunting is a privilege in Wyoming, and it mentions nothing of the amendment you mentioned. Obviously, if what you posted about your state's legislature is true, it hasn't been communicated to your incompetent fish and game department. That would again prove why management of the state's wildlife should not be left up to that agency. I'm all for civilized debate, but when people like you and the coward Addeo make threats to kill or use wildlife to make a political point, it burns me and should upset anyone who has an inkling of genuine concern for the area's wildlife. If you feel I called you a name, report the post to the N&G.

Bill ADDEO

A nation of sheep, breeds a government of wolves. How fitting for you bark biters.

Jay Westemeier

Chad Guenter and Bill Addeo are the same person.

Bill ADDEO

Let's try it again. You tree huggers keep talking about the law of the land. Wasn't slavery the law of the land? How did that work out? The Alabama police officer who arrested Rosa Parks said, "Its the law, I'm doing my job." That was okay with you? The German officers at the Nuremberg trials said, "It was the law. I was following orders." They didn't break the law, yet all of them were hung for their crimes? Tree huggers are anything but liberal. You guys are haters who spew your venom on anyone who disagrees with your radical agenda. Roe vs. Wade is a perfect example. You wanted to change the constitution. Now, all of a sudden it's a sacred document to you that can only be changed when YOU want it changed. You are a small group of anti-American radicals who need to be watched and fought. Yes, I consider you the enemy. The EPA stands for Employment Prevention Agency. How does it feel to be strip searched at the airport while someone with a cloth over their face walks through unmolusted. They say only ten percent of Muslims are radicals. You guys are that ten percent. The Germans who killed millions of Jews were only 7% of the population. How did that work out? I have a good mind to run for Wyoming governor. All you pot heads will move to Colorado and we will take the land back from the federal government.
God Bless America!

Jay Westemeier

ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.[yawn]

Jay Westemeier

"I have a good mind to run for Wyoming governor".
There's your biggest problem Addeo, you don't have a "good mind".

"All you pot heads will move to Colorado and we will take the land back from the federal government".
I laugh every time I hear this claim. Who's "We" Addeo? You and your three poaching bar buddies? Then, where are you going to get the money to maintain or manage the National Parks? The state of Wyoming doesn't even have enough tax base to maintain your rented backyard. My bet is that you've never paid income tax in your life and never bought a hunting license either.

Bill ADDEO

They won't print my letter because they say that the German party that began with the letter N is profanity. So, as Wilkinson accused me, I give you my middle finger.

Bill ADDEO

The letter below was obviously written by me. William H. Addeo

Comment deleted.
Gerald Willis

What a dullard. He goes on a long winding diatribe that doesn't even connect with the fact that he's promoting himself as a lowlife poaching fool. This guy must still think it's the 18th century - the fantasy he plays is so full of BS that it's coming out of his ears. He's another poster child for the state of Wyomings failed school system.

Comment deleted.
Jay Westemeier

Isn't it common for a radical terrorist to twist a subject (grizzly bears and wolves) into religious debate. Wildlife preservation has nothing to do with abortion, yet a coward who has probably never set foot in a church wants to hide behind the veil of religion to justify his actions and threats.

Bill ADDEO

The letter below was easily written by me, Wiliam H. Addeo

Roger Hayden

It's worth noting that we've got one person here who claims to have killed a federally protected species and plans to kill another this summer. And then there are the "shoot, shovel and shut up" advocates. In other words, these folks are threatening to kill our bears on our public lands. Most of us, even those who support trophy hunting grizzlies, wouldn't announce we plan to break the law and certainly would not encourage it. But we're talking about people who have had friends who were convicted of crimes against wildlife. They are a tiny, extreme minority.

Chad guenter

Mr. Hayden: Unlike you, I don't support "Trophy Hunting" grizzlies, to tell you the truth I don't support "trophy hunting" of any animal. I support sound, sane management of grizzly numbers and even more importantly management of far more destructive wolves.
When FOOLS in robes in Washington DC stop Wyoming from "legally" managing these animals to previously agreed to numbers. It is up to Wyoming citizens to ensure the PROPER management continues.

The ESA has been used for whorerrific political reasons to the DETRIMENT of the GYE and ALL animals in it.

Roger Hayden

Looks like I my comment was a bit confusing, Chad. I don't support trophy hunting.

Kat Brekken

I commend Todd Wilkinson for his thoughtful and honest article. As a local, descended from ranching pioneers to the region, I've had the time to learn the value of apex predators on the landscape and be surprised at how some still do not. We have had a multi million dollar investment and over 50 years of Federal Protections, to recover the Bear population, to where one can occasionally enjoy a few more opportunities to see bears again. You see, I remember when the open dumps in the Park were closed and it didn't take much time before my many trips into the Park were void of any sightings. And I've also witnessed the return of heath to the land as the Grizzly, Wolf and Lion have begun to recover here. We know the bear has the 2nd slowest reproductive rate of any species in N. America, often taking years to mate and often with a very high mortality of cubs. Wyoming's Game & Fish had to have known the population was dwindling down to the point of Endangered, although they did absolutely nothing to adjust their management plans accordingly. That what prompted the Grizzly to be listed as Endangered. Wyoming also displayed a wolf management plan that violated standard and law, resulting in the loss of that plan recently and the return of Federal oversights. The fact that Wyoming has already announced it's $600/resident and $6,000/ non-resident for Grizzly Bear Tags post delisting, is proof that this whole process is funded by the Trophy Hunting Industry and their affiliations with politicians and lobbyists. A 3 year study, cited by USFWS, yet unseen by the general public and not PEER reviewed by independent scientists, is far from adequate justification to appease the less than 6% of the population of this country that wants to kill the bear for a rug, a trophy and bragging rights, while the other 94% foot the bill and have no say. We have a limited number of bears. They take a long time to reproduce. Past management in the state has been less than adequate, as evidenced by documented actions. The renewable and self sustaining, multi-million dollar tourism industry that feeds the economies of the surrounding states far outweighs the few tags that could be sold over a year or two. Use common sense. Look at the bigger picture and you will see that we need to protect and conserve that which we have. For once it's gone, all will suffer. This deserves the very best minds making decisions, not a politically bought skewed study. We owe this to future generations who will come to cherish what little we can leave them. Choose wisely and comment against delisting before May 10th to the USFWS website.

Gary Humbard

There are unfortunately those individuals (~5%) of the total population who are the Bill Addeos of our society that make the news and try to distract us from success stories. For every Bill Addeo and Clive Bundy there are thousands of hunters and hundreds of ranchers who respect their sport and profession. With that said, the State of Wyoming Fish and Game agency needs to be more pro-active in valuing the benefits that predators provide to the landscape. Wyoming is the only western state without an approved wolf management plan (California is in progress) and Montana has conservation officers who work with landowners to reduce grizzly conflicts (I apologize if Wyoming also has them).

Whether grizzlies are delisted or not, their ultimate fate and our tell tale sign as a society will be shown by our ability and willingness to live with and respect the great bears right to exist.

Chad guenter

Mr. Humbard: Wyoming DID have a wolf management program, and it was working. A Baltimore born, Harvard educated, Washinton DC activist "Judge" ended it.

That forces the hands of Wyoming residents to do the right thing and continue to "manage" wolves the best we can. Some are merely more vocal than others, the Three S's being preferred over Mr. Addeo's Two.

The grizzly bears numbers are also in great need of "management", and my guess would be that another or the same East Coast bred DC judge will stop Wyoming as a state from doing just that. And once again Citizens will have to do what is Right.

Jay Westemeier

And once again, the citizens you talk about will lose. No matter how much you despise what you consider to be government interference, you'll never truly win by retaliating with spite. Approving of and/or following the coward Addeo's lead will only make your case less and less acceptable by the vast majority of Americans who already oppose it.

Bill ADDEO

For the record, the letter below was written by me; William H. Addeo

Bill ADDEO

Bear 399 wil not emerge from her den because of a new hunting tactic called, "Shoot and shovel." I used to just throw the carcasses off the swinging bridge but I got tired of driving all the way there. I should really call it ,"Shoot and shovel and shut up." Man will always balance the species and everything will be fine. Environmental wackos will always lie and wear their leather and eat meat others kill and hate anyone who thinks different than them. Wilkinson likes to insight riots because it's the only way he knows how to write. He spews his venom on all detractors and that is his coat of arms. The liberals use him as their shield and he gets paid a poor man's salary just to suck up to them. His welfare check of a social media nature is nothing more than a token for his effort. Meanwhile he scrapes for a free dinner out whenever the phone rings from someone he thinks admires him. He actually doesn't know he is being used like a condom to stop anyone from daring to speak up against them.
I will continue to do what is right to control and kill every single wolf I go after. So, I am announcing my plan now. This summer, when town is full of tourists, I will be depositing a dead wolf every week somewhere in town to show my support for my favorite animal, the majestic Elk. 399 has been 86'd. I will do my best to make sure that the wolf really is endangered by killing every single one that I go after. Nobody knows the woods better than me. I dedicate this movement to my good friend Sam and his life long challenge of protecting our wildlife. There really is a good place for bears and wolves, it's right next to the mashed potatoes and gravy. God Bless America!

Jay Westemeier

Wonderful Mr. Addeo. Once again, you demonstrate that you are the absolute septic tank end of an ideology that not only pollutes the reputations of all law abiding and ethical sportsman across this country, but also shows how radical, anti-social and confrontational certain factions are within our own borders. Addeo and his faction are Wyoming's ISIS/North Korea and he seems to be proud of it. I hope the vast majority of who I consider to be upstanding citizens of Wyoming reject this guy's rhetoric and give him the kind of attention he really deserves....none.

Marion Dickinson

There was a very tolerant female griz in Yellowstone. photographed by thousands and called by name by many, many of whom did not respect her as a dangerous predator. One YNP employee apparently thought she had the same respect as he went hiking without bear spray and she was "euthanized" and her cubs sent to jail in a zoo because she forgot he was her friend and she killed and ate him. The point being there is an overpopulation of major predators and ever diminishing food for them in the GYE.

Chad guenter

Marion I completely agree with you, and any (even with a buffer) management/hunt of the Grizzly bear population is desperately needed. It is very frustrating that these people don't seem to realize that bears are starving in some case simply from overcrowding of their suitable habitat.

Jay Westemeier

Here's a better analogy Marion. A park employee made a tragic mistake hiking in known bear habitat without bear spray and unfortunately it cost him his and three bears' lives. The REAL point is that there is an overpopulation of people living within the GYE who are uneducated in predator behavior, unwilling to live in harmony with all predators of the area, or both.

Marion Dickinson

Where are you going to start cutting the number of people in the GYE, or even cut the number of visitors to Yellowstone? That would certainly be a good idea, but can you imagine eliminating back country permits for hiking or camping and the screams that we'd hear? True that man made a "mistake", but not one he would have made if he truly thought of the bears as a dangerous predator....which they are. Everyone wants someone else to sacrifice. Researchers want more and more research grants and to justify that they need more and more predators to study. There are few prey animals left (deer, elk, & moose).

Jay Westemeier

Marion,
You misinterpreted what I said. I meant that there are too many people who aren't properly educated on predator behavior. I never stated that the human population should be cut. Your continued claims that there are very few prey animals left can be easily refuted.

Grant Spellerberg

You seem to think that people are not the problem. We are the problem. That man did make a mistake and he paid for it. Ignorance is no excuse.

Richard Spratley

Another great article Todd. Thank you for telling it like it is. The ignorant and heartless will always be that way. I believe their thought process is more out of spite than anything else. Their callous, cold hearted, satanic behavior speaks volumes to the type of people they are and how they are perceived by the rational, balanced humans.

Daryl Hunter

When Grizzly 399 and or Grizzly 610 are killed in the Teton Wilderness I'm sure we can count on a coverup by the Fish and Wildlife Service and Game and Fish like the coverup of Scarface's death last November. The investigation of Scarface's shooting is taking longer than that of the Kennedy assassination.

Ian Courts

So around 700 bears, in fragmented populations are "TOO many" ??? Well then lets trim the elk herds down to that number so they don't cause as many deaths or injuries shall we?

Chad guenter

Manage grizzly numbers with limited hunts and a buffer zone to protect the celebrity park bears.

There are TOO many, overcrowding is bad for the populations overall health and creating more and more negative human interactions.

Daryl Hunter

Thanks Chad for being the first hunter or rancher to agree that the Primary Conservation Area (PCA) should be off limits to hunting to protect our "Revenue Bears" of Jackson Hole.

Ed Loosli

Chad; If "limited hunts" are allowed to kill grizzlies in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho outside some protected zone boundary, the grizzly will never recover to where they are not endangered. Connectivity with other grizzly bear habitat is necessary for the grizzly to recover and "limited hunting" will not permit this vital element to true recovery.

Daryl Hunter

Ed, there will be a grizzly bear hunt, Chad is the first I know of on the hunter/rancher side of this issue to even acknowledge the Primary Conservation Area should be a safety zone.

All anti hunters and grizzly advocates want no hunting ever, but there will be a hunt. No hunting in the (PCA) at least will protect the grizzly bears that we see.

Give credit to those who at least will compromise Ed :)

Jay Westemeier

Daryl,
You are correct that compromise is essential if delisting takes place. But to help ensure the bears recovery going forward, I think it is necessary to expand the original PCA to include all areas designated as suitable grizzly bear habitat within the GYE. Key areas, in my opinion, include ALL of GTNP, the Upper Green River Valley and the entire Wind River range. These areas are very important in ensuring CS (Conservation Strategies) population and distribution objectives will be met long-term. The Upper Green River area is presently occupied by grizzly bears and is important contiguous habitat that links the bear population between the Gros Ventre/Upper Hoback area, Upper Wind River Range, and core bear habitat north of this area. The Wind River range also offers some of the last and best remaining stands of white bark pine that, regardless of what the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team says, remains a key fall fattening food in the bear's diet. A major hurdle is that it's rare for a bear to get through the Green River corridor without getting into trouble with livestock. That valley is saturated with sheep and cattle allotments (these are on public forest service lands with some 7500 sheep and 22,500 cattle in a 323 square mile area). Bears are moved, or removed lethally. Recently the ‘take’ quota for grizzly bears was just raised in that area and even more important, the limit for female grizzlies kills was eliminated there. Therefore, it is difficult for a bear to get past this bottleneck corridor into the Wind River habitat. Yet the Winds provide excellent, essentially uninhabited habitat. Another hurdle is that the southern portion of the Wind River Range still has very active sheep allotments on Wilderness land. Corridors like the Upper Green, full of livestock on public lands, need tighter livestock rules set down by the Forest Service, not dead bears. These are not private land ranchers, but ranchers using public lands at very low rates.

Chad guenter

"""" I think it is necessary to expand the original PCA"""

Progressivism at it's finest. Keep moving the freaking yardage markers further and further down the field as necessary.

Just like the wolves, ABANDON the original agreement when that goal has been met. ie 100 wolves total and 10 breeding pairs.

Daryl Hunter

I agree with that Jay; however, we likely won't even get the line the IGBT said was important for a 100 year recovery. The line the IGBT made is a simpler one to make the argument for because "they" made the argument for us.

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.