Nature and wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen shooting near Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park.

Nature and wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen won one of 22 tags to hunt a grizzly bear this fall. Mangelsen, who drew tag number 8 in the draw announced Thursday, said he does not plan to use the tag to harvest a grizzly bear.

A famous and fiery critic of grizzly bear hunting who’s made a career photographing the big bruins will have a chance to partake in Wyoming’s first hunt for the species in 44 years.

That person is Images of Nature wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen, who beat very long odds, drawing No. 8 on an issuance list that will allow up to 10 grizzly hunters into the field starting Sept. 15. Mangelsen learned of the results Thursday morning, when he took a call from his friend and assistant Sue Cedarholm.

“When Sue told me that I got No. 8, I about fell off my chair,” he 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 coveted tags.

Mangelsen was among scores of folks from around the country who applied for Wyoming’s grizzly hunting licenses as a means of civil disobedience intended to slow the hunt.

Instead of a firearm, he’ll be taking his shots with a camera.

Wyoming wildlife managers say the tactic is 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 it’s not first bogged down by lawsuits, the grizzly hunt in which Mangelsen’s possible tag is valid will close down after the first female bear is killed. Up to 10 male grizzlies can be killed.

He’s skeptical there won’t be a gender mix-up before his No. 8 slot on the “issuance list” earns him a phone call to head into the field.

“I’ve watched a hell of a lot of bears over my adult life, and I cannot tell the difference between males and females at 100 yards, 50 yards even,” Mangelsen said. “I don’t know how they’re going to do it.”

A group of five Jackson Hole women mounted a campaign, “Shoot ’em with a camera,” that attracted other nonhunters to apply for the hunt. Lisa Robertson, one of the co-founders, called Mangelsen’s luck in the draw a “miracle.”

“We’re hoping for more wins,” Robertson said. “We’d love to see a woman.”

The draw results, which are made public upon request, show that one other Jackson man lucked into a chance at hunting grizzlies this fall. Men won the overwhelming majority of the tags.

Mangelsen, meanwhile, thanked his lucky stars Thursday for the lottery results, which he isn’t chalking up to some divine ursine intervention.

“Dumb luck is all I can say,” Mangelsen said. “It’d be nice to think it was karma or something, but I don’t know that that’s true.”

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067, or @JHNGenviro on Twitter.

Johanna Love steers the newsroom as editor. Her time off is occupied by kid, dog, biking, camping and art. She loves to hear from readers with story tips, kudos, criticism and questions.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

(25) comments

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Annette Osnos

Thank you. A pretty depressing collection of comments all in all.

Grant Spellerberg

He has a point though about gender identification. There is no way to tell male from female from a distance. Let's see how it shakes out if more than one female is killed.

Chad guenter

If the harvested females are pregnant with unviable tissue masses, those on the left shouldn't be upset. Correct???????????

Noah Osnos

Chad, your maturity is showing through in your comments. Most of the folks who would prefer to see the hunt canceled are concerned about long term viability of the species, and feel that wanton (or even regulated) killing is too high a risk to take. It really is about whether future generations will enjoy the beauty of life on earth, or whether we'll leave it an arid & empty place. It has nothing to do with the separate issue of a woman's right to control her own reproductive practices.

Cody Brinton

A few thoughts. Tom you make a living off the wildlife paid for by hunters. Ive never seen you you put your money where your mouth is by buying tags- gear and attending events like the rocky mountain elk foundation- DU- TO etc. Number two the department will hit their kill goals. If they don't fill a quilt this year they will increase next- hows that work for your cause? Third let science not emotion rule-- you supported the wolf introduction now we have very few moose-- You created the cougar fund to help promote your bottom line in photo sales. You use protection as a marketing tool- your pimping our wildlife and doing it for free My opinion- your the problem. You want no elk hunts in Teton park etc man has hunted since the begining of time--- I just wonder while your hunting with your camera if you'll actually get off a paved road for a change- in the field un armed and really hunt that bear or stand with the tourists as usual and spout your bs while trying make your bottom line larger? Real men and real photographers leave the asphalt Tom--- I hope your pepper spray works.

Terry Milan

Look at this way. Your tag will still be good after his expires. Your chances improve.

John Fox

Right on Cody!

Annette Osnos

Cody, I am not sure I understand your point about Tom making his money off the wildlife that is paid for by hunters. Please explain. Are you saying that there wouldn't be wildlife without hunters?!?
Also, Cody I hate to break it to you but there is not any direct link between wolf introduction and a reduction in moose numbers.
As for how Tom takes his photographs, he leaves before sunrise and goes out into the woods, not from the highway.
The cougar fund was started because their numbers are in decline.
Sorry to challenge you on your points but the facts are important not just emotion (quoting you).
You do understand that if the first Grizzly killed is a female, the whole hunt is cancelled, right?

Ken Chison

Well Annette. You truly are a Johnny come lately. Moose numbers flourished in all of NW Wyoming before wolf introduction. It's not just coincidence that almost all areas bordering Yellowstone have no hunting season now. Just like how we can't hunt bull elk in GTNP. Your facts are not facts. 1 female mortality in the DMA will close that hunt, but will not stop the hunt outside the DMA. Sorry to disappoint you with a few facts.

Ken Chison

Oh yeah Annette. I almost forgot. Ever heard of the Pittman Robertson act? I didn't think so. And that's why Cody said that we hunters pay the majority for conservation. Class dismissed.

Jay Westemeier

The REAL question is....would these commenting trophy hunters even care about wildlife conservation if they couldn't hunt? Would they put their money where their mouths are then?

Glenn Graham

But the grizzly bear population isnt growing. As the proportion of bears each year are killed by accidents (SSS) and for attacking cattle, then there won't be a science-based reason to kill more. Like there isnt a science-based reason to kill them now. You bought up science as if it supports your point of view. What is the science-based reason to kill 22 bears? Also, are you a real man because you kill wildlife from a long distance with a powerful gun?

Chad guenter

A thorn in the side of hunters for years now. I'd love to see bears in Mangelson's favorite photo spots shot with permanent fluorescent dye paint balls. Nothing like a neon green or hot pink grizzly to grace his studio's walls.

Annette Osnos

Chad, just curious why you think Tom has been a thorn in hunters sides for years?
Live the idea of the bears staying alive even if they have paint on them. I'd still buy that photo:-)

Jean Reiland

This is instant karma. Believe it!

Ken Chison

No. Karma would be him actually leaving the hiway at GTNP to get a grizzly in it's natural habitat, and getting ate. He is at least contributing 6,000 smackers to conservation and all he is doing is trying to delay the inevitable. Hunters will harvest them or game and fish personnel will kill them. But, it is nice to see that these people putting in for these tags have probably donated their very first dollars to conservation. All that money collected could buy a lot of backpacks with school supplies for a lot of needy kids in the community. Oh, I'm sorry. That's humans I'm talking about. People in Jackson don't want to be bothered helping the less fortunate.

Cody Brinton

Like minds-- game and fish will increase quota if not met this year---

Jay Westemeier

You should look in the mirror before criticizing or speculating on someone else's charitable contributions Mr. Chison. These types of comments really make you guys look shallow and bad.

Annette Osnos

Wow. Seriously, I am sad to hear you saying people in Jackson do not care about the less fortunate. I think we must live in different places. I see charitable work and help every day for people.
As for those of us who bought tags in order to not kill a bear, this is not my first conservation donation....far from it.
Please recognize that we all want to keep this place as beautiful,vibrant and healthy as possible....TRULY.

Ken Chison

Wow. What Jackson do you live in Annette? Mississippi? The rich snobs around here do not hardly volunteer their time, let alone their money, to anyone. As for Tom. Yes, it was the majority of funds from hunters that brought these bears back from extinction. Not some 10 dollar donation you gave to some save the animal campaign that squandered 99 percent of it for administration fees. And Noah. What endangered species are you referring to? Grizzlies in the GYE are not endangered anymore, in case you didn't get the memo. Top biologists in the field have determined the species recovered. People way brighter than yourself and much more knowledgeable on the topic.

Cody Brinton

No instant karma is next year when WG&F ups the mortality because they didn't get the quota they wanted this year---I will say its about time you bunny huggers put some money toward wildlife management- its a first.

Jay Westemeier

That's interesting Mr. Brinton. I would wager a good amount that I've contributed more money to conservation and wildlife management in my lifetime than you, and I haven't hunted for 30 years. You guys really need something else to gripe about.

Noah Osnos

In terms of actual economic value, killing threatened/endangered species is about the worst decision that a society can make. While it is true that "man has hunted since primitive times", there are now nearly 8 billion humans on the planet, and we've done a pretty good job of wiping out thousands of species. Perhaps at this point in time, we could withhold our blood lust for a bit, and try the other way?

Annette Osnos

Thank you for jumping in. I guess we are talking about different things because I like you have been charitable for over 30 years too...almost 90% to wildlife.
Clearly there is a lot of anger out there which saddens me.
The animals ALL lose!

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