Hunter-killed grizzly

Wyoming is pursuing a managed hunt of grizzly bears, state wildlife managers announced Thursday. The animal pictured was killed defensively by hunter gunfire west of Cody in 2014.

State wildlife managers Thursday took a much-anticipated step toward allowing hunters to set their rifle sights on grizzly bears for the first time since the 1970s.

Meeting in Douglas, Wyoming Game and Fish Department staffers asked their governing board for permission to draft hunting regulations. The request was granted, which means that in the coming weeks biologists and wardens will pore over maps to devise grizzly hunting boundaries and come up with proposals for how many bears could be killed.

It’s a development Game and Fish Chief Warden Brian Nesvik sees as “part of the success story” of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s grizzly population.

“There certainly is the opportunity biologically for there to be a grizzly bear season,” Nesvik said. “Grizzly bears have recovered to a point that they can be managed similar to other large carnivores in the ecosystem.”

Wildlife managers say public meetings held across Wyoming steered them toward pursuing a grizzly hunt. The sentiment was clearly pro-hunting, Nesvik said, though in the Jackson area there was more of a 50-50 split for and against.

Nesvik expects draft hunting seasons to be issued by mid- to late February, after which there will be another round of public meetings and opportunity to comment. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission is scheduled to take up the regulations at a May 23 meeting, he said.

A number of hunting policies are already in place, set when grizzlies were being removed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from the list of “threatened” species last year.

Licenses will cost $600 for residents and $6,000 for nonresidents. Sow bears with cubs — and the young bears themselves — are protected from hunting. Successful hunters must report kills to the agency within 24 hours. Hunting will not be allowed if the ecosystem’s population dips below 600.

Conservation advocacy groups have largely stood in opposition to trophy hunting of grizzly bears.

Center for Biological Diversity attorney Andrea Santarsiere, a Victor, Idaho, resident, said that the move to OK grizzly bear hunting so soon after delisting was “disheartening.”

“It really leaves no opportunity to see how bears would fare as a state-managed species without hunting,” she said. “We’re opposed to trophy hunting, and we will fight tooth and nail against any Wyoming regulation permitting hunting grizzly bears.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2017 decision to let Wyoming, Montana and Idaho manage grizzlies triggered no fewer than six lawsuits, though those complaints will likely be consolidated.

The Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association had a much different reception to news of impending grizzly hunting regulations. Jeff Smith, the group’s president, said he’s on board for whatever Game and Fish proposes.

“We are dang sure supportive of hunting them,” Smith said, “because we hunt everything else in Wyoming.”

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

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

(11) comments

Mike Makuye

Hunting is stochastic, essentially randomly killing. This has a greater problematic chance of killing/removing traits which are important for Griz's adaptations to the world it has always known - especially when populations are rather small as in 1000 compared to hundreds of thousands. Think of the constable, governor, or librarian taken from a tiny town. GONE, forever.
Worse, human hunting tends to be additive mortality - death in addition to normal ways of dying.
Hunters, because of the west's having too many roads, and vehicles (including ORVs) Griz must forage and range over larger spaces than mice, so this makes an intolerably huge difference. While griz are mostly vegetarian, including eating many insects, they are predators, a naturally rare animal (humans are NOT natural predators, but omnivores, with all the extra fear and dependence upon their herd that goes along with it. We don't chase down animals, nor swat or bite them, but have developed a cheap, safe excessively distant technology - guns, that prevent chance of our dying, which is large in wolves, cats, and even kicked or antler-stabbed griz, although that's a far rarer occurrence in bears with their great right hooks than with those who must grab with heads and teeth only)
Another huge problem is that hunters prevent dispersal. The history of humans lurking with guns and killing the first of a species to appear, is common. Witness Utah, Iowa, Illinois, Dakotas known killing of the first wolves trying to return to their ancient homes. They ALL got away with it.
Poaching is another significant problem in itself (I lived far more rurally than the communities of 80 or 2000 which formed much of my life, and can tell you that every boy with a gun pretty much poaches. and standing at a border with wildlife agents, I've seen trucks and trailers containing poached animals. Perpetrators ALWAYS claim ignorance or innocence - As a man familiar with men and guns and nations, I can tell you that men lie, not insignificantly to themselves about their honor, morality, ethics.
NO hunting of vital predators is ever warranted, and no excuse can be trusted. (I learned guns from 5 to 9 years old, and have watched those who claim moral, ethical, and actual fear-based reasons why men salivate over guns ("We hunt" is not a reason to kill beyond eating. ALL traditional peoples suffer extreme guilt and remorse when killing, and have rituals to cleanse the hearts and minds of their subsistence hunters before they can interact with their intimates. Your culture does not, and thus has promoted psychopathic and sociopathic traits in your males.

Chad guenter

"""""ALL traditional peoples suffer extreme guilt and remorse when killing, """"" What's your definition of "Traditional", and killing what exactly? I'm sorry Mr. Makuye, but when I read this I literally laughed out loud and discounted everything else you said. Would help you to know that I cried when I shot my first deer? Then I cleaned, processed and fed it to my family. Most hunters I know show extreme gratitude and thanks to God for providing an animal they just harvested to feed their family. Bears and wolves are competition for the same elk that humans feed their families with, and their numbers will be controlled for not only human benefit, but their own.

Chad guenter

These "traditional peoples"?

Robert Wharff

How many grizzly bears are removed annually through agency actions? I would much rather see grizzly bears removed via hunting than continue to see so many bears removed via agency actions.

Jay Westemeier

Robert, the only perceived benefits of your preference are a few more dollars in the pockets of outfitter/guides and the agency via licenses. The overwhelming downside is it will greatly increase the public's disgust for the agency and hunters. Hunting sports are in a downward spiral and trophy hunting grizzly bears will not help reverse it. When it comes to predators, required removal would be better left to the agency, especially in Jackson Hole.

Glenn Graham

Why would anyone want to kill a bear? Unbelievable.

William Huard

They do things different in Wyoming.
Hatred for predator species masked as “wildlife management.”
They are still puzzled why people are horrified by the continued family dog fatalities by snares on public lands.
The concern is if the snares were properly marked that would invite tampering!
Yup, public safety and the lives of family Peta take a back seat to the killers

Eugene Kiedrowski

“We are dang sure supportive of hunting them,” Smith said, “because we hunt everything else in Wyoming.” - small hands syndrome again. These people need to learn what it sounds like we someone says NO.

Paula Garcia

I personally do not support killing of an animals unless their is a NEED to feed family. To have a animals head on the wall or for the animal to stand in the entry of one's home only says that they have a deep psychological problem, and that life has no value. If the truth be known I am sure it is more about revenue than the grizzly bears recovery...

Marguerite OConnor

I couldn't agree with you more!

Marguerite OConnor


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