Wyoming’s grizzly bear draw is complete and a wildlife photographer is one of the few lucky people to obtain one of the coveted tags. Over 7,000 people applied for a chance at drawing one of 22 tags for Wyoming’s first grizzly bear hunt in 44 years. Some were hunters after a once-in-a-lifetime hunt and others were opponents who wished to block the hunt completely.
Thomas Mangelsen drew the eighth tag (out of ten available for the six interior zones selected for the hunt). An additional 12 licenses are available for Hunt Area 7, a region managed by the state; Wyoming is using the hunt to keep population numbers under control in this area. Because he drew the eighth tag, he will only be able to show up during his allotted ten-day timeframe if the first seven hunters haven’t already killed a female bear. WGFD modified its proposal based upon public comments and research, decreasing the female grizzly bear quota from two bears to one, which dropped the entire quota for the hunt from 12 to 11. There is a 10-day limit in place for a hunter with a license for any of the six designated demographic monitoring areas.
Mangelsen, according to The Washington Post, is a longtime resident near Grand Teton National Park and “has produced some of the most famous images of the area’s grizzlies.” He plans to use the tag to shoot a grizzly bear or two – only with his camera. And he isn’t the only non-hunter who snagged a tag. According to The Washington Post, a Jackson Hole, Wyoming, resident drew the No.2 spot and plans to also pay the $600 resident fee for a permit.
“That will be 10 days that another hunter will not be in the field,” said Mangelsen. “We might be able to save a couple bears.”
While non-hunters successfully drawing tags technically broke no rules, the Wyoming Department of Fish and Game Spokesman Renny MacKay told The Washington Post, “We think we should all be grateful that over the last four decades hunters and anglers spent nearly $50 million to recover grizzly bears to ensure there is an opportunity for people to see and photograph grizzly bears in northwest Wyoming. It is important to consider the fact that they did this during a time when those folks were using the resource by taking pictures of bears, not by hunting them.”
Despite the frenzy surrounding the grizzly bear hunt, there is still a chance it could be canceled. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 30 and will address several lawsuits that allege the delisting of the Yellowstone-area grizzlies shouldn’t have been allowed.
Stay tuned to GOHUNT for further updates.