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Wyoming may release grizzly management plan soon


Wyoming grizzly bear
Photo credit: Dreamstime

Earlier this week, Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) officials held a public Facebook talk to discuss the general public sentiment regarding grizzly bear management. The animals lost federal protections within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem last year. While Montana recently announced that it was not planning on holding any sort of grizzly bear hunt this year, Wyoming has been considering it and has held several public comment sessions to hear from area residents on the controversial subject.

“Hunting is probably the most contentious issue,” Dan Thompson, WDFG’s large carnivore supervisor, told the Cody Enterprise, adding that people are “very much in favor of it or very much opposed.”

Thompson along with WGFD’s Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik and Renny MacKay, WGFD’s chief communications official, led the Facebook talk. Nesvik hinted that the “departmental grizzly bear management proposal featuring hunting” would be released to the public in the next few weeks, the Cody Enterprise reports.

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As goHUNT previously reported, after 42 years of federal protections under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted the Yellowstone grizzly bears and transferred management into state and tribal hands last July. Since then, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho have been working on a long-term plan that would keep bear populations sustainable.

The possibility of a grizzly bear hunt has been one of the most contentious aspects of how to manage the more than 700 bears that roam within the region; however, Thompson says it’s not the only issue that has been discussed repeatedly during public meetings. Many attendees have suggested more educational programs for those who must coexist with the bears while others say there needs to be “more accurate population counts of grizzlies,” according to the Cody Enterprise.

“People are very passionate about grizzly bears,” said Thompson.


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Greg G. - posted 9 months ago on 03-05-2018 10:24:07 pm

The grizzlies will recoloniz on there own if left alone. I think reintroduction to suitable habitat like the north cascades where I'm from or the Seara Nevada should happen before hunting is allowed those bears are a resource.

Chris M. - posted 9 months ago on 03-05-2018 10:16:13 pm
Minden Nevada

Maybe relocating a percentage of the bears to the native grizzly habitat of the California Bay Area would be an appropriate method to satisfy some of the very much opposed.

Terry P. - posted 9 months ago on 03-02-2018 08:37:24 pm

If you were to take into consideration historic range and the percentage any species currently inhabits. We should probably stop hunting most species in this country especially elk. Although in order to manage any species, you have to keep any given population healthy within their current range. Conservation over preservation.

Greg G. - posted 9 months ago on 03-02-2018 08:16:54 am

We should not be hunting an animal that is endangered or extinct in most of the countrie

Dave S. - posted 9 months ago on 03-02-2018 07:32:40 am

In an attempt to pacify environmentalists, Wyoming Fish & Game will require hunters to get a grizzly tag to buy a $40 can of bear spray and carry it with them. One, you can't kill a grizzly with a can of bear spray. Two, if you get charged by a grizzly, what are you gonna do: drop your rifle and reach for bear spray? A 2008 study on the Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray in Alaska showed that 3 of 9 people who sprayed charging grizzlies were injured. The injury rate against charging grizzlies would be higher, but the study did not include data on incidents when people who were carrying bear spray did not have time to use it during a surprise encounter. With a track record like that, why in the world would a hunter attempt to use bear spray rather than a rifle in a self-defense situation? Why is Wyoming Fish & Game requiring hunters to buy and carry bear spray? If hunter safety is the concern, then Wyoming Fish & Game should offer advice on how to use your rifle quickly and effectively during a surprise encounter with a grizzly: do not carry your rifle on a sling, never assume a charging grizzly is "bluffing," don't fire a warning shot, etc.

Jeffrey H. - posted 9 months ago on 03-01-2018 10:07:04 am
Manhattan, Kansas

1 more comment. I generally enjoy Kristen's articles and writing, but I do want to offer one correction. Her comment that "The animals lost federal protections..." I think would be more matter of factly correct written as "The animals recovered to the defined point that federal protections are no longer required." Grizzly bears have not lost anything. If anything they have won and so to have the biologist and managers who brought them back to where we are now.

Jeffrey H. - posted 9 months ago on 03-01-2018 10:01:43 am
Manhattan, Kansas

Gary H. great perspective and I agree.

Grizzly bears have been hunted by man since the dawn of the grizzly's relationship with man. Wouldn't not hunting them upset the balance of that relationship more than just continuing the relationship we have. This year was the first in 13 that did not get my wife some flowers for Valentines Day. I can tell you, disrupting that balance didn't help that relationship any. Next year I have double down. If we keep not hunting this sustainable population that is growing in won't be long and we'll be doubling down.

Gary H. - posted 9 months ago on 03-01-2018 07:43:00 am

I want them to shoot enough of them that when they see you they run away from you like their tail is on fire.