Wyoming to vote on biggest grizzly hunt in lower 48 states

May 23, 2018 by Mead Gruver
Wyoming to vote on biggest grizzly hunt in lower 48 states
In this July 6, 2011, file photo, a grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Wyoming will decide Wednesday, May 23, 2018, whether to allow grizzly bear hunting for the first time in decades. Under the proposed rules before the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, hunting would begin Sept. 1 in the mountains and basins farthest from Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Hunting closer to the parks would begin Sept. 15 and end in all areas by Nov. 15. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart, File)

Wyoming could allow grizzly bear hunting for the first time in decades when state officials vote Wednesday whether to allow as many as 22 grizzlies to be killed this fall outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

Environmental groups including the Sierra Club and Native American tribes say the hunt would undermine decades of work to restore in the Yellowstone ecosystem. About 700 grizzlies now inhabit the region including parts of Idaho and Montana, up from 136 in 1975 when they were listed as a threatened species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed federal protections for grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem in 2017 and Wyoming officials say relatively few would be hunted.

"This came after a lot of discussions with the public about what they wanted to do in terms of grizzly bear management. We heard from the people of Wyoming, they were supportive of this. It's pretty clear the science supports this," said Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Renny MacKay.

The last time grizzly hunting was allowed in Wyoming was 1974.

Montana has not yet allowed grizzly hunting. Idaho will allow one grizzly to be hunted this fall. Hunting has been ongoing in Alaska where grizzlies and their minimally differentiated brown bear and Kodiak bear relatives are common.

Under the proposed rules before the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, hunting would begin Sept. 1 in the mountains and basins populated by relatively few grizzlies farthest from Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Hunting in a zone closer to the parks would begin Sept. 15 and end in all areas by Nov. 15.

As many as 12 grizzlies could be killed in the zone farther from the parks. Closer in, the limit is 10 and hunting would be stopped once 10 males or one female are killed, whichever happens first.

No more than one grizzly hunter at a time would be allowed in the closer-in zone to help ensure nobody accidentally exceeded the quota.

If the hunt goes forward and demand for licenses is high, hunters might wait years for their chance. A computer program would randomly draw names of license applicants who would then pay $600 for a resident grizzly license and $6,000 if they live elsewhere.

Names would be drawn until 10 hunters have paid for their licenses and certified they've taken a firearms safety course. Each would be valid for a 10-day window of opportunity.

If approved, could account for a sizeable portion of grizzly deaths in the region this year but not likely the biggest. Of the 56 known and suspected deaths of Yellowstone grizzlies in 2017, 40 were caused by people including 19 killed by elk hunters and others in self-defense.

Explore further: Montana, Wyoming, Idaho gear up for possible grizzly hunts (Update)

Related Stories

US considers ending protections for northwest Montana bears

September 29, 2017

On the heels of lifting protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears the U.S. government plans to consider the same action for bruins in northwestern Montana, home to the largest group of grizzlies in the Lower 48.

States divvy up Yellowstone-area grizzly hunt

January 4, 2016

Wildlife officials have divvied up how many grizzly bears can be killed by hunters in the Yellowstone region of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho as the states seek control of a species shielded from hunting for the past 40 years, ...

Bear researcher in 'dream job' attacked by grizzly

May 22, 2018

A government wildlife worker who recently landed her dream job researching grizzly bears in a Montana mountain range is recovering from a bear attack that left her with a fractured skull and other serious injuries.

Yellowstone grizzlies removed from threatened species list

July 31, 2017

The U.S. government lifted protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region on Monday, though it will be up to the courts to decide whether the revered and fearsome icon of the West stays off the threatened species ...

US seeks end to Yellowstone grizzly protections

March 3, 2016

The federal government is proposing to lift threatened-species protections for hundreds of Yellowstone-area grizzlies, opening the door to future hunts for the fearsome bears across parts of three states for the first time ...

Recommended for you

Meteorite source in asteroid belt not a single debris field

February 17, 2019

A new study published online in Meteoritics and Planetary Science finds that our most common meteorites, those known as L chondrites, come from at least two different debris fields in the asteroid belt. The belt contains ...

Diagnosing 'art acne' in Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings

February 17, 2019

Even Georgia O'Keeffe noticed the pin-sized blisters bubbling on the surface of her paintings. For decades, conservationists and scholars assumed these tiny protrusions were grains of sand, kicked up from the New Mexico desert ...

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.