Wyoming authorizes grizzly hunt

We are extremely disappointed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission decision to authorize a hunt of up to 22 grizzly bears in the state, nonetheless, Greater Yellowstone Coalition will continue our work to keep bears alive.

A female grizzly and her two cubs feed on a carcass in Yellowstone National Park.  Photo courtesy of Tom Murphy.

A female grizzly and her two cubs feed on a carcass in Yellowstone National Park.  Photo courtesy of Tom Murphy.

GYC opposes trophy hunting of grizzly bears. Wyoming should focus on reducing conflicts and maintaining a stable population rather than implement a hunt that is designed to reduce the population and distribution of bears. In 2017 alone, 56 bears were killed due to conflicts with livestock, humans, and highways. Wyoming’s hunting quota of 22 bears is too high and is a departure from what we were told would be a cautious, careful, and coordinated approach - this decision strays far from that pledge.

GYC pledges to remain vigilant in holding Wyoming to the commitments it has made in managing grizzly bears. We do support the following components of this plan which we previously raised in our comments to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. 

  • In recognition of the value of ecotourism, Wyoming created a 1,014-square kilometer closure area to grizzly bear hunting on the east boundary of Grand Teton National Park;
  • There will be no hunting in the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway; and
  • In response to public comment, the quota of female bears that can be taken within the demographic monitoring area (DMA) was reduced from two bears to one. 

Grizzly bears are a remarkable conservation success story that illustrate the shift in our culture and society - from concerted efforts to remove carnivores from landscapes, to efforts to restore bears to their native habitat. The recovery of grizzly bears has also brought with it a growing industry of ecotourism that generates hundreds of jobs and brings real economic benefits to the state. In fact, tourism is the number two driver of the Wyoming economy. Wyoming’s hunting plans are a setback to this success, but our work continues.

GYC will continue to fight for grizzly bears by reducing conflicts that lead to bear deaths, protecting habitat, and connecting Yellowstone long isolated bears with other populations to the north. With your help, we have scaled up our work around the ecosystem. Over the past five years this has included:

  • Bearproofing National Forest campgrounds throughout the ecosystem;
  • Collaborating with livestock producers to reduce carnivore conflicts; and
  • Spreading the word to always carry bear spray in grizzly country, and helping people practice with this proven tool.  

Click here to read GYC's letter from April 2018 to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department regarding Wyoming grizzly bear hunting regulations.  Check out an article here with a quote from GYC.

--Chris Colligan, Wildlife Program Coordinator