Game and Fish Commission approves grizzly bear hunt

WYOMING – The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission set what it called a “conservative approach” for Wyoming’s first grizzly bear hunting season since 1974. Grizzly bears in Wyoming have exceeded recovery criteria since 2004, and management of the bear was returned to the state last year.

The vote of the Commission was unanimous and followed the recommendation of Game and Fish personnel, the latest research, a three-state memorandum and thousands of public comments.

“I want to thank all of the people who came to today’s meeting to participate in the process. Additionally, thousands of people commented online and truly made this regulation a better regulation,” said Scott Talbott, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Many, many people have been part of this process since last fall in helping to set a direction for all grizzly bear management, from education, conflict reduction to hunting. Wyoming is committed to ensuring a recovered population to provide opportunity for anyone who is interested in grizzly bears and this decision is part of our management.”

The draft quota inside the demographic monitoring area, which is the area experts deemed as suitable habitat is 11 bears with a one bear female sub-quota. Allowable mortality limits are developed using a pre-set formula outlined in a cooperative agreement between the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Parts of this approved plan that were based on public input include: mandatory education for grizzly bear hunters, hunt areas and regulations to direct harvest to areas with higher potential for grizzly bear-human conflicts, a closed portion of a hunt area next to Grand Teton National Park to support the wildlife viewing tourism economy and a prohibition against hunting grizzly bears near highways.

The regulation clarifies the process to obtain a license if a hunter is placed on the grizzly bear license issuance list for hunt areas 1-6. Hunters who are high enough on the list will be required to submit payment for their license fee and proof of a hunter education certificate within 10 days of notification.

Additionally, the regulation establishes 10-day hunt periods for those hunting in areas 1-6.

The cost of grizzly bear licenses was previously set in law by the Wyoming Legislature. It is $600 for residents and $6,000 for nonresidents.

Treasurer Mark Gordon, who is running for governor this fall, said in reaction to the news, “As a lifelong Wyoming sportsman and rancher, I applaud the Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioners for their thoughtful decision today. This is the right approach for Wyoming. It is based in science, reflects the opinion of Wyoming people and incorporates provisions to maintain our strong tourism economy. With this conservative policy developed by the Game and Fish Department, we can keep the population of grizzlies healthy and try to reduce conflicts to keep residents and visitors safe.”

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