Game and Fish holds grizzly hunt meeting to large turnout in Jackson

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Game and Fish officials wrapped up their mini-tour of the state last night, shopping the Draft Chapter 68 Grizzly Bear Hunting Seasons – Jackson region (WGFD) proposal. They saved Jackson for last and got exactly what they expected.

WGFD’s Brad Hovinga kicks off the meeting at NMWA introducing Dan Thompson.

WGFD carnivore biologist Dan Thompson did most of the talking Tuesday night at the department’s meeting held at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. He explained how the estimated 130 that turned out for the Jackson meeting differed from other parts of the state where the main complaints were not enough bears were being hunted and the price of a tag was too high. In Jackson, for the most part, it was just the opposite.

Thompson explained how the agency had already listened to many comments received, and incorporated some of them into proposed regulations including limiting draw and strict reporting of harvests, mandatory education/training for all hunters, and addition closures and protections for bears on the fringe of national parks.

The department assured members of the audience concerned with the safety of celebrity bears from Yellowstone and Grand Teton like 399 and 690 would most likely be kept safe with the inclusion of buffer zones around the parks where griz hunting would not be allowed. He stopped short, however, of saying the department could or would ban hunting of tagged or collared bears.

WGFD’s Dan Thompson

The hunt called for a total of 23 bears to be potentially harvested in the 2018 season. Restrictions within the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA) are much tighter and would be closely monitored. Only two hunters would be allowed in the field at a time using satellite communications to relay information the minute they made a kill.

In these hunt area 1-6 in the DMA, licenses will be issued in a 75/25% split, resident/nonresident. A random selection of order of hunters would be made and issued until mortality limits or the end of the season is reached.

If notified of selection, a hunter must purchase a license within 10 days of notification ($600 for resident, $6,000 for non-resident).

Additional rules apply including:

  • No baiting in areas 1-6
  • No use of dogs, trapping, radio telemetry
  • No take of dependent young or females with dependent young

As of April 16, 1,556 online comments have been received by Wyoming Game and Fish. There is still time to make comment before a 2018 hunt of grizzly bear is formulated. Public comment period remains open until 5pm, April 30.

After that the Commission will receive Game and Fish Department’s recommendation and review this regulation at their May 23 meeting in Lander. The Commission may also choose to take and consider additional public comment at the Lander meeting.

Grizzly Bear hunt map. (WGFD)

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