WYOMING – Wyoming’s first grizzly bear hunt in more than four decades was again delayed by a federal judge today.
A decision by US District Judge Dana Christensen extended a temporary restraining order blocking a hunt of Yellowstone area grizzlies by another two weeks. Christensen’s earlier ruling on August 30 put a two-week freeze on a grizzly bear hunt scheduled to begin in Wyoming on September 1. That order was to have expired today.
The ruling comes a day after hunt opponents requested an extension of the restraining order.
Mark Nesvik, Chief Game Warden with Wyoming Game and Fish Department said it is too early to determine the complete ramifications of the delays, now totaling four weeks.
If a grizzly bear hunt were to be reinstated this season, the department would work with those who drew tags during the lottery to make sure they could and would take their 10 days in the field. If not, reimbursements of any fees or other accommodations will be made by the WGFD license review board.
Where it gets wonky is if the hunt is entirely put off this year. Nesvik said there are no provisions in state statute covering what would constitute as a “carry-over.” Would those receiving tags in the 2018 grizzly bear be allowed to use them in a 2019 hunt (assuming they were still willing and able to hunt a year later), or would an entirely new lottery system be invoked?
“About all we know right now is we have another two weeks of waiting,” Nesvik said.