Game and Fish Turns Down Grizzly Hunt
Written by wendycorr on May 1, 2019
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has decided not to try to enact a hunting season on grizzly bears.
Last week, the commission considered a recent bill by the Wyoming Legislature that, at least in theory, gave the panel the authority to pass a hunting season despite a September ruling that reinstated federal protections for the Yellowstone area’s grizzly bears.
However, at their meeting last week, commissioners expressed their concern that hunters could face federal prosecution if they harvested a grizzly in a state-sanctioned hunt. But Commission President David Rael of Cowley compared a Wyoming grizzly hunt to other states legalizing marijuana in spite of federal legislation prohibiting its sale and use.
There have been mixed emotions in response to last year’s ruling from a Federal Judge, whose decision has been celebrated by people across the country who oppose any hunting of grizzlies. However, there is more support for hunts inside bear territory — and particularly in counties experiencing increased conflicts due to the grizzly’s expanding range.
Wyoming has spent over $16 million on monitoring, conservation and conflict management in the past decade, with a large portion of the budget spent on damage mitigation.
After hitting a low of around 136 bears, there are currently more than 700 grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem — not counting an expanding population outside the DMA.