WY Game and Fish Moved 45 Bears in 2021 - Most to Park County

WY Game and Fish Moved 45 Bears in 2021 – Most to Park County

Written by on March 9, 2022

Wyoming Game and Fish captured and relocated nearly four dozen grizzlies in 2021, as growing populations make conflicts and relocations increasingly tricky.

On Monday, March 7, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department released its annual grizzly bear captured report. The document contains data on every grizzly captured and relocated by the department last year.

In 2021, Wyoming Game and Fish captured 45 individual grizzly bears in 49 capture events.

Of the 45 individual captures, 17 were female, and 32 were male. Most of the relocated grizzlies were adult males – 19 bears total.

The vast majority of the grizzlies were captured in and relocated to Park County.

Of the 49 capture events, 21 (43%) were in Park County. Furthermore, out of 19 relocations events, 11 (58%) were in Park County.

Captured grizzlies were also relocated to other western Wyoming counties.

  • Ten bears to Sublette County (21%)
  • Six bears in Fremont County (12%)
  • Seven bears in Teton County (14%)
  • Five bears in Hot Springs County (10%)

Most grizzlies were captured and relocated due to killing livestock.

“In comparison to last year, conflicts — especially with livestock — increased. This is due to the growing number of bears on the landscape expanding beyond their suitable range and spilling into areas they haven’t been in recent history,” said Brian DeBolt, Game and Fish large carnivore conflict coordinator.

Other reasons for grizzly management events were obtaining food rewards (pet & livestock food, garbage, fruit trees, etc.), frequently developed sites or populated areas, and damaging crops.

Six bears were “non-target” captures which means the bears weren’t involved in any incidents. One bear was captured for being sick or emaciated and was humanely euthanized.

Wyoming Game and Fish relocated nearly twice as many grizzly bears in 2021 compared to 2020 – which is becoming more difficult year to year.

“It’s becoming more challenging to find a suitable relocation option for conflict bears. A successful relocation site needs to be somewhere the bear won’t immediately find itself back into conflicts with people or livestock has a suitable range as well as some biological factors. Sites are limited right now due to high grizzly bear population densities,” DeBolt said.

Dangerous bears that have shown aggression towards or attacked humans are not relocated.

Grizzly bears are relocated or removed following state and federal laws, regulations and policy. More information about how Wyoming Game and Fish manages grizzly bears in Wyoming is available online. Game and Fish also continues to educate the public about how to proactively live and recreate in bear country to avoid conflicts as part of Bear Wise Wyoming —  a program that started in the early 2000s.

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