The first grizzly bear hunt in the lower 48 states since 1975 could take place in Wyoming this fall.
Since being placed under strict protection by the Endangered Species Act, the grizzly bear population in the Yellowstone region has really taken off. For that reason, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission have developed a plan that proposes a cull of 24 bears this fall.
To ensure hunters don’t harvest too many bears, the WGFC has released a list of regulations detailing how the proposed management plan works.
Here’s an example:
A majority of grizzly bears reside in the northwest corner of Wyoming, or what’s otherwise referred to as the “Demographic Monitoring Area.” The proposed plan for the 2018 Wyoming grizzly bear hunt only permits harvesting up to 12 bears (2 female and 10 male) within Hunting Areas 1-6.
Furthermore, each individual hunting area has its own specific harvest limit:
- Hunting Area 1: two bears
- Hunting Area 2: one bear
- Hunting Area 3: two bears
- Hunting Area 4: three bears
- Hunting Area 5: three bears
- Hunting Area 6: two bears
Hunters may also harvest a total of 12 bears in Hunting Area 7, however it’s believed this area extends past the core population of grizzlies in the state at this time.
Any hunter who’s interested in pursuing a Wyoming grizzly would have a window from July 2 to July 16 to apply online. Residents would be required to pay a $5 application fee; nonresidents will be asked to pay a $15 application fee.
If selected to participate, hunters must complete and pass a grizzly bear identification course, and purchase a grizzly bear license. ($600 for Wyoming residents and $6,000 for nonresidents)
There will be no permitted hunting inside Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, or the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. Additionally, no hunter is allowed to harvest a grizzly bear cub or even a female with cubs present.
Only time will tell if this hunt is a go, but it sounds like we could get an official decision by May 23. We’ll update this article with more details when the decision is final.