BREAKING: Wyoming Game and Fish Commission Approves First Grizzly Bear Hunt Since 1975
OutdoorHub Reporters 05.24.18
After exceeding recovery expectations while protected by the Endangered Species Act, U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials in Wyoming approved the first grizzly bear hunt to take place in the lower 48 states since 1975.
WGFD has been floating the idea around for several months, and has even hosted a number of public meetings across the state to give folks an opportunity for their opinions to be heard on the proposed 2018 Wyoming grizzly bear hunt.
In the end, the commission unanimously voted 7-0, re-wrote and implemented a final set of regulations, and approved the grizzly bear hunt for this fall.
Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Scott Talbott, shared his thoughts on the matter in a news release:
“I want to thank all of the people who came to today’s meeting to participate in the process. Additionally, thousands of people commented online and truly made this regulation a better regulation. “Many, many people have been part of this process since last fall in helping to set a direction for all grizzly bear management, from education, conflict reduction to hunting. Wyoming is committed to ensuring a recovered population to provide opportunity for anyone who is interested in grizzly bears and this decision is part of our management.”
WGFD highlighted a number of things hunters need to know about the hunt:
- The Department shall generate grizzly bear license issuance lists for hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Separate license issuance lists shall be generated based on the residency of applicants for a grizzly bear license. A computer random number selection shall be utilized to determine name placement on the grizzly bear license issuance lists. When a hunting opportunity exists for hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, licenses shall be issued to individuals on the license issuance lists for a specified ten (10) day hunting period as designated and at the direction of the Department. The Department shall issue at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the available licenses to residents prior to issuing a nonresident license. Licenses shall be issued until mortality limits are reached or until the close of the season.
- The application period for the grizzly bear license issuance lists and limited quota drawing shall be July 2, 2018 through July 16, 2018. Completed applications shall only be submitted through the Department Electronic Licensing Service.
- After the drawings for the grizzly bear license issuance lists are completed, the Department shall contact applicants in the order of their ranking on the lists and advise them of the possible opportunity to hunt grizzly bears. The Department shall continue to contact applicants on the lists until ten (10) applicants accept the possible opportunity to hunt grizzly bears.
- Applicants on the grizzly bear license issuance list who are offered and accept an opportunity to participate in the grizzly bear hunt shall be advised of a specified ten (10) day hunting period during which their license shall be valid. Licenses to hunt grizzly bears in hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 shall be valid for a single ten (10) day hunt period as specified by the Department and shall not be subject to renewal or hunt period extension.
These are just a few of the listed regulations on the WGFD website, so please take the time to read through all of them at your convenience.
Unfortunately, there is still a looming possibility that a judge could pull the plug on this hunt at the last second, as the lawsuits have already began piling up. Hunters should remain optimistic, however, as it seems Wyoming has taken every possible measure to ensure they thoroughly manage the grizzly population in a way that will reduce human/bear confrontations, but not negatively impact the long term health of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population.
To ensure hunters don’t harvest too many bears, the Wyoming Fish and Game Commission 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 10 bears in Hunting Area 7, however it’s believed this area extends past the core population of grizzlies in the state at this time.