Wyoming’s Grizzly Hunt Could Target Up To 39 Bears
Managing the grizzly population in Western states like Wyoming has always been controversial.
Everybody wants bears to be healthy and populate the area.
At the same time, the area can only handle so many bears at once.
Keeping the population manageable is where the controversy comes in.
To keep the population at a set number we first must remove their Endangered Species Act protections.
That allows the number of grizzly hunt tags to rise, sharply.
Next is the handoff of jurisdiction from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
The estimated numbers for hunting would be around 10 females and 29 males in Wyoming, according to Dan Thompson, who leads the large carnivore section of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. (Wyofile).
“That’s an example, based on previous estimates,” Thompson said. “Basically what we’re looking at is an increase in what’s available for harvest and what’s available as far as management flexibility with a more accurate estimate of the population.” (Wyofile).
But the actual population of the grizzly bear is an estimate, based on observations. That, in part, is where the controversy comes in.
In 2018 the grizzly population was estimated at 714.
Today the estimate is about 1,069.
Those bears were counted inside the monitoring area.
Bears seen or killed outside of the monitoring area are not counted.
Historically, sows and cubs counted aerially within 19 miles of each other were only counted once to avoid double-counting bears. An analysis found this buffer too broad. Since 2021, only sows with cubs detected within 10 miles of each other are excluded to avoid duplication. (Wyofile).
Thirty-nine grizzlies — 29 males and 10 females — is not the upper limit of what Wyoming could hunt.
So what would a Wyoming hunt look like, and how many could or would be killed?
That is what is being discussed at this time.
For a deeper dive read the full article by Wyofile.