The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission unanimously voted to approve hunting regulations for Grizzly Bears on Wednesday. It would allow up to ten bears to be killed within a core management area near Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and 12 more in other areas of the state.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the hunt despite concerns expressed by opponents. Many noted the slow reproductive rate of grizzlies. Chris Colligan of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition fears that the population could be impacted dramatically.
“The margin for error by killing one too many female bears potentially causes the population to decline.”
Jackson wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen, who’s taken numerous photos of grizzilies is critical of the rationale.
“All they do is talk about numbers and harvest levels as if they were some kind of crop. I grew up in Nebraska, we talk about harvesting corn and wheat and oats and they talk about harvesting grizzly bears as if they’re some commodity and it’s just about numbers. And it’s very upsetting to me.”
Game and Fish Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik said he’s sensitive to those concerns, but he said there are over 700 bears and they have expanded beyond traditional areas causing conflicts.
“The science supports moving forward with managing this particular species like we do other large carnivore species.”
He said that proper management of the grizzly includes hunting.
The Department would like to start the hunting season in September, but they are expecting court challenges.