The Wyoming Game and Fish Department held a Facebook Live chat Tuesday to recap how public input will be used for grizzly bear management in the state.
During the Facebook live event Dan Thompson, the Large Carnivore Section Supervisor, covered the five major themes of public meetings throughout Wyoming in November. These included population monitoring, research, conflict management, education, and hunting.
Thompson said overall the public expressed the need for a more accurate grizzly bear population estimate, which is currently very conservative.
“We realize that, so moving forward we are looking for ways to make that more accurate because more accurate of any wildlife population leads to better management conservation of the species,” said Thompson. “So that’s something that we’re working on now.”
The most controversial topic, a potential grizzly bear hunting season, was addressed last. Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik said Wyoming is moving ahead with plans for a hunting season because it has public support, specifically as a tool to kill conflict bears. Montana is not going forward with hunting, because he said that state is in a different position than Wyoming.
“They have a different set of circumstances there,” Nesvik said. “They have a smaller portion of the population and they're distributed differently in Montana. And they have another expanding and potential recovered population in the Northern continental divide ecosystem.”
Idaho still has not made a decision. Nesvik emphasized there will be much more time for public input and comment on grizzly bear hunting before the final vote on May 23.