Wyoming’s grizzly bear hunt may actually happen. Last week, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) finalized its draft regulations for the controversial hunt. Now, it’s up to the state’s wildlife commission to approve the draft and open the door to one of the first grizzly bear hunting seasons since 1975 when the bears first received federal protections.
As goHUNT previously reported, the animals lost federal protections within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 2017. While Montana recently announced that it was not planning on holding any sort of grizzly bear hunt this year, Wyoming has been considering it and has held several public comment sessions to hear from area residents on the controversial subject.
According to the Casper Star Tribune, the proposed regulations state that a maximum of 24 bears could be killed during the hunting season with only 12 (two female; ten male) of them “allowed to be killed in what is called the demographic monitoring area” – a portion of the state that borders Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. This area is considered prime grizzly bear habitat. The other 12 bears (of any sex) can be killed in areas deemed unsuitable grizzly habitat as well as “areas where they consistently cause conflict.”
The proposed season would run Sept. 1 (outside of the demographic monitoring area) through Nov. 15 and Sept. 15 (inside the monitoring area) through Nov. 15.
“It provides for a very conservative hunting season using the quota that is pretty much prescribed by and calculated by a formula in the conservation strategy and tri-state memorandum,” WDFG Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik told the Casper Star Tribune. “It spits out a number and says we can’t take out any more than this number of females and this number of males.”
Nonresidents will have to pay $6,000 for a license while residents will pay $600; six of the 24 licenses will be reserved for nonresidents, the Casper Star Tribune reports. Other specifics of the proposed regulations include:
The Game and Fish Commission will vote on the proposal during its May 23 meeting.
The completion of a required grizzly bear education course.
Hunters will be issued a satellite communication device so they can report their kill immediately from the field.
If a hunter succeeds at harvesting a grizzly bear, he or she is required to bring the bear into a WGFD office within five days “to verify gender and collect other biological samples,” the Casper Star Tribune reports.