APPLICATION STRATEGY 2018: Idaho and Wyoming Grizzly Bear Hunt
Idaho and Wyoming's 2018 grizzly bear application overview
If you've been following along with the hunting News that has been posted on goHUNT the past six months, then you know that grizzly bears have been a hot topic. We have covered all of the grizzly bear hunt updates for Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Side note: Montana was the third state that was considering a possible hunt but decided against it for 2018.
This is a historic moment for Idaho and Wyoming. With grizzly bear populations recovered, it was time to turn the management back to the states. The conservation strategy for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly population includes hunting as a management tool when the population is more than 600 bears with the current population estimate at 718 as of 2017.
- The application period for the Idaho grizzly bear hunt is June 15-July 15, 2018. This is a resident only hunt. You can apply online here.
- The application deadline for the Wyoming grizzly bear hunt is July 2-July 16, 2018 by midnight MDT. Only online submissions will be accepted. Residents and nonresident are eligible. You can apply online here.
Notes about the Idaho grizzly bear hunt
Limited to residents only
Predicting the number of applicants is impossible, but one thing is sure... draw odds are not going to be in your favor for this historic hunt, even when it's limited to residents only.
A lot of eyes will be on the lucky hunter who pulls the tag.
Notes about the Wyoming grizzly bear hunt
If you want to hunt a grizzly bear in the lower 48 and you're a nonresident, Wyoming is currently your only hope.
Idaho's 2018 grizzly bear breakdown
In May, Idaho Fish and Game announced their decision to offer a grizzly bear hunt for the 2018 season. Idaho is offering up one grizzly bear tag in a controlled hunt through a random drawing that is limited to Idaho residents only. Applications will be accepted from June 15 through July 15. The official Idaho grizzly bear regulations can be found here. Resident hunters who applied for any other controlled hunt in 2018 may still apply for this grizzly bear hunt.
Important dates and information
- The application period is from June 15 through July 15. You can apply online here.
- Draw results should be available in early August.
- Unsuccessful applicants will receive a refund check by mail no later than August 17. If purchases are made with a credit card, you will not receive a refund check, but a credit to your account by September 1. If you do not receive one of these by September 1, please call Fish and Game at 208-334-3700, or write to P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.
- The drawing is limited to Idaho residents ONLY and you need a valid Idaho hunting license.
- Hunters can apply at any Idaho Fish and Game license vendor, at Fish and Game regional offices, online here, or by mail. All mailed applications must be postmarked no later than July 15. The controlled hunt number is 8601.
- Applicants will pay a nonrefundable $16.75 application fee and must prepay the cost of the tag to apply, which is $199.75 for hunters not Price Locked (those who did not hold an Idaho hunting, fishing or trapping license in 2017) and $166.75 for hunters who are Price Locked.
- Resident hunters who applied for 2018 moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat, as well as other big game tags, can apply for the 2018 grizzly bear tag.
- The successful applicant will pick up the tag at the Idaho Falls Regional Office.
- Idaho Fish and Game staff will give the hunter training and information about grizzly bear identification before the hunt.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime hunt
A grizzly bear is a once in a lifetime species and therefore any person who has harvested a grizzly bear in Idaho may not apply for a grizzly bear tag. Note: In 2018, applicants will not be disqualified if they applied for moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat or deer, elk, and antelope. This is due to the controlled hunt timing and will apply for this year only.
The following rules also apply for the fall 2018 grizzly bear hunt:
- Season: Sept. 1 through Nov. 15, 2018
- Bag limit: One grizzly bear, except, no female grizzly bear accompanied by young may be taken, and no young grizzly bear(s) accompanied by adult grizzly bear(s) may be taken.
- Dogs: Use of dogs to attract or pursue grizzly bears is prohibited.
- Bait: Hunting grizzly bears over bait is illegal.
- Weapons restrictions: Idaho’s weapon restrictions still apply to the grizzly bear hunt.
- Electronic calls: It is unlawful to use electronic calls to attract grizzly bears for the purpose of harvest.
Grizzly bears with radio collars
Shooting a radio-collared bear is legal. Biologists use radio collars to monitor grizzly bear activity, assess population status and help determine future hunting opportunities. Hunters are required to return any radio collars when they check in their grizzly bear.
Grizzly bear meat
Hunters are not required to retrieve meat from a harvested grizzly bear in Idaho.
There is a chance this hunt may not occur due to pending litigation in federal court. If the hunt is canceled by court order prior to the drawing, applicants will not be refunded either the hunting license or application fees. The tag fee will be refunded to all applicants. If the proposed hunt is stopped after the drawing results, the successful applicant will have the tag fee refunded, but not the hunting license or application fee.
Hunt area restrictions
No person may hunt or pursue grizzly bears at any time within 200 yards of the perimeter of any designated dump ground or sanitary landfill.
2018 Idaho grizzly bear hunt map
Idaho grizzly bear hunt area, season dates, and limitations
|61-1*||8601||1||Sept. 1-Nov. 15||
Hunt is open to Idaho residents only.
How is the number of bears available for harvest determined?
Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana have agreed to manage the Yellowstone grizzly bear population in the DMA between 600 and 748 bears, which corresponds to the average population from 2002 to 2014. No hunting will occur if the population is below 600 bears in the demographic monitoring area (DMA).
Scientists have determined how much mortality on male and female bears can occur while managing for a sustainable population. Hunting can occur if the measured and predicted annual grizzly mortality is less than the total allowable mortality in any given year. Hunting opportunity is determined by subtracting the known and predicted annual mortality from the total allowable mortality for the population.
Why a single tag?
Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming allocate available hunting opportunity based on the proportion of land each state has within the DMA (excluding Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks where no hunting is allowed). Idaho has 8% of the land in the DMA, and in 2018, 8% of the total allowable mortality available for hunting represents one male bear.
Avoiding female bears
Idaho Fish and Game biologists will work with the person who receives the tag to ensure the hunter understands rules, hunt boundaries and how to distinguish male bears from females. At any given time, roughly half the female bears will be with cubs or juvenile bears, none of which are legal to take under the rules of the hunt. That means about 75% of the unaccompanied adult bears are male, and the identification training provided by the department will help the hunter avoid harvesting a female bear.
Current 2018 Idaho grizzly bear population
Grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has recovered since being listed as endangered in the 1970s. The population has increased from less than 200 in the 1970s to the current 718 bears in the 2017 population estimate in the greater Yellowstone DMA, which encompasses suitable grizzly habitat in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. The DMA includes all of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, but no hunting will occur in either national park. The population in the DMA has been stable over the last decade with annual population estimates in the monitoring area ranging between 694 and 757 grizzlies. Biologists saw consistent population growth (between 4.2% and 7.6% annually) from 1983 to 2002, then slower population growth (0.3% to 2.2%) from 2002 to 2014. Biologists say the slowed growth rate and stable population in the monitoring area suggest the population is at, or near, the carrying capacity of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear population has met federal recovery criteria since the early 2000s. State and federal agencies finalized a long-term conservation strategy in 2007, and the Yellowstone grizzlies were removed from federal protection that year. In 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed legal challenges to delisting, finding that regulatory mechanisms were adequate to support the recovered Yellowstone population. But the court ordered the bears to go back on Endangered Species list until the Fish and Wildlife Service analyzed if a decline in whitebark pine threatened the bear population’s recovery. Grizzly bears were delisted again in July of 2017, and Idaho Fish and Game proposed its grizzly hunting season in March of 2018. The proposal garnered more than 900 comments to Idaho Fish and Game’s website during the public comment period in April and early May. Comments greatly varied, but the majority favored moving forward with a grizzly hunt.
The state of Idaho and its professional wildlife managers played a key part in this population’s recovery, in partnership with other states, and federal, tribal and local governments. In 2017 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took the population off of the Endangered Species Act list, and Idaho will continue to responsibly manage the population in coordination with Wyoming and Montana now that federal protections are lifted.
Boone & Crockett entries for Idaho grizzly bears
There is one Boone & Crockett entry in Idaho for grizzly bears. This was a picked up bear in 1900 and scored 24 2/16".
Managing Idaho draw odds expectations
With only one tag, luck will need to be on your side. But you can't draw unless you apply!
Wyoming's 2018 grizzly bear breakdown
On May 23, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved a grizzly bear hunt for this fall. It will be the first grizzly bear hunt in Wyoming since 1974. Tag fees if successful are $600 for residents and $6,000 for nonresidents. The official Wyoming grizzly bear regulations can be found here.
There are two draws for the grizzly bear hunt in Wyoming; the Issuance List and a Limited Quota Draw. You can apply for the Issuance List or the Limited Quota Draw. Not both. See more information about each draw below.
Current 2018 Wyoming grizzly bear population
The initial recovery plan called for the minimum population of 500 grizzly bears. Since 2000, the population has continued to steadily grow and expand well beyond the Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone. The most recent estimate of the population is a little over 700 grizzly bears, but it’s very likely larger than that.
Important dates and information
- The application period for the Wyoming grizzly bear hunt is July 2 through July 16, 2018. You can apply online here.
- A nonrefundable application fee for the grizzly bear license issuance list is $5 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. Only the application fee is required when applying.
- When applying for the limited quota grizzly bear draw, you need to front the $6,017.
- License fees are $600 for residents and $6,000 for nonresidents.
- Draw results will be made available in late July.
- Party applications are not allowed.
- Licensed grizzly bear hunters must take a mandatory orientation and training course on grizzly bear ecology and management prior to entering the field to hunt grizzly bears. The course will be provided by WFGD.
- Licensed grizzly bear hunters may not take grizzly bears within 1/4 mile of Wyoming State Highways 22, 28, 120, 131, 296, 352, 353 and 390 or U.S. Highways 14, 16, 20, 26, 89, 191, 212 and 287 within hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
- Shooting a radio-collared bear is legal. Any person that takes a grizzly bear wearing an electronic tracking device must surrender the device to the Department.
- There will be no Super Tag for grizzly bear licenses. The successful applicant for a Super Tag Trifecta license will not be permitted to choose a grizzly bear license as one of their three different species for which licenses may be issued.
- An applicant may only apply for the grizzly bear license issuance list for hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, or the limited quota drawing for hunt area 7, but not both.
- Electronic harvest reporting devices will be returned to WFGD at the time a licensee registers their harvested grizzly bear with the Department or at the close of the grizzly bear season, whichever comes first.
Wilderness area restrictions
A registered Wyoming resident or licensed outfitter must accompany nonresident hunters in order to legally hunt in a designated wilderness area. If you are a nonresident that draws a grizzly bear tag and would like to legally hunt in a wilderness area, please contact an outfitter ahead of time. A complete list of outfitters in Wyoming can be found in our Outfitter Directory. Residents need not worry about the wilderness area restriction since they can legally hunt without restriction. Hunting with an outfitter can be the secret to success on this grizzly bear hunt due to significant wilderness areas in the grizzly hunt areas.
Wyoming's grizzly bear draw
Wyoming will issue at least 75% of the available licenses to residents prior to issuing a nonresident license. If the number of resident applicants does not meet or exceed the resident allocation, the remaining resident allocation may be issued to nonresidents. If the number of nonresident applicants does not meet or exceed the nonresident allocation, the remaining nonresident allocation may be issued to residents.
Wyoming's 2018 grizzly bear hunt areas
Wyoming's two grizzly bear draws
1. Grizzly bear license issuance lists
This draw is based on a computerized random drawing list where they will contact people based on the order of their ranking on the list. Wyoming will generate grizzly bear license issuance lists for hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Separate license issuance lists will be generated based on the residency of applicants for a grizzly bear license. So there will be a resident issuance list and a nonresident issuance list. A computer random number selection will be used 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 will be issued to individuals on the license issuance lists for a specified 10 day hunting period as designated and at the direction of the Department. WFGD will issue at least 75% of the available licenses to residents prior to issuing a nonresident license. For this issuance list, the first three tags will be pulled from the resident list and then the fourth tag will come out of the nonresident list, so under this issuance list grizzly bear draw, two nonresidents could potentially get a tag. Licenses will be issued until mortality limits are reached or until the close of the season. In hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 the total number of licensed hunters in the field will not exceed the available collective female mortality limit. (So only one bear hunter is permitted to hunt at a time.) See notes below table for a detailed description of how the hunt process will work.
Wyoming grizzly bear license issuance hunt areas, season dates and limitations
|Hunt Area||Type||Season dates||License||Hunt Area|
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6||1||Sept. 15-Nov. 15||
Grizzly Bear License
Collective female mortality limit – not to exceed one
|1||1||Sept. 15-Nov. 15||Grizzly Bear License|
Any grizzly bear; See section (b) and (d)
|2||1||Sept. 15-Nov. 15||Grizzly Bear License|
Any grizzly bear; See section (b), (d) and (e)
|3||1||Sept. 15-Nov. 15||Grizzly Bear License|
Any grizzly bear; See section (b) and (d)
|4||1||Sept. 15-Nov. 15||Grizzly Bear License|
Any grizzly bear; See section (b) and (d)
|5||1||Sept. 15-Nov. 15||Grizzly Bear License|
Any grizzly bear; See section (b) and (d)
|6||1||Sept. 15-Nov. 15||Grizzly Bear License|
Any grizzly bear; See section (b) and (d)
The license issuance list has several steps to it:
1. After the drawings for the grizzly bear license issuance lists are completed, the Department will contact applicants in the order of their ranking on the lists and advise them of the possible opportunity to hunt grizzly bears. The Department will continue to contact applicants on the lists until 10 applicants accept the possible opportunity to hunt grizzly bears.
2. Applicants contacted by the Department who have accepted the possible opportunity to hunt a grizzly bear are required to submit a cashier’s check or money order for their license fee and to show proof of having earned a certificate of competency and safety in the use and handling of firearms, unless exempt by statute or otherwise authorized, to the License Section at the WFGD Headquarters within 10 consecutive days from the date they are contacted.
3. WFGD will also notify applicants who have accepted the possible opportunity to hunt a grizzly bear about the process to receive their grizzly bear hunting license when a hunting opportunity exists.
4. Applicants on the grizzly bear license issuance list who are offered and accept an opportunity to participate in the grizzly bear hunt will be advised of a specified 10 day hunting period during which their license will be valid. Licenses to hunt grizzly bears in hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are valid for a single 10 day hunt period as specified by WFGD and are not be subject to renewal or hunt period extension.
5. Applicants on the grizzly bear license issuance list will no longer be contacted once the collective female grizzly bear mortality limit or collective male grizzly bear mortality limit is met, whichever comes first.
6. If a licensee harvests a male grizzly bear or fails to harvest a grizzly bear during their specified hunting period in hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, the next individual on the grizzly bear license issuance list may be contacted in accordance with this section.
- If grizzly bear mortality limits have not been met for hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, the grizzly bear license issuance list will remain in effect through the close of the season.
- No applicant on the grizzly bear license issuance list is guaranteed a grizzly bear hunting license or opportunity to hunt a grizzly bear.
7. Applicants will be notified by mail of their placement on the grizzly bear license issuance lists by the Department. Applicants on the grizzly bear license issuance list will be notified by phone (including text message), or email in order of their random number placement when the Department determines a grizzly bear hunting opportunity may exist.
8. Phone calls will be made by the Department during the evening hours between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Mountain Time.
- A minimum of three attempts will be made during two consecutive evenings to contact and notify any individual applicant. Notification attempts via phone or text message will be spaced at a minimum of one-half hour intervals. Department personnel will attempt to leave a message indicating the reason for the contact, but must speak directly to the applicant for verification of acceptance of a hunting opportunity no later than 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time the day after the last attempt to contact the applicant has been made.
- If an applicant cannot be contacted as outlined above, the Department will attempt to contact the next individual on the grizzly bear license issuance list.
- If an applicant is contacted by the Department and declines participation in the grizzly bear hunt, the Department will attempt to contact the next individual on the grizzly bear license issuance list.
- If an applicant cannot be contacted by the Department as outlined above, or if an applicant declines participation in the grizzly bear hunt, or if an applicant fails to submit a cashier’s check or money order for their license fee and to show proof of having earned a certificate of competency and safety in the use and handling of firearms within 10 consecutive days after notification by the Department, they are no longer be eligible to participate in the current year grizzly bear hunting season.
Applicants who paid for their license following notification of their placement on the grizzly bear license issuance list, but were not provided the opportunity to hunt based on the provisions of this section, will be issued a refund of their license fee following the close of the current year grizzly bear hunting season.
Nonresident license issuance will only be permitted in hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 when 25% of the total annual mortality limit equals or exceeds one license.
2. Limited Quota Grizzly Bear Draw
The second draw type for Wyoming grizzly bears is the Limited Quota Draw in Area 7. This is a random drawing. Unlike the license issuance draw, these hunts don't have mortality limits and you can take any grizzly bear.
Wyoming grizzly bear limited quota hunt areas, season dates and limitations
|Hunt Area||Type||Season dates||Quota||License||Limitations|
|7||1||Sept. 15-Nov. 15||
|Limited Quota||Any grizzly bear|
|8**||Sept. 15-Nov. 15||**||Limited Quota||Any grizzly bear, see note below|
Important Wyoming Grizzly Bear Hunt Regulations
- No person can take a grizzly bear by the use of or aid of baiting, including any legally placed black bear bait in hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. Baiting may be permissible in limited circumstances in hunt areas 7 and 8 and will require a Department baiting authorization permit. See bait authorization permit section below.
- No person can take a grizzly bear by the use of or aid of dogs.
- No person can take a grizzly bear with a trap or snare.
- No person can take a grizzly bear through the use or aid of radio telemetry equipment.
- Hunters may take any grizzly bear except dependent young and female grizzly bears with dependent young.
Reporting Grizzly Bear Harvest
Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Licensees harvesting a grizzly bear in hunt areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 need to report the harvest of a grizzly bear within 24 hours of harvest with a Department provided electronic device unless the licensee properly registers their harvest within 24 hours in accordance with this section. The Department provided electronic device will allow the licensee the ability to report their harvest, hunt area, sex of grizzly bear, licensee’s name and telephone number. A grizzly bear harvest will not be considered reported until the licensee receives a Department acknowledgment of their harvest report.
Areas 7 or 8
Licensees harvesting a grizzly bear in hunt area 7 or 8 must report their harvest of a grizzly bear to the Department by calling 1-800-264-1280 within 24 hours of harvest unless the licensee properly registers their harvest within 24 hours in accordance with this section. The licensee must provide the date and time of harvest, hunt area, sex of the grizzly bear, licensee’s name and telephone number.
Registering Grizzly Bear Harvest
Licensees harvesting a grizzly bear must retain the pelt and skull from each grizzly bear harvested for registration purposes. Even if the skull is damaged, it must accompany the pelt. Visible external evidence of the sex of the grizzly bear will remain naturally attached to the pelt. Within five days after harvesting a grizzly bear, the licensee must present the pelt and skull to a district game warden, district wildlife biologist or Department personnel at a Department Regional Office during business hours for registration. The pelt and skull will be presented in an unfrozen condition in order to allow collection of up to two premolar teeth and to allow examination of the pelt to determine the sex and possible lactation status of the grizzly bear. The Department may also collect biological samples at the time of registration.
Hunt Area Status
It is the hunter’s responsibility to confirm the grizzly bear hunt area the person intends to hunt is open. The status of grizzly bear mortality limits and hunt area closures will be available 24 hours a day by calling toll free 1-800-264-1280.
Baiting Authorization Permits
WFGD may issue grizzly bear baiting authorization permits to licensed hunters in hunt areas 7 and 8 if the Department determines it is necessary to meet management objectives, prevent grizzly bear depredation or to prevent grizzly bear/human conflicts. Grizzly bear baiting authorization permits must include the name of the licensee, grizzly bear license number, authorized bait site location(s), time period a bait may be placed, bait removal requirements, type of bait authorized and bait container requirements. The Department may include other provisions on a baiting authorization permit to meet management objectives, prevent depredation or to prevent grizzly bear/human conflicts.
Boone & Crockett entry trends for Wyoming grizzly bear
There are currently five Boone & Crockett entries for grizzly bears in Wyoming. The largest grizzly bear skull measured 25 10/16" and was picked up in 1961.
Managing Wyoming draw odds expectations and hunt success
Luck definitely needs to be on your side. Once you pull a tag, the secret sauce here for success will most likely be hunting with an outfitter. You can see a list of registered Wyoming outfitters here.