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Grizzly Bear Management Meetings Begin Today

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will be holding community meetings statewide starting Nov 8 – Dec 4 for a public discussion for those who are interested to weigh in on all components of grizzly bear management, including trapping. Trapping for grizzlies is currently not permitted and we would like to see that restriction remain in place. In May of last year the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved a new version of its grizzly bear management plan. Now that the species has been delisted, management in Wyoming will be guided by this plan. These meetings will be an opportunity for those who are interested to weigh in and and ask questions on all components of grizzly bear management.

Please consider attending one of the meetings to speak out against trophy hunting and trapping, and to encourage the WGFD to use non-lethal methods to reduce conflicts with wildlife.

Casper: Nov. 8 at 6 p.m., Game and Fish Casper Regional Office
Laramie: Nov. 8 at 7 p.m., Game and Fish Laramie Regional Office
Sheridan: Nov. 9 at 6 p.m., Game and Fish Sheridan Regional Office
Jackson: Nov. 15 at 6 p.m., Virginian Lodge
Pinedale: Nov. 16 at 6 p.m., Game and Fish Pinedale Regional Office
Green River: Nov. 29 at 6 p.m., Game and Fish Green River Regional Office
Cody: Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m., Holiday Inn
Lander: Dec. 4 at 6 p.m., The Inn at Lander

Talking Points and Questions

TALKING POINTS TO HELP INFORM YOUR COMMENTS

  • The grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has declined in the past two years (from an estimated 757 bears in 2014 to 695 bears in 2016); now is not the time to add more ways to kill grizzly bears.
  • The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD, Dept.) should be putting its resources toward promoting coexistence and reducing conflicts between people and bears, not opening up a trophy hunt.
  • The fact that WGFD is considering permitting trophy hunting so soon after delisting increases the public’s distrust in state management of wildlife.
  • I oppose trophy hunting because it is cruel and unnecessary.
  • Native Americans consider the grizzly bear to be sacred and are deeply opposed to a trophy hunt. Their cultural beliefs must be taken into account.
  • The chance to see a grizzly bear brings millions of dollars to towns in Wyoming and trophy hunting may hurt those economic benefits. Grizzly bears are worth much more alive than dead.
  • Although there is no good time to hold a grizzly bear hunting season, spring hunts are especially cruel because they kill bears when they are just emerging from their dens and are most vulnerable. And, in the spring managers have no idea how many mortalities will occur throughout the year and thus may designate too high of a number of bears that could be hunted.
  • Bears that spend most of their time in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks could be shot the second they step over park boundaries. This means a bear that visitors watched one day could be shot the next. This could create a national and international outcry.
  • Predator populations like grizzly bears are self-controlling and hunting is not needed as a management tool to control the population
  • Research has shown that permitting trophy hunting does not increase social tolerance, and may in fact have the opposite effect.

 QUESTIONS

Trophy Hunting – General (Note: If you are opposed to trophy hunting of grizzly bears, consider expressing that prior to asking a hunting-related question, so WGFD knows you/people do not accept it as a foregone conclusion)

  • Will WGFD consider prohibiting trophy hunting of grizzly bears in Wyoming if public opinion is generally opposed?
  • What are WGFD’s rationales for considering permitting grizzly bear hunting?
  • Why is WGFD insistent on considering trophy hunting so soon after delisting?
  • Why won’t the Dept. consider deferring any grizzly bear hunting in the state at least until the five-year post-delisting monitoring phase has run in an effort to demonstrate to the public its good faith in ensuring the continued conservation and recovery of the species?
  • What is the rush to open a hunting season on a species that the state itself has spent tens of millions of dollars over four decades working to restore to Wyoming’s wild landscape, and used as a way to draw tourist dollars?
  • Many Native Americans and others believe the grizzly bear to be sacred. How is the considering those beliefs in its management of the grizzly bear?

Trophy Hunting – Process

  • Is the Dept. planning to hold a spring or fall hunting season for grizzly bears in 2018? If so, when?
  • Will the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission consider setting a quota of zero if the majority of the public is opposed to a hunt?
  • What weapons will be permitted to hunt grizzlies if a hunt is permitted?
  • If hunts are permitted, will guided hunts be permitted? Will guides be required?
  • How will the Dept. ensure hunters do not kill female bears? Will a hunter who kills a female bear be punished? What will the Dept. do with orphaned cubs in the event a mother bear with cubs is accidentally killed?
  • If hunting is allowed, will the money from hunting licenses be put towards the Dept.’s general revenues or will payments go back to grizzly bear management specifically?
  • If hunting is allowed, will the annual meeting to set mortality limits be open to the public?
  • Are there any areas that will be closed to hunting (aside from National Parks)?
    (known army cutworm moth sites, National Park buffer areas, etc.) Why not?
  • What will the Dept.’s process be for taking back sold grizzly bear hunting tags/permits in the event that the current litigation challenging the final delisting rule proves successful and bears are returned to federal management?

Tracking of Grizzly Bear Mortalities

  • Why are so many human-caused grizzly bear deaths in Wyoming under investigation right now? What does this mean for state management of grizzly bears?
  • Will the Dept. keep an accurate count of all grizzly bears killed, whether the kills occur inside or outside of the Demographic Monitoring Area/Primary Conservation Area? (DMA/PCA) How, specifically?
  • Will the Dept. track the number of management removals of bears, natural deaths, and bears killed by other causes in addition to hunting both inside and outside of the DMA/PCA to ensure the total number of grizzly bears killed is accurately documented? How?

Connectivity

  • Why won’t the Dept. consider closing key connectivity corridors to hunting to demonstrate its good faith to the public?
  • Won’t the first bears to be killed by hunters be the dispersing bears that are most crucial to connectivity and the reestablishment of the species in historic habitats elsewhere (i.e., the Bitterroots)?

Conflict Reduction/Coexistence

  • Why isn’t the Dept. doing more to reduce conflicts between grizzly bears (and black bears and wolves) in the Upper Green River basin where thousands of cattle graze on public lands?
  • Why doesn’t the Dept. require hunters – at a minimum outfitters/guides and their clients – to carry bear spray and have it immediately accessible?
  • Why doesn’t the Dept. focus on conflict reduction and coexistence instead of a trophy hunt?
  • Is the Dept.’s overall intention to keep grizzly bears boxed into a predetermined area where they will be allowed to live (like a zoo), or does the Dept. intend to eventually allow the species to recover across its historic homeland and roam naturally, as bears do?

Photo: Joel Caldwell

Thanks to WildEarth Guardians, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity for putting together the talking points and questions.

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