If a grizzly bear hunt does happen this fall, only one female bear will be up for grabs. This comes after the Wyoming Game and Fish Department made changes to its proposed regulations for the first grizzly bear hunting season since the animals were taken off the endangered species list.
After a public comment period and discussions inside the department, three main changes have been made. Opponents of the proposal said Wyoming illegally took a female grizzly from Montana’s allocation of bears. But Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik denies this.
“The way that was developed was in conjunction with the other states and in accordance with the memorandum of agreement between the three states and that allocation was reasonable and appropriate and done right,” said Nesvik.
He said the discussion was distracting from the notion that the department was trying to convey: this is the first hunting season for grizzly bears since they have been taken off the endangered species list. Nesvik said Game and Fish changed the female quota to be able to proceed in a conservative manner.
Many people in support of the grizzly hunt feared it could easily be hijacked by activists who would buy licenses but not use them. But now, the proposed regulation establishes ten-day hunt periods. Nesvik said this was mostly changed to be able to provide the hunting opportunity to as many people as possible.
“So we don't have one person who decides they want to take the whole season and use [those] two months. This would prohibit everybody else from being able to hunt,” said Nesvik.
Additionally, hunters high enough on the list will be required to pay the license fee within ten days of notification. The Game and Fish Commission will vote on the proposal May 23.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.