The Wyoming Game and Fish Department commission voted against requiring hunters to carry bear spray in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).
Seven environmental groups including the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club petitioned wildlife officials for just that pointing to a number of grizzly deaths due to self-defense by hunters. It also cited scientific studies arguing bear spray is the most effective deterrent of bears.
Last week, the commission voted not to add more regulations for hunters to follow. Rick King, the chief game warden of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said the commission was unified in their decision.
"They essentially decided not to support adding more regulations on top of our hunters," said King. "They did mention, as does the department, we think the bear spray is a good idea."
He said bear spray is effective but, ultimately, it's the hunter's choice.
"The department for a long time has encouraged hunters to carry bear spray but we want folks to carry what they're the most comfortable with," King said.
During the comment period of the meeting, commissioners said adding more regulations could chip away at public support of grizzlies in the state.