Wyoming considers hunt for ‘fringe’ grizzlies
Wyoming officials want to reduce the population of the state’s grizzly bears found on the fringes of their range, outside areas with federal restrictions on hunting.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is considering a 12-animal hunt on the fringes of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
“We would be using hunting to reduce the population,” said Dan Thompson, who serves as GFD’s large carnivore supervisor. “Eradication is not the goal with grizzly bears, but we also have made it clear that there are areas where we’re not promoting grizzly bears because the potential is too high for bad things to happen.”
Grizzlies will still roam free in a 19,000-plus-square-mile “demographic monitoring area” where federal law limits hunting, Thompson said.
Wyoming officials are diverging from their counterparts in Montana and Idaho, who have opted not to hunt the creatures on the greater Yellowstone fringes.
The plan has drawn fire from former federal grizzly scientist David Mattson, who said it would lead to a “slaughter zone” in a blog post on GrizzlyTimes.org.
“So how does Wyoming’s plans to slaughter bears fit into a more generous vision of recovery?” Mattson wrote. “Not very well. The slaughter zone will extinguish any chance of grizzlies colonizing potential suitable habitat in the Uinta Mountains of Utah and the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming.”