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SUBLETTE COUNTY – After gauging the public’s response to its proposed grizzly-bear hunting season, Wyoming Game and Fish opted to cut the number of females that could be taken from two to one, and the total quota from 12 to 11.
Another change is the new 10-day limit for a hunter with a license – which previously was unlimited for the season – in the six hunt areas proposed for Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s delisted grizzlies.
The six hunt areas are located in the GYE grizzly demographic monitoring area.
Game and Fish announced these changes on Friday, along with more detailed language about getting and paying for an actual license in its proposed Chapter 68, Grizzly Bear Hunting Seasons.
“This a further effort to ensure our first grizzly bear hunt in over 40 years is conservative,” said Brian Nesvik, Game and Fish chief game warden. “Additionally, the changed proposal reflects our work to address any concerns about the hunting allocation process between the states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.”
This brings the draft quota down from 12 to 11 total bears including 10 males, although hunting stops immediately after one female is taken. With a sub-quota of only one female, only one hunter will be allowed in the field at a time.
The 10-day limit came about after hearing a lot of public comments, Nesvik said in a phone interview.
“We decided somebody could take the whole two months to hunt, take up the whole season and no one else would get a chance to get a license,” he said. “We heard a lot of comments of making it 10 to 15 days.”
Friday’s updated proposal also clarifies the process to get a license if a hunter is placed on the grizzly bear license issuance list for hunt areas 1 through 6.
“After the drawings for the grizzy bear license issuance lists are completed, the Department shall contact applicants in the order of their ranking on the lists and advise them of the possible opportunity to hunt grizzly bears,” the new proposal reads. “The Department shall continue to contact applicants on the lists until 10 applicants accept the possible opportunity to hunt grizzly bears.”
These hunters would then have to pay the nonrefundable license fee of $5 for residents and $15 for nonresidents and show proof of a hunter education certificate within 10 days of being notified that they might come off the waiting list.
Under the Tri-State Memorandum of Understanding with Montana and Idaho, the wildlife agencies meet to determine individual mortality quotas for their share of delisted GYE grizzly bear population.
Earlier this year, Wyoming weighed in at a fraction less than two females but “rounded up” to two. Montana declined to initiate a hunt this year for a fractional female or any males.
Andrea Santarsiere, senior attorney for Center for Biological Diversity, had questioned Game and Fish officials and responded Friday.
“We’re happy that Wyoming reduced its female grizzly hunt quota to one after admitting that Montana did not actually grant Wyoming any of its allocation,” said Santarsiere. “Even with this reduction, however, Wyoming’s hunt is harmful to the recovery of grizzly bears in Wyoming and beyond.”
The public comment period closed on April 30.
Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meets May 23 at 10 a.m. at The Inn in Lander conference room, where the public can attend and comment. It will vote on the proposed grizzly hunting regulations.
The original Chapter 68 proposal with changes marked in yellow is at https:// wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/ May_CH-68_Draft-5-8-18-10.pdf.
Map shows the proposed hunting areas. For related coverage see page 18.