FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Too Many Dead Grizzlies

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has proposed hunting 24 grizzly bears this fall. That’s 24 too many dead bears for this Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Despite strong opposition nationally and in Wyoming, the department charged forward with what it has been yearning to do since this iconic species was removed from the federal Endangered Species List last year.

The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce opposes grizzly trophy hunting. Certainly it is culturally unacceptable, to say the least, in Teton County, where our tourism economy relies heavily on wildlife watching. Millions of tourists visit our community and this region to see wildlife, annually generating $1 billion.

Nevertheless, once again, game and fish is bowing to its constituency: hunters and ranchers. Approximately 80 percent of the department’s budget comes from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses; so department managers think they need to provide “opportunities” to hunt species like the grizzly.

Game and fish also wants to reduce predator populations to theoretically reduce conflicts. That’s an iffy proposition and a management approach that has no basis in science. Yet, to appease ranchers and reduce compensation payments the department to them for livestock losses to predators, it will sanction a grizzly hunt.

The notion that this population needs to be “managed” through hunting is false. This grizzly population has been stable, at approximately 700 bears, for more than 10 years. Yet, game and fish personnel would have us believe it’s growing because bears are being seen in places they have not for many years.

Why are grizzlies being seen in new places? They are spreading out in search of food sources they’ve lost in their core habitat in and around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Cutthroat trout has all but disappeared from Yellowstone Lake and whitebark pine seeds are practically extinct as well. These are two critical protein sources grizzlies must replace with other sources like elk.

The whitebark pine has suffered as a result of pine beetle infestation. These beetles are thriving in warming climates previously too cold for it. This phenomenon is but one of many threats grizzlies will face as our climate changes and other food sources are compromised.

This is a good reason for not hunting this fragile population and a reason why they should remain protected. We urge Wyoming to take the kind of cautious approach Montana has taken and postpone any hunt until we have better scientific information on the fate of this bear.

Game and fish is proposing what might appear to be a measured, cautious approach to their fall hunt. Only two female grizzlies in the Demoographic Monitoring Area, or core habitat, can be killed before the hunt is shut down. These could be pregnant grizzlies that had mated the previous spring. They likely would have had older cubs at their side in spring before leaving them on their own. It would seem that a spring hunt, where females have cubs visibly at their side would be a more cautious time for a hunt, since killing sows with cubs is not permitted.

The department also has proposed a no-hunt buffer zone on the east side of the parks. The boundaries of this zone are not entirely clear, but it does not appear to cover areas where famous park bears like 399 and daughter 610 seek out gut piles from hunter-killed elk in the fall.

Hunting grizzlies in the fall is a bad idea precisely because of the available gut piles that could be like bait near which hunters can wait for grizzlies to appear. The department should rethink this.

Grizzlies were placed on the Endangered Species List in 1975, when the population had plummeted to approximately 136 bears. Now, 43 years later, the population has slowly grown to approximately 700. Grizzlies are the slowest reproducing mammals in North America. This is another reason why the aggressive hunt proposed by game and fish should not occur.

Hunting in Wyoming and the West has a long tradition and is part of our culture. But hunting a species not for food but to put a head on a wall or rug on a floor is unacceptable.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will make a decision on this hunt proposal May 23 in Lander. It will accept comments on this proposed hunt until April 30. Please tell them you oppose grizzly trophy hunting.

You can submit your comments online here.

Or by snail mail here:

Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Hunting Season/Regulation Comments
3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY 82604

 

More articles by:
September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail