2018 Wyoming Grizzly Bear Hunt?

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Posted April 12, 2018 by Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief in General

Wyoming Grizzly Hunt – The Details

“There is a grizzly bear population robust and healthy enough to sustain a conservative and regulated hunting season.” -Wyoming Game and Fish Dept.

Would you pay $50 Million to hunt a grizzly bear? Me neither, but the sportsmen of Wyoming have spent that, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish since they started managing grizzly bears. The sportsmen of Wyoming are all of us, anyone who has bought or applied for a Wyoming hunting tag, or fishing license in the past four decades.

The grizzly bear population in Wyoming hit the predetermined objective of 500 bears in the summer of 2001 based on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s own, excessively conservative estimates. Over the nearly 18 years since, the department and commission have been working tirelessly with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to get all the chess pieces in place to finally delist the bears from the ESA, which did in fact happen nearly eight months ago.

Now it’s up to the Game and Fish Commission to approve the details of which have yet to be completely agreed upon for an upcoming grizzly bear hunting season which could take place as soon as this coming fall. The tentative details of these “draft” regulations are as follows:

  • A max of 24 bears will be harvested in a total of 8 hunt areas.
  • A total of 12 bears (10 males and 2 females) will be taken in 6 areas bordering Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, and another 12 bears will be taken in two areas outside the bordered parks area.
  • The season will run from September 15th to November 15th.
  • The grizzly tags will be issued on a random draw process with no preference points.
  • The cost to apply for a grizzly bear hunt will be $5 (resident) and $15 (nonresident)
  • The cost of a grizzly bear tag will be $600 (resident) and $6,000 (nonresident).
  • Baiting will be allowed outside the 6 park bordering areas, in Area-7.
  • Only 2 hunters at a time will be licensed to hunt grizzly bears in 6 of the 8 areas.
  • Once those 2 hunters are successful, 2 more hunters will be allowed afield.
  • There will be a mandatory bear education program for all grizzly bear hunters.
  • No bear shall be taken within 1/2 mile of a designated highway.

Most of us probably agree that the time has come to hunt the grizzly bear in Wyoming. Sound wildlife management under the North American Management Model, the only conservation model proven to actually work in the modern world by the way, clearly proves over and over again that hunting is by far the best tool to generate much needed funds and value for wildlife, which is critical to the long-term survival of big game including but not limited to the grizzly bear.

Contrary to some radicals, Wyoming’s plan is extremely conservative when compared to the population. The entire hunt quota for bears is just shy of 10% (7% boars and 3% sows) of the known grizzly population in Wyoming. Some experts believe that the grizzly bear count of roughly 718 grizzly bears is drastically low by a factor of as much as two or three. This hunt would not even scratch the surface of a bear population that has been increasing and expanding for decades now.

The distribution of the grizzly bears over the past decade in Wyoming has eclipsed even the known historic range, but also the modern day practical range of the bears as well. When grizzly bear densities hit extremely high levels, which they have now for years, sows are forced to drift to new areas with their cubs in an effort to thwart off attacks on the young by dominant courting boars. This has caused the bear distribution in the Cowboy state to expand even into high human population areas in the low lands, engulfing larger towns and human population bases. The town of Cody now sits inside the known grizzly range, and that is a town of nearly 12,000 people.

Along with the expansion has come some major human bear conflicts not seen in modern history. Schools have had to be high fenced, dumps taken over by bears at night, farmers and ranchers attacked in their own hay fields changing their irrigation water and even a Halloween corn maze that was shut down the day before the holiday as a bear made the maze home before the kids did. These conflicts not only can cause human and livestock mauling’s, but also cost a lot of money. One single rancher in the South Fork of the Shoshone drainage has been compensated over $200,000 alone over the past four years for cattle and crop losses due to wolves and grizzly bears. And that’s just one rancher in one single drainage in one state. Image living in such a beautiful place, a place where you and your family cannot even go outside in your own yard after dark because earlier that day there were 14 different grizzly bears in the oat patch in your field. Yes, it happens and it is causing the residents of this state and those that hunt here a lot of money, headache and available resources that are needed elsewhere.

A 29% increase in range in only six years is a massive increase and anyone who says these bears are still endangered is not using data to guide their common sense and emotion on the subject. It is beyond time to hunt these bears and begin to control their population, distribution and over all long-term outlook. The science of a hunt is the one single tool that trumps all others when it comes to sound wildlife management and health of the herd, species and coexisting components. I tip my hat to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and Department for doing what is right and honest in this tough political situation, but I’m not surprised, that is the Wyoming way after all.

As a Wyoming sportsman let your voice be herd, submit a Grizzly hunt comment at: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD_WebSurvey/CommentOnly.aspx

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About the Author

Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief
Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief

Following in the footsteps of his father, Guy has taken up the reins and is now at the helm of the Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and the Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal. A fine hunter in his own right, Guy has taken several trophy animals and has become an expert in trophy hunting as well.

27 Comments


  1.  
    Jon

    $6000 nonresident??? No bear hunt for this guy🙁




    •  
      Campbell King

      Yep, and you still gotta pay an outfitter ..I’ve done the whole trip to Africa and 6 animals for that !




  2.  
    John

    The non-resident tag is too high compared to the resident tag.




  3.  
    JB

    $6000 is fair only if this is a priority hunt for you. Hunting a Grizzly is on my bucket list and I am glad to pay this rate. Definitely puts the odds in the favor of those who want it enough to pay for it. I will start putting away every penny I can.




  4.  
    Scott

    Maybe everyone missed the 50 million part?? There are and have been a lot of costs associated. As hunters and sportsmen, if we support the hunting of a grizzly, we MUST realize the magnitude of our comments. One of the reasons it has taken this long to get to where we are is because even the hunters/sportsmen are divided and do not act as a united front.
    Myself… I am thankful the management of the grizzly is in the hands of the state. Plain and simple.




  5.  
    CN

    I’d pay that in heart beat for a chance at a once and lifetime lower 48 griz Hunt. Hope it happens.




  6.  
    gs

    agree, too high for a nonresident– might as well save a bit more and go to Alaska! I’ve done that!




  7.  
    Campbell King

    Wyoming’s non res prices are absolutely insane,lol..4 grand for a buffalo that you can get on a private ranch for 1500 and they load it….Need to get some of this money elsewhere and quit raping hunters…Cost a lot to travel there besides the tag..




  8.  
    Richard Kuh

    Saw too many bears in 2017, no elk. Price for out of state way too high for the average middle class hunter. Yes to hunting them though.




    •  
      Ken

      Hi Richard…..what area did you hunt and if you care to share the outfitter name that would be great….

      Thanks, Ken




  9.  
    Bearbait

    Agree with Scott about being united. We all must remember this is a lower 48 grizzly, not the same as any other opportunity. If you want it cheap become a resident, it’s why we live here.




  10.  
    Wayne

    Yeah that’s not bad for a grizzly hunt. i’ll be looking into that




  11.  
    Keith

    What percent of that $50M is from nonresident fees?




  12.  
    Kevin Church

    Thx wgfd for making this happen! It’s beyond high time to get the bears controlled. I think the $6000 NR fee is spot on. And yes, I’m a NR.




  13.  
    Rod

    For $6,000.00 one is better off going to Alaska. There you can also fish for salmon at the same time and enjoy the freshest sea food you have ever had.




  14.  
    Rod

    Also it sounds like you could buy a license and conceivably never be allowed to hunt if those ahead of you don’t fill.




  15.  
    Keith

    $6000 is so egregious I’m tempted to comment against the hunt. Complete bull. Nonresident fees account for a lot of the sportsman’s revenue.




  16.  
    Andy

    There is a possibility of 24 tags maybe 4 would go to nonresidents. It’s a steep price but people will be lined up for the chance. This is an opportunity that most if not all of us have never seen. It’s not Alaska that’s the point it’s a lower 48 grizzly. I’m just thrilled at the possibility of a hunt even being a possibility and that management will be controlled at the state level. We definitely need to have a united front or we may never see a lower 48 grizzly hunt.




  17.  
    Gary Evenson

    Don’t apply if it’s too much for you. I’d save for that one. $6,000.00 for a Griz is a good deal.




    •  
      Jon

      Really shouldn’t even reply as I don’t want to ruffle feathers, god knows I love Wyo and her residents but jeez, heading west for this Iowa cowboy with dreams and aspirations of tagging big game are becoming just that, dreams. Tags continue to go up across the board, not just Wyoming.




    •  
      Jon

      Your response is a little out of line, no ones is trashing your state and plentiful game, however remember our out of state hunters bring the real revenue. Not only tags but to outfitters, hotels food chains etc. great move tho, good job wyo game and fish




    •  
      Scott

      The $6,000 is the tip of the iceberg. Most of these hunts will probably fall into a designated wilderness area so a NR will have to get a guide. “Designated wilderness” is another sore spot as a NR. So as long as the outfitters close ranks they can drive the price of a guided hunt up. So I would be surprised if you could fine a guide for under $6,000. So the reality of it is as a NR you’re looking at $12,000 minimum plus travel.




  18.  
    westriver

    I don’t think that any tags should go to nonresidents except may be thru the Super Tag drawing. South Dakota is residents only for Elk ,Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goat ,Nebraska is residents only for there sheep and elk North Dakota is residents only for there elk. So why should the state of Wyoming sell any of these licenses which are so limited in number that most people sending in there entire life will never draw ,to nonresidents. We are the ones who have to deal with these animals on a daily basis. A friend of mine in the construction business once told me they worried about theft at the construction site I told him we have Grizzly tracks all over our construction sight not worried about theft just worried about getting eaten.




    •  
      Jacob Kirk

      I agree. I am sure 24 residents want the tags. Suffering from a big game hun standpoint
      Is correct also. Wolves and bears have taken alot of the game the sportsman helped
      Propagate for 60 years before wolves.




      •  
        Buddy

        I’m sure residents want all the tags! WGFD and the Wyoming economy wants the non-resident dollars as you can see the cost of tag differences. It’s a shame that residents don’t pay the same cost and only then you might understand how non-residents feel about being priced out of Wyoming hunting opportunities. Then your fellow residents can pay all the bills!




        •  
          Jon

          Spot on Buddy




          •  
            westriver

            If it was all about the money the Super Tag would be the way to go advertise with the groups opposing the hunt they would buy a ton of chances to save a bear then the state could cut down on some nonresident deer and elk tags because of the income from the bear. It seems like a win win for the resident hunters.

            P.S. if you want to hunt Wyoming on resident fees then move to Wyoming live here all winter in the 50 plus mph winds and the roads closed all the time





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