During 2019, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department captured 33 individual grizzly bears in 34 capture events in an attempt to prevent or resolve conflicts. One of those bears was captured twice in separate events. That figure was down 42 percent from the 53 individual grizzly bears in 59 capture events for 2018.
Of the 34 capture events, 20 captures were a result of bears killing livestock (primarily cattle), 10 were captures involving bears that obtained food rewards (pet, livestock food, garbage, fruit trees), or were frequenting developed sites or human populated areas unsuitable for grizzly bear occupancy. Three events were non-target captures at livestock depredation sites, and 1 bear was captured and relocated from the Cody landfill. Of the 34 capture events, 18 (53%) were in Park
County, 8 (23%) were in Sublette County, 4 (12%) were in Fremont County, 3 (9%) were in Hot Springs County and 1 (3%) was in Teton County.
Above: Management capture locations for grizzly bears in 2019. G=Marked but not fitted with radio collar. NA= removed from the population without being given an
identification number. PCA= Primary Conservation Area. DMA= Demographic Monitoring Area.
According to the Wyoming Game and Fish, there was a significant decrease in grizzly bear conflict activities and subsequent management actions by the department compared to 2018 due to a strong natural food year coupled with the previous year’s management actions and grizzly bear population dynamics. Also, in 2019, there were no human injuries or fatalities due to grizzly bears.
“While conflicts will always ebb and flow with a biologically recovered population, we were very fortunate that we did not have any human injuries or fatalities due to grizzly bears,” Rick King, chief of the Game and Fish wildlife division said.
Grizzly bears are removed, lethally or through live placement in an approved facility, from the population due to a history of previous conflicts, a known history of close association with humans, or they were deemed unsuitable for release into the wild (e.g. orphaned cubs, poor physical condition, or human safety concern). Of the 33 bears captured, 18 bears were removed from the population, and 1 bear died during capture. Of these 19 human-caused mortalities associated with management captures, 10 were outside of the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA). Those figures were also lower in comparison to 2018 when 32 bears were removed from the population with 17 being outside the DMA.
“We have documented an increasing distribution of grizzly bears throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which leads to a higher conflict potential, especially as bears expand into more agricultural, residential and human-dominated landscapes,” said Brian DeBolt, large carnivore conflict coordinator. “Game and Fish responds with proactive and responsive management strategies; this report summarizes those situations requiring an on-the-ground capture effort to reduce conflict.”
Grizzly bears are relocated in accordance with state and federal laws, regulations and policy. More about how the Game and Fish manages grizzly bears in Wyoming is available online. Game and Fish also continues to educate the public about how to proactively live and recreate in bear country to avoid conflicts as part of our “Bear Wise Wyoming” program.
WY Game and Fish
Northern Ag Network – 2020