North Cascades Grizzly Letter

Dear Editor,

Bushwhacking through a trail-less valley in the heart of North Cascades, I came across some enormous tracks and a huge pile of scat that, having not seen their maker, I attributed to either Bigfoot or a grizzly bear. But that was over 35 years ago and I haven’t seen hide nor hair, nor heard of many sightings of either of them since then.

I hate to tell Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, but a “conservation ethic” is something we should have before a species is hunted and trapped practically to extinction and is in need of augmentation—as is the case with Washington’s grizzly bears. Now that would be a real success story. And the few hundred specimens in the Greater Yellowstone area do not add up to a recovered species for the lower 48.

Yet, no sooner did our current Administration remove the imperiled bears from the Threatened Species List did the state of Wyoming set a plan to hunt 24 grizzlies this fall season. Meanwhile, Idaho, with an even lower population of grizzly bears, felt they could sacrifice one to five of them to trophy hunting, if only to get their goose-stepping foot in the door on the issue.

It’s worth noting that B.C. recently banned trophy hunting of grizzlies, and Montana has not yet made plans for a sport hunt on that species. The question for Washington is, which neighbors will we emulate now that the bears have lost their ESA protections?

And what’s next for the Northwest, a trophy hunt on Sasquatch? Believe me, you don’t want that smelly hominid hide hanging on your wall—not if you ever want to have house-guests.

Jim Robertson

 

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Will Grizzlies Return To Central Idaho?

 http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/letters-from-the-west/article204776529.html

March 12, 2018 03:53 PM

Updated March 19, 2018 03:09 PM

Hunting regulations are forcing animals to change in all sorts of ways

We put a lot of pressure on species to adapt.

mama bear with cub

A mama bear with her cub.

Ilpo Kojola

Humans are perhaps the greatest source of evolutionary pressure. Not greatest as in best—we just apply a lot of force.

In just a few thousand years we drastically changed the temperament of dogs by domesticating them, and in a couple hundred managed to diversify them into separate breeds. We’ve done the same to virtually every livestock animal. Yes, we are truly excellent at forcing other species to suit our needs and whims.

But perhaps our greatest work—and again, that’s not meant as a compliment—is how we’ve changed wild animals through hunting. The simple fact is that any time you hunt an animal, especially if you only want a specific subset of the population on your dinner table, you’re applying a selective pressure.

bear family

A happy bear family, protected by law.

Ilpo Kojola

These mothers have fewer offspring on average, because they don’t get pregnant again until their cubs leave. But that cost seems to be outweighed by the survival advantage both cubs and mama bears get by sticking together. Simply having more babies—which would have shortened the reproductive cycle—probably wasn’t as protective, since there’s still a vulnerable period between when cubs wean and when the mama bear can become pregnant again. Having your babies stick with you reduces vulnerable periods, since you get an extra full year of protection.

That’s not to say that all hunting regulations have positive impacts, though. Many have had negative outcomes.

Elephants

Hunting elephants for their tusks—or, more accurately, poaching them—has imposed a powerful selection force against impressive teeth. Once a way to dominate your social group and defend yourself against predators, tusks have become a liability. An animal with less desirable tusks is more likely to avoid poachers and have lots of offspring. As a result, increasing numbers of elephants grow short, stumpy tusks or (in very rare cases) have none at all.

Deer & sheep antlers/horns

Pretty much any animal that has impressive antlers or horns—or any impressive physical feature that we can hang on our walls—is subject to artificial selection. Hunting regulations sometimes prohibit shooting young males who have fewer points on their antlers or underdeveloped horns, so hunters tend to kill the older specimens. But this just selects for deer (or sheep or what-have-you) with smaller headgear. Over time, many deer, antelope, and sheep populations have shifted to have males with less impressive accoutrement.

Elk

Even when we’re not selecting for headgear, we usually select for sex. Human hunters tend to target male animals at much higher rates, which often skews the gender balance of wild populations. This isn’t always a bad thing, especially because many animals are polygynous—one male takes many female mates. But drastic shifts can change the calving season, which in turn can lower offspring body weight and survival rate. If you’re a moose or an elk born too late, you don’t have enough time to eat and grow before the next winter sets in.

Trout & salmon

Speaking of body size, let’s talk about fishing. Even moderate fishing applies selection force. Fishermen and -women generally want to catch the biggest specimens, whether it’s for the profit or just the food, which means we’re systematically killing off the largest fish in any given population. This means that popular fish like trout and salmon are decreasing in size overall, since being smaller gives fish a survival advantage. They’re going to keep shrinking until we stop selecting for the biggest swimmers.

Foxes

One slightly more unusual case: the silver fox. They’re a variant of regular foxes, who mostly have red fur. In the 1800s, as many as 20 percent of foxes in eastern Canada had this silvery sheen. Trappers soon realized they could get three times the price for a silver pelt as they could for the standard red, so they actively sought out the mutants. Even though they only trapped slightly more silver foxes proportionally, by 1930 they had dropped the silver fox population to just 5 percent overall. Now we’re mostly stuck with silver foxes of the human variety.

Human hunting influences adaptation in bear cub parenting

https://phys.org/news/2018-03-human-cub-parenting.htm l

March 27, 2018, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
brown bear
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The Anthropocene is characterized by human impacts extending to all corners of the globe. New research shows that it effects the relationship between mothers and cubs of the Scandinavian brown bear. Human hunting has changed the characteristics of mother bears’ behavior to their cubs.

“Generally, the cubs have followed their mother for a year and a half,” says Professor Jon Swenson from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). “Only rarely have we observed them to follow her for two and a half years.”

This has now changed. Today, more cubs stay with their  an additional year, as opposed to 15 to 20 years ago. “Man is now an evolutionary force in the lives of the ,” Swenson says.

The Scandinavian brown bear is one of the world’s most monitored animal populations. Norwegian and Swedish researchers have followed them closely since 1984. “The Scandinavian brown bear project is one of the world’s two longest research projects on bears,” Swenson says, who has been attached to the project almost since its very beginning.

“We have followed over 500 bears, many from birth to death.”

The number of bears shot in Sweden has increased steadily during this period. From 2010 to 2014, Swedish hunters shot about 300 bears each year.

In the vast majority of countries that allow bear hunting, there is a ban on hunting family groups.”A single female in Sweden is four times more likely to be shot as one with a cub,” Swenson says.

As long as a female has cubs, she is safe. This hunting pressure has resulted in a change in the proportion of females that keep their cubs for 1.5 years in relation to those that keep them for 2.5 years. In the period from 2005 to 2015, the number of females keeping their cubs for an additional year has increased from 7% to 36%. The individuals themselves do not alter their strategies. They portray either one behavior or the other, and this trait seems fixed.

“This basically means that we are shooting more of those females that only keep their cubs for a year.”

One compensates for the other

The new female strategy involves both advantages and disadvantages. Females who keep the cubs longer live safer lives, but on the other hand, they reproduce less often. This reduces their total number of offspring throughout their lives.

“In an evolutionary perspective, this would not be beneficial,” Swenson comments. “The animals with the most offspring [are the most successful].”

However, the researchers’ results show that the increased lifespan of the females largely counteracts the reduced birth rate. “This is especially true in areas of high  pressure. There the  that keep their cubs the extra year have the greatest advantage.”

 Explore further: Mama bears use human shields to protect cubs: study

More information: Joanie Van de Walle et al, Hunting regulation favors slow life histories in a large carnivore, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03506-3

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-03-human-cub-parenting.html#jCp

VICTORY UPDATE: Shoot Down the Connecticut Bear Trophy Hunt Bill


http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/alerts-20180307.html

March 15, 2018 – 

Connecticut’s black bears are safe thanks to Friends of Animals and our supporters. On Wednesday, a bear trophy hunt bill was shot down by the Environment Committee of the General Assembly 21 to 8.

“FoA is relieved that common sense and truth prevailed among those legislators on the Environment Committee…” said FoA President Priscilla Feral. Thank you to everyone who helped keep CT’s bears safe!

ORIGINAL ALERT:

March 7, 2018

ACTION!

Find and contact your Connecticut state senators and representatives at (860) 240- 0100 or use this ONLINE DIRECTORY to make direct contact and tell them to OPPOSE the CT Bear Trophy Hunt Bill.

AND

Contact the state Environment Committee’s Co-Chair Craig Miner at 860 240-8860 and co-chairs Senator Ted Kennedy and Rep. Mike Demicco and tell them Connecticut won’t tolerate a blood-soaked, shoot-first approach to bear management, especially at a time when gun violence in this country is an epidemic.

This bill would allow black bear hunting in Connecticut for the first time since the 1800s. But what legislators who support the bill, including a committee co-chair with ties to the gun lobby, don’t want you to know is that you should fear hunters, not black bears.

Hunters in CT killed 10 people and injured 114 in hunting accidents between 1982-2016

Number of people killed by bears? Zero.

Supporters of the bill are also trying to manipulate the public and stir up fear in the state. But here’s the real bear facts:

  • Black bears are not overpopulated. Every sighting of a bear doesn’t mean it’s a different bear. There’s just a paltry 200 bears in the Northwest corner, according to a UCONN study and the state has a capacity for about 2,000 bears, according to DEEP’s own reports.
  • Scientific studies show there is actually a weak correlation between the population of bears and bear attacks. Bear-human conflict is more closely correlated with human behavior. Black bears are shy, according to state bear biologists and are habituated into problematic behavior by humans. What DEEP (Department of Energy & ENvironmental Protection) should be telling you is that in March you should bring in your bird feeders, use bear-resistant cans, avoid feeding the bears, clean your outdoor grills, carry bear spray and use bear bells when hiking.
  • No matter how much supporters of the bill and the dwindling hunting markets fear, shooting bears will not teach the ones who aren’t slaughtered not to be opportunistic feeders.
  • DEEP already has a bear management program and last year it only reported 5 nuisance bears.

Don’t let Connecticut’s bears get caught in the cross-fire of NRA interests who are exaggerating numbers to manipulate the public with fear so hunters, who represent just 1 percent of the state’s population, can slaughter bears to use as rugs and mount them.

Shoot Down the Connecticut Bear Trophy Hunt Bill


http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/alerts-20180307.html

March 15, 2018 – VICTORY UPDATE:

Connecticut’s black bears are safe thanks to Friends of Animals and our supporters. On Wednesday, a bear trophy hunt bill was shot down by the Environment Committee of the General Assembly 21 to 8.

“FoA is relieved that common sense and truth prevailed among those legislators on the Environment Committee…” said FoA President Priscilla Feral. Thank you to everyone who helped keep CT’s bears safe!

ORIGINAL ALERT:

March 7, 2018

ACTION!

Find and contact your Connecticut state senators and representatives at (860) 240- 0100 or use this ONLINE DIRECTORY to make direct contact and tell them to OPPOSE the CT Bear Trophy Hunt Bill.

AND

Contact the state Environment Committee’s Co-Chair Craig Miner at 860 240-8860 and co-chairs Senator Ted Kennedy and Rep. Mike Demicco and tell them Connecticut won’t tolerate a blood-soaked, shoot-first approach to bear management, especially at a time when gun violence in this country is an epidemic.

This bill would allow black bear hunting in Connecticut for the first time since the 1800s. But what legislators who support the bill, including a committee co-chair with ties to the gun lobby, don’t want you to know is that you should fear hunters, not black bears.

Hunters in CT killed 10 people and injured 114 in hunting accidents between 1982-2016

Number of people killed by bears? Zero.

Supporters of the bill are also trying to manipulate the public and stir up fear in the state. But here’s the real bear facts:

  • Black bears are not overpopulated. Every sighting of a bear doesn’t mean it’s a different bear. There’s just a paltry 200 bears in the Northwest corner, according to a UCONN study and the state has a capacity for about 2,000 bears, according to DEEP’s own reports.
  • Scientific studies show there is actually a weak correlation between the population of bears and bear attacks. Bear-human conflict is more closely correlated with human behavior. Black bears are shy, according to state bear biologists and are habituated into problematic behavior by humans. What DEEP (Department of Energy & ENvironmental Protection) should be telling you is that in March you should bring in your bird feeders, use bear-resistant cans, avoid feeding the bears, clean your outdoor grills, carry bear spray and use bear bells when hiking.
  • No matter how much supporters of the bill and the dwindling hunting markets fear, shooting bears will not teach the ones who aren’t slaughtered not to be opportunistic feeders.
  • DEEP already has a bear management program and last year it only reported 5 nuisance bears.

Don’t let Connecticut’s bears get caught in the cross-fire of NRA interests who are exaggerating numbers to manipulate the public with fear so hunters, who represent just 1 percent of the state’s population, can slaughter bears to use as rugs and mount them.


RETURN TO Action Alerts Directory Page

‘Dead bears don’t learn anything’ — Biologists balk at notion hunting makes bears wary

Grizzly bear

It’s hard for a grizzly bear to learn anything when it’s dead.

That’s the take of two grizzly bear biologists in northwest Montana on the notion that grizzly bears will learn to fear man if the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming allow a limited trophy hunt now that the species’ threatened status in the region around Yellowstone National Park has been revoked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Last week, the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International asked to intervene in a lawsuit that seeks to restore protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

In affidavits, several members of the two organizations said allowing a grizzly bear hunt would improve public safety as well as help the region’s economy and allow states to better manage the animals.

Safari Club International Idaho Chapter President Anthony Hafla of Idaho Falls said that hunting grizzly bears would limit the human-bear conflicts that now occur, especially during bow season.

“Grizzlies are smart animals and as soon as they figure out that man is dangerous, they will avoid such conflict,” Hafla said. “The overall outcome for the bears will be positive as fewer bears will be killed out of self-defense or from culling bears that have been involved in altercations with humans.”

Edwin Johnson, a 70-year-old outfitter from Gardiner, said he would welcome the opportunity both to offer guided grizzly bear hunts to his clients as well as hunt one personally.

“To me, this is a public safety issue,” Johnson said. “In 1996 and 2007, clients of mine were mauled by grizzly bears. More bears are becoming more aggressive. They need to be hunted so that they fear the scent of humans, rather than following as they do now.”

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Libby area grizzly bear management specialist Kim Annis has heard that argument before.

“If the argument is that hunting bears will teach them to be afraid of humans, I don’t understand how that would play out,” Annis said. “Bears are solitary animals. If someone kills one, it’s dead. It would have to stay alive to actually learn something.”

Annis said people have been hunting black bears forever and they still come around people. Alaska has allowed hunting of brown bears — which are called grizzlies in the Lower 48 — and there are still conflicts between bears and humans there.

“I don’t see where there is any evidence that bears learn to fear humans because of hunting,” she said. “If people want to be able to hunt grizzly bears as a trophy, that’s what they should say.”

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes grizzly bear specialist Stacy Courville said he couldn’t say for sure how bears would react to being hunted, but there is one thing he knows for certain.

“Dead bears don’t learn anything,” he said. “Unless there is a bear right there standing next to the one that got shot, I’m not sure how bears would learn anything about being hunted. … Intuitively, that doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Courville’s experience does tell him that grizzly bears are capable of learning to avoid unpleasant situations.

A cornfield surrounded by an electric fence near St. Ignatius has shown him that numerous times.

“We had bears that were patrolling the outside perimeter almost every night in hopes of finding a way in,” he said. “We had bears inside the fence that couldn’t get out. When they finally did decide to leave and the fence was turned off, they still hesitated before going through it.”

The female bear stuck inside the fence had two cubs with her. As the corn patch was harvested and it grew smaller and smaller, Courville occasionally saw her stand up and look around.

When the three finally decided to make a break for it, Courville happened to be there to watch.

“While mom barreled right through the fence, the two cubs hesitated when they got to the fence,” he said. “She was already across the county road before they even attempted to get through the fence. That was learned behavior.”

New Jersey’s latest bear hunt may also be last for a while

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20171126_ap_5de4b22f54384a99b6cdb511068ad0d9.html

Bear Hunt

Protesters gather not far from a bear hunt check-in station at the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area in Fredon, N.J., in December 2014.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Hunters across New Jersey are making final preparations for the state’s next black bear hunt, which also may be the last one the state holds for some time.

While a formal decision won’t be made until next year, the hunt’s future seemed to be sealed on election night, when Democrat Phil Murphy – who has called for a moratorium on the hunts – won the gubernatorial race.

The state’s firearm-only season is scheduled for Dec. 4 to 9. It comes just weeks after 243 bears were killed during a six-day hunt staged mostly in northern New Jersey. The first three days of the last hunt were reserved for bow hunting, with bows and muzzle-loading guns allowed the final three days.

New Jersey resumed state-regulated bear hunting in 2003 after a ban that lasted more than 30 years. Another hunt was held in 2005, and in 2010 the state made it annual.

___

WHY IS A HUNT HELD?

State wildlife officials have touted the annual hunts as an important part of controlling the bear population and minimizing run-ins with humans.

Black bears serve an important role in healthy ecosystems. They can travel great distances and disperse the seeds of many different plant species while feeding on fruits and berries. They can also clear out small amounts of vegetation while foraging, which opens up space for other plants.

But officials say there are concerns some may be going hungry due to the bear population density being too high.

Animal rights activists and other critics say the hunts are inhumane and unnecessary. They also argue that the number of bear-human incidents is down.

__

FIREARM-ONLY HUNT

The firearm-only bear hunt will be held alongside the six-day firearm deer season. State officials have the option to extend the hunt to the following week if there aren’t enough bears killed.

Hunters must have a permit to hunt in one of the five bear hunting zones. They can obtain permits for two separate zones.

State wildlife officials have estimated that 3,500 bears live in New Jersey north of Interstate 80.

___

FUTURE HUNTS?

Officials expect state policy to change once Murphy takes office in January.

Murphy won the seat earlier this month when he defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who had called for the hunts to continue. During the campaign, Murphy said he would impose a moratorium on the hunt and criticized Republican Gov. Chris Christie for holding hunts every year since he took office.

Murphy says that before authorizing another hunt, the state needs a “fuller understanding and proof” that they work better than nonlethal options in the state’s long-term bear management policies.

___

BEAR AS FOOD

Experts say bear meat should be butchered within hours of the kill. They recommend that people slow-cook it, marinate it or use is as a ground meat.

To help hunters and cooks with their food preparations, the state Department of Environmental Protection has a “bear cookbook” on its website. It includes information on how to butcher the bear and safely cook the meat, along with recipes including spiced bear tenderloin, sweet and sour bear pot roast, spicy bratwurst-style bear sausage and bear gumbo.

Many hunters also donate some or all of the meat from their kills to food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters through state and local programs.

___

MOUNTED BEARS/BEAR RUGS

Once a bear is killed and checked in with state officials at designated sites, most hunters will head to a butcher shop to have the meat removed.

If they also want to memorialize the bear, their next stop is often a taxidermy shop, where the bruins are mounted or their hides are turned into rugs.

Some jobs can take a few months to complete and will cost a few thousand dollars, while some work will only cost the hunter a few hundred dollars.

Wyoming sets next steps for grizzly control

By Angus M. Thuermer Jr. October 4, 2017

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department plans to propose its plans for grizzly bear management — including potential hunting seasons — by April, the state’s chief game warden said Tuesday.

With newfound authority over Ursus arctos horribilis following its removal from the federal threatened species list this summer, Game and Fish will begin canvassing the state in November, to gauge citizens’ sentiments regarding the bear, Brian Nesvik said. Delisting gives Wyoming the ability to enact hunting seasons within federal limits.

Nesvik said the department will approach the public input process “not with any preconceived ideas or a proposal, but just with a kind of open mind.

“We would like to … go out and talk to Wyoming folk and hear what they want to see with grizzly bear management,” he told WyoFile. “Then, after we hear from folks, go to round two where we develop some proposals and take them back out again for some additional feedback.”

The first outreach is scheduled for regional meetings in the second half of November and the first week of December, he said. Proposals — which could include hunting seasons — would emerge for public comment in January.

The goal would be to put a plan in front of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission for its April meeting, during which it typically acts on changes to hunting and other regulations, Nesvik said.

The chief warden said he hopes “science and the desires of the public can come together to do the best thing for the future of the grizzly bear.” But, he cautioned, “some people might be disappointed.”

“There isn’t anything we make decisions on or manage in this state that has an absolute consensus,” Nesvik said.

Federal limits would apply to hunting

As a precondition to delisting the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone ecosystem, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service required Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho to agree on a memorandum of understanding that would limit the total annual human-caused bear mortality —  including from hunting — and split the total number of authorized deaths among the three states. The MOU would allow Wyoming the bulk of the so-called “discretionary” mortality quota, at 58 percent. Montana would get 34 percent and Idaho 8 percent.

Exact numbers would be determined annually, based on grizzly population numbers, sex and age classifications, and other factors.

A Game and Fish Department review of grizzly bear activity in Wyoming in 2016 shows that 22 grizzlies were killed of the 40 captured for conflicts. Those euthanized were killed for “a history of previous conflicts” or “a known history of close association with humans.” Several were killed for being “unsuitable for release into the wild.” Those included orphaned cubs, bears in poor physical condition, or bears that caused worries about human safety. One death was inadvertent.

http://www.wyofile.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Griz-conflict-captures-2016.jpg

The bears captured for conflicts with people or property in 2016 tended to be on the fringes of occupied bear country. The red border circles the primary conservation area, the black surrounds the demographic monitoring area. There were 40 conflict captures in 2016, Game and Fish reported. (Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

There were 223 “conflicts” between grizzlies and people, a category that ranges from attacks by bears — there were four people injured — to eating apples and chickens. Most of the conflicts occurred on the edges of bear country, according to the report of 2016 activity.

Grizzly bear delisting in the Yellowstone ecosystem represents “a huge success story,” said Dan Thompson, the Game and Fish large carnivore section supervisor. With restoration of the species in the ecosystem came “just an overall expansion of bears…the overall distribution of grizzly bears,” he said.

Debate continues regarding whether the expansion of occupied grizzly country is due to more bears or changes in the environment that drives them to seek meat — like livestock — farther from their core habitat. Regardless of the cause, “we’re starting to see potential conflicts with people,” Thompson said.

In fiscal year 2015, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department paid $457,516 for livestock and other property losses from grizzly bears, according to department data. The agency continues to wrestle with depredation by bears and to compensate ranchers for damage. The agency publishes a weekly grizzly bear update for those interested in keeping up.

The department spent an average of $2.06 million on grizzly bear conservation between FY 2012-2016, Thompson said. That includes a host of activities, from capturing to relocating, tracking, counting and so on.

Two lawsuits challenge Yellowstone delisting

Conservation groups sued after Yellowstone-area grizzlies came off the threatened species list this summer. Two complaints focus on the government’s decision to delist the Yellowstone population of bears while other populations remain in peril.

The future of Yellowstone bears themselves is uncertain, the suits contend. That’s in part because of climate change that critics say is driving bears farther from the core of the ecosystem as traditional food sources disappear.

Read a WyoFile story about worries regarding grizzly hunting

One suit pits the Northern Cheyenne tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and the National Parks Conservation Association against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and colleagues. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Native Ecosystems Council, and Western Watersheds Project filed another action.

“The [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service acknowledged that grizzly bears have shifted to meat in response to the decline in whitebark pine; that more bears die due to human conflicts during years of poor whitebark pine production; and that human-bear conflict mortality has spiked in recent years,” the Northern Cheyenne and their fellow plaintiffs contend. “But the Service did not address or evaluate the logical conclusion arising from these facts: that is, grizzly bears’ shift to meat has brought bears into more frequent contact with hunters and livestock and, therefore, caused the recent upsurge in mortality.”

http://www.wyofile.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Griz-rangeGF-maps.jpg

Game and Fish illustrates expansion of grizzly range with these maps from 2010 and 2016. Debate continues regarding the reason for bears expanding their territory. Regardless, wildlife officials say chances for conflicts increase, conflicts they seek to diffuse with their Bear Wise Wyoming program. (Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

The Alliance and its co-plaintiffs made a similar claim. Conservationists have also complained, although not specifically in the lawsuits, that authorities have established boundaries where grizzlies will be tolerated based in part on social tolerance or acceptability. They say that interjects political bias into what’s supposed to be decisions based on science.

Game and Fish seeks to increase social tolerance, and support for grizzly bears in general, through an 11-year-old program called Bear Wise Wyoming, Thompson said. “It’s so vital to management of large carnivores,” he said.

In the parlance of bureaucracy, Game and Fish is “creating a social conscience regarding responsible attractant management and behavior in bear habitat.” Bear Wise seeks to raise awareness, reduce access to things like food and garbage, and educate people about both grizzly and black bears.

http://www.wyofile.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/BearWiseLOGO-Model-1-300x232.jpg

Game and Fish brands its Bear Wise Wyoming program with this logo.

Among the efforts undertaken by the program have been the free give-away of hundreds of cans of bear spray to licensed hunters. In Cody last year the effort was supported by Wyoming Outdoorsmen, Bow Hunters of Wyoming and Yellowstone Country Bear Hunters Association, Game and Fish said. One hundred cans of spray were given away in less than an hour.

A similar event in Jackson last month saw a line of some 30 or more hunters waiting before the 8 a.m. give-away began. With the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Game and Fish also has installed more bear-proof food storage boxes in campgrounds.

Game and Fish also seeks to protect those who travel into bear country as part of their job. It put on a workshop last year titled “Working Safely in Bear Country” in Park County that targeted national forest employees, among others.

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Game and Fish admits there is some resistance in sharing ground with grizzlies, including in the Wapiti and Pinedale areas. There, Game and Fish says, efforts are hampered by the lack of ordinances, regulations and laws, by seasonal residents, and by scant community organizations. Another factor is “decreased public tolerance for grizzly bears due to record numbers of human-bear conflicts and continued federal legal protection,” the report for 2016 said.

Game and Fish said it would announce the schedule of the November and December meetings soon.

8 Bears Already Killed in NV Bear Hunt

OCT 5, 2017 — Friends,

We are sad to share that since the Nevada bear hunt began on September 15th, 8 bears have already lost their lives to despicable trophy hunters.

Up to an additional 12 are slated to be killed before the season ends on December 1.

In the Spring, we will be calling on all of you to speak out against the Nevada bear hunt during the annual Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners meeting to set the quota for number of bears to be killed in 2018. We will be demanding that the wildlife commissioners set a zero quota.

If you are wondering why we don’t simply ask for the hunt to come to an end, the reason is that the Nevada bear hunt is mandated in NV law. The law was made to protect the “rights” of those who want to slaughter animals for fun, despite Nevada’s small bear population of just 3-400 and despite the fact that the majority of Nevadans oppose trophy hunting. We hope to circumvent the “necessity” for a hunt by asking for the hunt to continue…with zero bears killed.

We are pleased to share that many individuals are rising up against the bear hunt. Alongside No Bear Hunt NV, CompassionWorks International held a very successful and well-attended protest in Reno, NV on September 16th that gained ample media coverage.

Also, having successfully raised the funds, in the next two weeks we will be distributing a postcard encouraging residents to be “bear smart” to 15,000 homes in the Tahoe basin where human/bear encounters are frequent. We hope this will curb encounters that result in bears being relocated or killed.

Finally, here in Nevada we are suffering from the tragedy that occurred just days ago in Las Vegas. Unbelievably, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority are continuing with their plan to host the annual conference of Safari Club International in Las Vegas next January/February. To host a vile group of “thrill killers” after what Las Vegas has just endured is beyond the pale. Please join us in speaking out against Safari Club International (the world’s largest group of trophy hunters) and their conference in Las Vegas by signing this petition: https://www.change.org/p/las-vegas-convention-and-visitors-authority-stop-supporting-guns-and-killing-ban-sci.

Finally, we are grateful to all who donated to our postcard campaign. If you would like to support our efforts to hold protests, petition for a zero quota, and do other outreach aimed at saving the lives of Nevada’s precious bears, please visit www.cwint.org/donate to make your secure, tax-deductible donation online.

Thank you, as always, for your friendship and support, and for your care for Nevada’s wildlife.

For the Animals,
Carrie LeBlanc, M.A.
Executive Director
CompassionWorks International