Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 21

beyond those borders occupying 42,000 square miles. "
In 2020, a Game and Fish biologist counted 82
adult bears and cubs in an 80-minute flight - about
a bear a minute, Thompson said. In June that same
year, a grizzly bear was sighted in the Wyoming Range
near Kemmerer, the farthest south on record.
With more bears comes more conflict potential.
Bear conflicts are defined as " interactions between
bears, people and their property resulting in damage to pets, livestock, bees or other nonnatural food
rewards, animal-caused human injury or death and
human-caused injury or death to an animal other than
legal hunting or management action, " according to
the 2019 Game and Fish report titled, " Grizzly Bear
Management Capture, Relocations and Removals
in northwest Wyoming. " The report is an annual
requirement under Wyoming law, even while the
federal government maintains ultimate authority while
bears are listed.
Under federal authority, Game and Fish conducts
conflict mitigation work on the ground, but only
after it is authorized by USFWS. It works like this: a
conflict call comes into Game and Fish. That prompts
the large carnivore team to investigate and work with
involved parties to collect information. Game and Fish
then uses its experience, expertise and consideration
for each situation to respond - securing attractants,
electric fencing, trapping and relocation, hazing or
lethal removal, for example. If a bear is caught, Game
and Fish will again consult with the USFWS for
final action.
The decision to relocate or lethally remove a grizzly
bear is made after considering a number of variables:
age and sex, behavioral traits, health, physical injuries
or abnormalities, types of conflict, severity of conflict,
known history of the bear, human safety concerns,
suitable relocation areas and population management
objectives. Currently, the USFWS makes all final
determinations on the fate of grizzly bears and Game
and Fish carries them out.
" It's a lot of coordination, a lot of phone calls and a
lot of time paid for by sportspersons - and that's just
with conflicts, " Thompson said. " But, we continue to
do this work because it's important for the citizens of
our state and our commitment to Wyoming's wildlife
and keeping grizzly bears here for our future generations. It is also a matter of pride for our agency.
We respect the grizzly, and we are proud of the wild
landscape and our ability to maintain them. Game
and Fish hasn't been known to do the bare minimum. "
In 2019 there were 194 human-grizzly conflicts.
For the first year in a decade, no humans were injured.
Most conflicts were due to an abundance of bears seeking food sources and close encounters with humans
and livestock. The large carnivore crew captured 33
individual bears. Of those, 20 were due to livestock

Chris Atkinson, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department large carnivore biologist, evaluates the teeth of a grizzly bear in
order to estimate the animal's age. (WGFD photo)

damage and 10 to food rewards. Fifteen bears were
relocated and 18 bears were lethally removed from the
population; one died during capture. One-third of
the bears captured were outside the DMA. The final
numbers are still being tabulated for 2020, but four
humans were injured and 18 bears were euthanized
with authorization from USFWS.
Without management authority for the bear, Game
and Fish can only influence the human activity surrounding grizzlies and help people mold practices
to coexist. Over the last four decades, those living
and working in bear country have made significant
modifications to reduce bear encounters. The accomplishments are significant - and have paid off - but
more bears always present new challenges.
For ranchers and agriculture producers, livestock
depredation is the most significant concern. Outside
the DMA, encounters with livestock is the most frequent conflict Game and Fish investigates.
" There are landowners today who were certain that
20 years ago they would never have to contend with
a grizzly, and it is difficult to explain the situation
today to someone who lives far outside the suitable
habitat to be prepared, " Thompson said.
It's a new and growing task for conflict management. Game and Fish investigations and recommendations for lethal removals and relocations are imperative
to livestock producers. Most conflicts - 54 percent
- are on private land and 65 percent involve cattle.
For some landowners, losses top as high as 13 percent
of calves annually because of bears.
" Livestock producers don't raise a calf or lamb crop
to feed bears and to be compensated by Game and


Wyoming Wildlife | 21


Wyoming Wildlife magazine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wyoming Wildlife magazine

From the director
In this issue
A couple pennies
Opening shot
Griz on the Go poster
Ask Game and Fish
Grizzly Glossary
Bruin Challenges
Allure of the grizzly
Grizzly Q&A
Wild Country Dispatch
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Cover
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - From the director
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - In this issue
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - A couple pennies
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Mailbag
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Opening shot
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 7
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - News
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Griz on the Go poster
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 10
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 11
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Ask Game and Fish
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Grizzly Glossary
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Bruin Challenges
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 15
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 16
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 17
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 18
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 19
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 20
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 21
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 22
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 23
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 24
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 25
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 26
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 27
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Allure of the grizzly
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 29
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 30
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 31
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 32
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 33
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 34
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 35
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Grizzly Q&A
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 37
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 38
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 39
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 40
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 41
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 42
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 43
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 44
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 45
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Wild Country Dispatch
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - 47
Wyoming Wildlife magazine - Backpage