by Tim Pearce
Activists in Wyoming are considering applying for one of 22 grizzly hunting permits to keep the license out of the hands of hunters looking to take home a trophy kill, the Jackson Hole News and Guide reports.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed Yellowstone grizzlies from the Endangered Species List in June 2017. States surrounding Yellowstone National Park have been debating and preparing hunting seasons to help manage the grizzly bear population of around 700.
“We should be involved in this process, and at this point this is how we can be involved,” Wyoming resident Lisa Robertson told the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Jackson intends to apply for a hunting permit and, if she wins, photograph the bears rather than shoot them.
“We’re all entitled to be represented out here, and this is one way that the nonconsumptive public can say, ‘We’ll pay you to not kill this grizzly — at least for 10 days,’” Robertson said.
While legal and financial barriers will deter some activists from getting a license, the type of protest is a legitimate way of keeping hunters from killing grizzlies, Wyoming Game and Fish Carnivore Supervisor Dan Thompson told the Jackson Hole News and Guide.
“It’s not something we’re condoning, people putting in just so they can take a tag from someone who is interested in the hunting opportunity,” Thompson said. “But it’s going to happen. I know it’s going to happen.”
Applications for a grizzly tag are $5 for Wyoming residents and $15 for people living out-of-state. Winners must hand over another $600 for Wyoming residents and $6,000 for those from out-of-state.
The last grizzly hunt Wyoming held was in 1975 before the animals were listed under the Endangered Species Act. The bear population numbered 136 then. The species has now recovered and are out of danger of extinction, so officials are using the hunts to keep the bears in check and limit interaction between the animals and residential areas.
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