Big Sandy grizzly killed
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
June 15, 2007
An off-duty Sublette County Sheriff’s Office deputy shot and killed a grizzly bear in the Big Sandy area of the Wind River Mountain range over Memorial Day weekend, marking the southernmost documentation of grizzly bear presence in Wyoming in decades.
The black bear hunter, Richard Kaumo of Marbleton, was hunting over a legal bait in the Dutch Joe vicinity when he shot what he believed to be a black bear, according to Wyoming Game and Fish Department game warden Duane Kerr of Green River. After transporting the bear to Rock Springs where Kerr inspected it, Kerr told the hunter the animal was actually a grizzly bear, not a black bear.
“This is the first time ever that we’ve confirmed or documented a grizzly bear being in that area,” Kerr said, adding that the 3-5 year old male bear “was in really poor shape” with the pelt in poor condition as well.
Kerr said the animal’s poor body condition may have contributed to the hunter’s confusion, since “it made it look like there was no hump” over the animal’s shoulders, a characteristic of grizzly bear identification.
Ninth Judicial Circuit Court officials in Pinedale confirmed that Kaumo had received a citation for taking a trophy game animal out of season in the incident.
Kerr noted that grizzly bears in the region were recently removed from the list of federally protected species, so the animals are under state jurisdiction.
Under state statute, grizzly bears are a trophy game animal, although no hunting season for grizzlies yet exists. Kerr noted that Kaumo had not intended to kill a grizzly bear, did not attempt to hide the bear, and in keeping with precedent in similar cases, was charged with the out-of-season citation.
If found guilty of the crime, the maximum penalty includes a $400 fine, six months in jail, loss of hunting privileges for up to three years, and possible restitution for the value of the animal.
Kerr noted that this is a “bondable” offense for which Kaumo could pay the maximum fine and not appear in court if he so chose. Court action is pending.