Hunters: Know your Bears and Lions
by Wyoming Game & Fish
September 22, 2008
This time of year the Wyoming Game and Fish Department always reminds hunters to know their target before they pull the trigger, but especially when it comes to bears and lions. Both black bears and mountain lions are hunted species in Wyoming and the Game and Fish Department encourages hunters to visit their website to take a quick voluntary online test before heading afield to pursue these species.
The primary reason for the black bear test is to learn how to tell the difference between black bears and grizzly bears. Grizzly bears, while recently removed from the Endangered Species list, are still not hunted in Wyoming. "There’s enough variation in both size and color of these animals that they can be very hard to tell apart," says Wyoming Game & Fish Public Information Specialist Mark Gocke. "Even the most experienced outdoors people can benefit from brushing up on this information."
For mountain lions, the primary focus of the online test is to teach hunters how to tell the difference between male and female lions. "We like to encourage hunters to take male lions rather than females," says Gocke. "As with most wildlife species, the females are biologically the most important because they bring the young ones into the population. This is why we have implemented female mortality quotas in some areas whereby the hunting season is automatically closed when that harvest quota is reached."
Gocke says both tests cover other topics such as track identification, behavior and other important information such as special regulations. "They don’t take long and they’re actually kind of fun," says Gocke. "They are a good way to learn some things about these species, whether you*re a hunter or not."
To access the tests, visit the Wyoming Game & Fish Department website at http://gf.state.wy.us/ and click on the Education tab.
For more information contact the Jackson Game and Fish office at 800-423-4113 or 307-733-2321.