Grizzly bear conflicts 2009
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
November 6, 2009
Wyoming Game and Fish Department Bear Manager Mark
Bruscino reported the results of the year’s human-grizzly
bear conflicts in the Wyoming portion of the Yellowstone
region (outside of Yellowstone National Park), as of
October 29, 2009.
Bruscino reported that there were 137 human-bear conflicts, with two involving serious human injuries. One involved a hiker near his home near Clark when he encountered an adult female grizzly with her three cubs of the year. This occurred in dense sagebrush more than seven miles from the nearest forested area, Bruscino reported. The second incident involved a grizzly mauling a sheepherder one night on the Bridger-Teton National Forest north of Pinedale.
Wyoming also had 74 livestock damage incidents by grizzlies, including verified kills of 50 cattle, 61 sheep and four pigs. Bears were also involved in two apiary (beehive) damage incidents, and there were 8 cases of food rewards to grizzlies. There were 42 incidents of property damage to structures, tents, homes, cabins, grain storage sheds, etc.
Management actions taken in response to these conflicts included 27 grizzly bear captures, with 19 bears relocated elsewhere, two released on site, and six bears removed from the population. Bruscino noted of the six bears removed, three were cubs of the adult female who mauled the man near Clark. The cubs were captured and given to a zoo. Three adult bears were also removed from the population, including one chronic livestock killer, Bruscino said, and two very old male bears that were in bad physical condition. Bruscino said one of the bears was a male with an estimated age of at least 25 years old.
Human-grizzly bear conflicts in Montana were down substantially from last year year’s 112, according to Montana wildlife officials. This year there were 39 conflicts, with no bear management captures or removals. Four bears were killed in the state, two of which were hunting-related.
Of the conflicts:
• 15 were associated with garbage,
• 2 with property damage,
• 14 involved bears at or near residences,
• 5 were confrontations in the field,
• 0 conflicts with livestock; and
• 3 involved human injuries.
There were few conflicts in Idaho this year, with no property damage or food rewards for grizzlies, according to wildlife officials in that state.
In June, two hound hunters encountered a sow grizzly with her cubs in Idaho, about 20 miles west of the grizzly recovery area. The sow knocked one of the hunters down and fled the scene.
In July, a grizzly bear was involved in a livestock conflict east of Ashton, Idaho. The bear was trapped and relocated, but returned to the scene. The cattle were shipped from the area, and the grizzly was documented to have moved into Wyoming.
It was reported that in mid-October, a black bear hunter killed a grizzly bear east of Ashton, in a case of mistaken identity. The case is under investigation.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone park officials reported only one conflict between grizzlies and humans this year, but there were no injuries and no bears were captured.
There were two known grizzly mortalities in the park, with one involving a bear being killed by another bear. The cause of the other mortality is unknown, since the carcass of the bear was found floating down the Yellowstone River. It was recovered when it drifted onto shore.
Grand-Teton National Park
Steve Cain of Grand-Teton National Park reported that there were no grizzly captures, no removals, and no mortalities in the park this year. One bear conflict was reported involving an "acute adrenaline moment" when a grizzly charged a group of people when they approached the bear too closely.
Wind River Indian Reservation
Bob St. Clair reported that there were two conflicts involving grizzly bears on the Wind River Indian Reservation this year.
On July 15, a grizzly bear killed a cow in the Owl Creeks, and a large male grizzly was observed in the area.
In a second case, a known grizzly bear that travels on and off the WRIR, Number 525, destroyed 25 bee hives in the Dry Creek area.