WG&F tallies grizzly captures for 2019
by Wyoming Game & Fish Department
January 29, 2020
The 2019 Annual Report of Grizzly Bear Management Captures, Relocations, and Removals completed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is now available on the department website. The annual report is required by state statute and quantifies management actions by the Game and Fish in relation to grizzly bear conflict resolution in Wyoming outside the National Parks and Wind River Reservation.
Because grizzly bears remain under federal protection, WG&F manages grizzly bears in Wyoming under the direction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"We have documented an increasing distribution of grizzly bears throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which leads to a higher conflict potential, especially as bears expand into more agricultural, residential and human-dominated landscapes," said Brian DeBolt, large carnivore conflict coordinator. "Game and Fish responds with proactive and responsive management strategies; this report summarizes those situations requiring an on-the-ground capture effort to reduce conflict."
There was a significant decrease in grizzly bear conflict activities and subsequent management actions by WG&F compared to 2018 due to a strong natural food year coupled with the previous year’s management actions and grizzly bear population dynamics. In 2019, there were no human injuries or fatalities due to grizzly bears.
During 2019, WG&F captured 33 individual grizzly bears in 34 capture events in an attempt to prevent or resolve conflicts; meaning 1 bear was captured twice. Most captures were adult males.
Of the 34 capture events, 20 captures were a result of bears killing livestock (primarily cattle), 10 were captures involving bears that obtained food rewards (pet, livestock food, garbage, fruit trees), or were frequenting developed sites or human populated areas unsuitable for grizzly bear occupancy. Three events were non-target captures at livestock depredation sites, and 1 bear was captured and relocated from the Cody landfill.
Of the 34 capture events, 18 (53%) were in Park County, 8 (23%) were in Sublette County, 4 (12%) were in Fremont County, 3 (9%) were in Hot Springs County and 1 (3%) was in Teton County.
Of the 34 capture events, there were 15 relocation events (Figure 2). All relocated grizzly bears were released on U.S. Forest Service lands in or adjacent to the Primary Conservation Area. Of the 15 relocation events, 9 were conducted in Park County (60%), 5 (33%) were in Teton County, and 1 (8%) was in Fremont County.
Grizzly bears are removed (lethally or through live placement in an approved facility) from the population due to a history of previous conflicts, a known history of close association with humans, or they were deemed unsuitable for release into the wild (e.g. orphaned cubs, poor physical condition, or human safety concern). Of the 33 bears captured, 18 bears were removed from the population, and 1 bear died during capture. Of these 19 human-caused mortalities associated with management captures, 10 were outside of the Demographic Monitoring Area.
For more information on grizzly bear management captures, relocations, and removals, read the entire annual report linked below.