Wyoming has put its iconic grizzlies in the crosshairs of trophy hunters

By on May 30, 2018 with 45 Comments

American trophy hunters, so apt to go abroad in search of the next trophy head, need look no further than Wyoming for one this coming fall. Last week, the state’s Game and Fish Commission approved a trophy hunting season that could result in the killing of as many as 23 grizzly bears, starting in September. So many of us are outraged as Americans when our wealthy trophy hunters go abroad to slay lions and elephants; we need to express and act upon the same outrage about this unwarranted killing of magnificent bears in our homeland.

The Humane Society of the United States has opposed the opening of a grizzly bear hunt from the beginning, and we will continue to do so until federal protections for these vulnerable creatures are restored. Last year, we and other groups filed a federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the bears. That elimination of federal protections led Wyoming and Idaho to announce their bear hunts this fall.

Despite the decision to delist grizzly bears, their populations have not recovered — far from it, in fact. There are only an estimated 700 bears living in the Yellowstone area, and in the past three years we have seen record-level mortality in that population.

Related: Federal court says HSUS lawsuit to protect grizzlies can proceed

Grizzlies face an array of human-caused threats to their habitats and traditional food sources. Driven to roam beyond the safe confines of national parks by food scarcity, they have been crossing paths with humans more than ever before. In the past three years, 175 bears have died directly from human causes, because of actions by poachers, cattle ranchers and elk hunters.

The commissioners in Wyoming, unelected and unaccountable to the residents of that state, reached the decision to open the trophy hunt on bears with almost no deliberation, and in spite of overwhelming opposition from the public. Scientists, photographers and citizens alike have objected to this proposal, but a few trophy hunters and ranchers with deep influence successfully drowned out these voices.

In April, 73 biologists joined in a letter sent to Wyoming’s Gov. Matt Mead, requesting that he stop the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear hunt and convene an impartial, expert panel to review Wyoming’s unscientific trophy hunting plans. This month, 107 photographers and several tribal nations called upon Mead to stop the hunt based upon economic, cultural and other reasons. And in a brand new study, Prof. Jeremy Bruskotter of Ohio State University and his colleagues found that 74 percent of biologists (especially those employed by universities), favor retaining federal Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears

A new poll from The Economist magazine and YouGov.com found that most Americans — 71 percent, in fact — believe that sport hunting is both morally wrong and morally unacceptable.

One small positive in the news from Wyoming is that we and our allies did succeed in reducing its size. Wyoming had originally intended to let trophy hunters kill even more bears than the current quota, benefiting from a backroom deal in which Wyoming “borrowed” a portion of Montana’s annual allocation of grizzly bear mortalities in order to go above its own limit. This was in spite of Montana having taken the strong and admirable stand not to hold a hunt in 2018. After we, along with a coalition of conservation groups, wrote to Montana officials demanding an accounting for this shady deal, Wyoming relented and cut its female hunt quota within the core grizzly recovery area in half.

Our work won’t end until we succeed in restoring Endangered Species Act protections for the grizzlies. You can write to Gov. Matt Mead and ask him to help save Yellowstone-area grizzly bears by canceling the trophy hunt. It’s a worthy fight, and we invite you to join your energy and passion to ours to save these iconic animals.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Anton Ugrinov says:

    Save the bears!

    • irene mccallister says:

      Better for environment to have alive bears than bears stuffed and mounted on wall. Not manly to destroy a species. Untold negative consequences to kill bears.

  2. Elizabeth Lawrence says:

    Please don’t kill the grizzly bears🐾

  3. Donna trussell says:

    This is wrong

  4. Emily Lundgren says:

    Stop this hunt! This is a barbaric slaughter for trophies?

  5. Susan Ross says:

    These poor animals are life be feeling beings. They have the right to life just as you or I enjoy that privilege. Just to please some hunters who kill for what they call call sport. Killing is killing no matter the lable! Also a great majority of our precious animals are endangered. These being one of them!!! Do not deny future generations the thrill of seeing first hand nature in any form. As caretakers of this valuable plent it is our DUTY!!!!!

  6. Melissa K Winn says:

    The killing of bears for trophy hunting is barbaric and should not be allowed.

  7. Tracie says:

    Please stop this hunt

  8. Teri kerns says:

    To hunt for trophies is a human trait that no other animal in the world possesses They hunt for survival.Not humans they hunt for sport. Some times I hate being part of the human race. 🙁🐶🐰😾🙊

    • Suzan Jackson says:

      I agree, to a point…… as only the human is able to create a safe and decent environment for our wild ones, we need to be responsible for the welfare of all creatures.

  9. Brit says:

    TO: Gov. Matt Mead
    Please help save Yellowstone-area grizzly bears by canceling the trophy hunt.

  10. Debbie Chewning says:

    This insanity of trophy hunting must stop!!!

  11. Victoria Stack says:

    Thrill killing of our native wildlife is a despicable act and the fact that a few wealthy people can just “take” something that belongs to everyone is also a despicable practice. Shame on these people.

  12. Emily says:

    Animals were put on this planet long before people arrived they weren’t put on earth to be hunted that could soon lead to extinction.

  13. Susie Adkins says:

    Please stop this insane hunting of these magnificent bears for trophy hunters..let them hang a picture instead! ❤🐻 Thank You…..

  14. Jennel Dompier says:

    Trophy hunting is wrong. To kill as a sport is not a sport, it is killing. Even though some people place lesser value of an animals life, it is still a life. The animal breathes, bleeds, and feels the same as us. No trophy hunting!

  15. Kim says:

    Animals do not to be hunted for trophy’s period!!! Stop this hunt now!

  16. Marion Glennon says:

    This is a barbaric practice and for the purpose of a few trophy hunters, who can kill these beautiful animals for sport and then hang their parts up on the wall. It is wrong and the majority of people in the U.S. are again this practice. It should be illegal!

    • Tod Hughes says:

      These bears are no longer endangered and have a population that can support a regulated hunt like this.
      Many Americans enjoy hunting with millions of dollars from their license fees and taxes on guns and ammo going to support wildlife programs
      I’m open minded…if you don’t enjoy hunting I don’t think you should be made to go hunting…just don’t try to prevent me

  17. Nancy Symmonds says:

    If these bears were causing humans severe problems I could maybe justify they be somehow humanely destroyed. But to give sport hunters free reign to kill these beautiful animals just for the fun of it is just absolutely reprehensible.. God created this world and all that’s in it and I don’t feel this is what He intended when He created Grizzley bears to roam free in Yellowstone or any other place on earth. PLEASE do not let this happen – too many are killing animals AND people just because they can!!!!

  18. Chantelle says:

    Save the bears! They do not need to be killed at all. They are harmless animals .

  19. Kevin says:

    Stop the hunt on bears Mead!!!

  20. J says:

    The killing of bears for trophy hunting is barbaric and should not be allowed.

  21. Maureen Dalton says:

    stop this inhumane slaughter now

  22. Kristy Hamilton says:

    This is disgusting!

  23. Jessica Russell says:

    Governor Mead-I have met you at the WMA convention in the past. I’m a former resident of Wyoming and graduated from UW. I beg of you to not allow this practice to become legal. Grizzlies are one of Wyoming’s most prized animal and it would be wrong to allow trophy hunters, who by the way are nothing but high paid killers, to do this to these beautiful creatures. Please, please do NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN.

  24. Pavithra Souriraj says:

    Please stop this. Animals are to be loved and saved. Thanks

  25. Carrie Urling says:

    You will increase tourism when you increase the number of bears. I will not go to Montana if you are going to uphold barbaric hunts such as this.

  26. Donna says:

    Gov. Matt Meade,
    Killing to eat and survive is one thing. To kill for the pleasure of showing off a carcass is barbaric, inhumane and unnecessary. Please stop this unnecessary slaughter.

  27. Joy London says:

    Please don’t hurt the wonderful grizzlies bear. Stop ruining our spectacular wildness animals.

  28. Lynn Gajewski says:

    Trophy hunting should be outlawed! An animal is not on earth to kill for a new rug on your floor, a notch on your belt or a punch on your man card!

  29. Kim Emerson says:

    Live and let live!!

  30. Salvatore Messina Jr says:

    Stop this now r there wont be any wild life for r future kids too enjoy

  31. Connie boppre says:

    Put yourself in the bears’ shoes. They are souls that just happen to be in a bear body. Have some compassion for pete’s sake ! It’s way past time for mankind to evolve.

  32. David Blosser says:

    End the grizzly bear hunt!

  33. Patty says:

    Save the Bears. Trophy hunting should be outlawed.
    Need a bear rug go to a estate sale.

  34. Cláudia Clouse says:

    Such a coward attitude and disrespect towards the animal kingdom. It’s barbaric, senseless. Shame on all of you! Karma wonders in interesting ways…

  35. Debby Susong says:


  36. Maya Mussa says:

    Hunting should be illegal!! Animals, especially bears, should not be hunted as trophies!!!! This is barbaric and it should be stopped!!!

  37. Stephanie says:

    No bear killing! Do research and see how this fantastic creature influences it’s environment. To kill them just for the sake of it is morally, ethically, and scientifically unsound. I question the morals and thought behind anyone who would sanction this act. Please don’t hurt the bears, our environment, and the financial security of Yellowstone. The bears are a huge draw to the area which brings money in. Thanks for being wise and making the right choice.

  38. Nancy says:

    A cowardly act by cowardly humans. It’s much more of a challenge to learn to coexist with the creatures that live in our forests and everywhere. If you want the respect of others that matter then show our children how to be kind and respectful of the animal world they wish to inherit.

  39. Andrea Christensen says:

    Just an FYI and warning. While attending a dock diving contest in Winston-Sal,NC on May 12, 2018 someone tried to walk off with our 14 yr old Golden. It was mo mistake (they had him by his leash leading him away from us). Luckily someone at our picnic table look up and saw her walking away with him. We ran after and confronted her, she said she was” looking for his owners “ WRONG. He had been laying at our table all afternoon, had tags on and is chipped. She was leading him toward the exit. Can only imagine why…for reward or bait dog??? He is obviously old and arthritic. Please be careful. This could have been a tragic ending for a very loved and loyal member of our family.

  40. Angela says:

    The bears need people to fight for them, it’s ridiculous how much people disregard the lives of the precious, “NECESSARY” animals. The whole ecosystem can be adversely affected when killing animals. Stop killing the bear’s. Plus I hate that before hunting season, hunters go bait the bear’s, to make it easier for them too kill one. This is not fair.

    No killing the bear’s, they have their place on this earth and they’re important. They’re also such beautiful, majestic animals just trying to raise their families and survive. Just like us.

  41. Isabella says:

    For most of my life, I was a staunch advocate for protecting wolves, bears and mountain lions. After buying an old farmhouse an hour from Glacier National Park, I have learned a few things worthy of sharing. Bears follow creeks from the mountains to the prairie, especially as global warming, wind and lightning creates fires and impacts wildlife and food supplies in the mountains, and growing wolf packs decimate elk and deer populations. As an example, at one farm wolves killed over 125 sheep in one night (not because they were starving). It’s instinctual. Wolves are far more dangerous to elk and deer populations, than hunters will ever be, and to a rancher’s livestock than a sow grizzly and three cubs. In Montana, ranchers, farmers and townspeople work closely with Fish and Wildlife to resolve bear activities near people and livestock. However, once habituated to human activities, bears lose their fear of people. Grizzlies have been sighted at the post office, public library, in back yards and on porches. If you make the mistake of walking out your back door to go to your car (so you can go to work), and you are unaware of a grizzly and her cubs 100 feet away, once you become aware, you may have 10 seconds – at most – to retreat before being mauled. If you smell like the bacon and eggs you cooked for breakfast, you’re on the menu. Do you really believe bear spray will protect you if the wind is blowing in your face? If so, try using using it without wearing it, and screaming in pain at the top of your lungs while begging God to save you. Winds blow hard there almost daily. Even if you have a gun, unless you are an accomplished shooter, and you practice target shooting, your chances of killing a charging grizzly are literally next to none. Unless a bullet goes through the bear’s eye or mouth, that bear will be upon you in seconds, and fear alone will wipe out your ability to remain calm and accurately point your weapon. Their skulls are so thick – bullets glance off. If your kids are playing tag outside, or walking to school or a friend’s house, how would you feel if you looked out your kitchen window and saw a 900-pound grizzly bear racing toward them? For those of you who say it will never happen – maybe not to you or your kids – but these are real dangers in these communities that have existed for decades without grizzlies coming to town before. At the nursing home, old timers will tell you when they were kids, they never saw bears in town. There are far more grizzlies now than ever before because their population has been protected, and it’s growing. Animal populations have to be controlled to some degree. I don’t like hunting, or killing animals, but I can see how facts are being skewed to enrage people’s emotions and engage them to pull out their wallets to support environmental groups’ agendas. If you’re thinking about buying an old farm and moving to the Northwest to raise your kids, vegetables, chickens, goats, horses, sheep or llamas, you will gain a thorough understanding of your contribution to the food chain, and where you, your family and your animals fit into this equation. You will gain newfound knowledge that only living there can give you. And, you will remember reading this post some day.

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