Wyoming bear hunters aren’t happy with a federal judge’s decision to stop the grizzly hunt.
The first Wyoming hunt for grizzlies in more than 40 years was to start Saturday, September 1st.
After a federal judge in Montana said he needed time to rule on a lawsuit to overturn delisting, and put a 14 day hold on the hunt, Wyoming’s Game and Fish took action:
Cody Regional Wildlife Supervisor Dan Smith said, “The Wyoming Game and Fish Department on Thursday evening, began contacting hunters to advise them that the hunt that was going to begin on Saturday was suspended.”
The President of the Western Bear Foundation, Joe Kondelis in Cody said, “For right now, the bear’s still delisted. We haven’t lost that yet. We just have an injunction to stop the hunt for 14 days.”
Kondelis said he’s talked to hunters who had a grizzly tag, and were getting ready to hunt this weekend.
He said they were, “Confused, and frustrated and mad right now. And, I think that’s the common feeling that I get from people is anger and frustration.”
Kondelis said people feel like Wyoming has played by the rules, and they think science shows the grizzly bears have recovered from a very low population in the 1970’s.
Kondelis explained, “The recovery criteria has been met, and so for us that believe in science based conservation, we’re just going, ‘what else is there to do?’
A Co-Founder of “Shoot Em With a Camera”, Deidre Bainbridge said, “What the judge said was I did not walk into this courtroom with my mind made up.”
Bainbridge is one of the founders of an anti-grizzly hunting group in Jackson, Wyoming.
She attended Thursday’s hearing in Missoula. She said the judge was thorough, and indicated he would take some time to rule on a lawsuit to overturn the delisting, but she was driving home before she found out he had ruled to stop the hunts for now.
She said, “I think that that was a very important decision because it gives him the time that he needs to do everything.”
7000 people applied for the grizzly hunting licenses in Wyoming. 22 were selected in a random drawing. At least two have said they will not kill a grizzly, but will hunt them with a camera.