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In the fall of 2018, the first legal, scheduled grizzly bear hunt managed by a state government will be held in Wyoming. Much of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) is in the state of Wyoming. Grizzly bear/human conflicts have escalated with the expanding grizzly population. In 2017, of the 56 known and probable deaths of grizzly bears in the GYE, most were caused when bears attacked people or were destroying property.


Names will be drawn until 10 hunters have paid for their licenses and certified they’ve taken a firearms safety course. Each license will be valid for a 10-day window of opportunity.

If approved, hunting could account for a sizeable portion of grizzly deaths in the region this year but not likely the biggest. Of the 56 known and suspected deaths of Yellowstone grizzlies in 2017, 40 were caused by people including 19 killed by elk hunters and others in self-defense.

The data base for grizzly bear mortality in the GYE is available on the Internet, provided by the United States Geological Survey. They conveniently list the place and cause of death in the intensively studied grizzly population.

Looking only at the grizzly deaths that occurred in Wyoming, there were 35 in 2017. Of those 35, 13 were killed by government management officials because of depredations, destroying property, and being a direct threat to humans. Nine other grizzlys were killed while attacking humans, in self defense (or as a result of the attack).

One grizzly was killed by a hunter who mistook it for a black bear. One was killed in a road accident. Three died of natural causes, of which two were killed by other bears. For the remaining eight bears, the cause of death was unknown for five and under investigation for three.

Bears are a sustainable resource whose increasing population is creating more and more conflicts with humans in Wyoming.

Those who disparage the danger that bears pose often say you are more likely to be killed by lightning than attacked by a bear.

Wyoming is considered the number one state for death by lightning.  Wyoming averages about .72 deaths by lightning per year, or 1.25 per million.

In 2017, counting only grizzly bear attacks where the bear was investigated and known to have been killed in self defense, there were nine. This does not count black bear attacks, attacks where the bear was not killed, or where the attack was never reported to the authorities.

Even with those incomplete figures, in Wyoming in 2017, you were 12 times as likely to be attacked by a bear as you are to be killed by a lightning strike.

When bears are hunted, they learn to associate humans with danger. There are a number of mechanisms for this to occur. Bears have incredibly sensitive noses. They are also cannibals. If they find a bear carcass that has been killed by a human, they will associate humans with danger. If bears are hunted with dogs, and not killed, they will associate dogs with danger. If bears are stung by debris or fragments from a close shot, they will learn to associate shooting and humans with danger.  If near grown cubs are with a adult bear that is killed by humans, the cub will associate humans with danger.

Up until the 1960’s bears were considered dangerous wild animals. Bears were hunted so hard people began to believe that bears were naturally afraid of humans.  It was not true. As more protections for bears have been added to human law, more bears failed to learn that humans are dangerous.

The more bears are hunted, the more they will associate humans with danger. Bears with the most aggressive learned behavior will be selected out of the bear population.

In Wyoming, in 2017, at least 22 grizzly bears were deliberately killed because they endangered humans and their property.

In 2018, 22 permits will be issued to hunt and kill bears. The number may be coincidental. The state of Wyoming will charge between $600 and $6,000 for the permits. Instead of costing the state and people of Wyoming to control the grizzly bear population, hunters will pay the State to control the population for them.

The more bears learn to fear humans, the safer humans will be. The more bears learn to fear humans, the more bear management will be done on a scientific basis, instead of reacting to bear-human conflicts.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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    • The greater yellowstone region is much much bigger than yellowstone park. I certainly hope that the 10 lucky individuals that draw this tag are responsible enough to not make an ass out of themselves on social media after what should be close to a guaranteed harvest.

  1. “If near grown cubs are with a adult bear that is killed by humans, the cub will associate humans with danger.” If someone shoots a sow with cubs I can all but guarantee you that the public outcry will put an end to grizzly hunting until its settled in court.

  2. “Wyoming To Hold First Grizzly Bear Hunt in Decades”

    The hunters can bear-ly wait.

    (I’ll see myself out… 😉 )

  3. I agree that bears are predators and shoot be hunted. There are other nasties in the N.A. woods that can get you too.

    Just offering some perspective here. Statistically you are much more likely to die from a snake and probably that would be in South Central Asia. The Russell’s viper alone kills around of 25,000 worldwide. How many people die from bear attacks (all species) worldwide? Low double digits max. Domestic dogs kill more. Fido and the snake you don’t see kill more people than a half ton mammalian tank.

  4. But Yogi and Boo Boo only steal pik a nik baskets and are scared of Mr. Ranger. They are good bears……

  5. I was working a fire about 2 years ago near Hunter Peak. One of the Hot Shot crews on the fire line watched a Grizzly kill a Black Bear. After asking some questions to some of the locals, this apparently isn’t an unusual occurrence and has been happening quite a bit as the Grizzly population has been left unchecked. As a result, the Black Bear population is suffering in the Yellowstone area.

    Shorter version; hunting is needed for a lot of reasons.

    • The same thing happens when a wolf pack moves into an area: the wolves kill off every coyote and fox they can find.

  6. I was sort of hoping all the kids at the Pubix die in would show up for the great grizzly bear hunt with them being the prey.

  7. Any requirements on firearms to be used? Obviously clean, humane kill is paramount, but I would like to see a Glock 29 only requirement. Maybe with a backup guide with a 12 gauge and .300 WinMag to rescue the tag winner’s body~~ who put bells on his shoelaces.

  8. Sad to say when it comes to humans v/s animals the animals always lose. Its noble to try and bring back our extinct flora and fauna but there was a reason the illegal white immigrants, who murdered all the Indians, killed off all the dangerous animals, the animals both dangerous and non-dangerous were either killing people, live stock or destroying crops so they had to go then and will have to go now when they become to numerous.

    Bringing back wolves was also a very bad idea because they kill livestock as well. Of course in civilized countries when a farmer loses live stock because of wolves they get compensated for their loss. Here in Capitalvania the greed mongers and skin flints know its far cheaper just to make the wolves extinct once again. Its the cheap way out.

    Its ironic that if man had been more intelligent and left the buffalo herds the hell alone that the meat he could have harvested was far more healthy to eat and needed no barns to live in than cattle do. When the Indians first were given beef to eat at a joint White/Indian barbecue to promote peace the Indians after tasting the beef told the White People if they kept on eating that garbage it would kill them. How true that turned out to be. Unfortunately for the Indians it was just that the beef did not kill off the white illegal immigrant people fast enough.

    Although most White Suburbanite’s rant against Sportsmen Hunters killing and bringing back African trophies little do they know that the extinction or near extinction of Africa’s big game was not the result of sport hunting or even ivory hunting rather it cam from paid government hunters who were sent into valleys to wipe out every living animal that was either dangerous to people or crops to make room for the new hordes of people now living because of the explosion in the human population that came about because of the miracle of antibiotic’s and the reduction of tribal warfare which for so long kept the human population in check.

      • Yeah that was some crazy rant. There is some truth scattered about here and there but it is mostly an incoherent mess made worse by run on sentences and poor grammar.


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