Annual grizzly bear capture report available

WGF 2-17-21

The 2020 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, Game and Fish manages grizzly bears in Wyoming under the direction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During 2020, in response to over 200 conflicts, Game and Fish captured 26 individual grizzly bears in an attempt to prevent or resolve them. Most captures were adult males. 

“In comparison to some previous years, we had relatively low conflict in suitable habitat for bears,” said Brian DeBolt, large carnivore conflict coordinator. “Game and Fish tries to mitigate conflicts with proactive strategies and a great deal of educational efforts for people living, working and recreating in these areas. However, sometimes a direct management action is necessary to minimize human-bear conflicts.”

Nine grizzly bears were relocated to U.S. Forest Service land in or adjacent to the core grizzly bear habitat referred to as the “recovery zone.”  

DeBolt notes that increased recreation was a concern for managers in 2020. But, the abundance of the grizzly’s natural foods — and bear-wise practices by many recreationists — made a difference, thus preventing the need for captures and relocations due to conflict. 

“We’ll continue to prioritize efforts like Bear Wise Wyoming, a program that teaches people how to live with bears and minizine conflict potential while recreating outdoors,” DeBolt said.  

Grizzly bears are relocated or removed in accordance with state and federal laws, regulations and policy. More about how the Game and Fish manages grizzly bears in Wyoming is available online. Game and Fish also continues to educate the public about how to proactively live and recreate in bear country to avoid conflicts as part of our Bear Wise Wyoming program.