To the editor:
We want to continue the discussion about bear safety in Wyoming because this is a critical matter for us at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Over the last 12 years we have been running a program called Bear Wise, which focuses on keeping people safe and reducing human-bear conflicts.
As part of this program here are a few things Game and Fish does:
• Bear safety education for thousands of people across the state.
• Every individual that goes through hunter safety learns about large carnivore safety and hunting in bear country.
• Partner with sportsmen groups to give out bear spray specifically to hunters.
• Put Bear Awareness messaging on the back of every set of Big Game regulations including how and when to use bear spray.
We have created videos to show people how to properly use bear spray and more importantly how to prevent encounters with bears.
Through our educational efforts we teach bear biology and ecology so that outdoor enthusiasts can first learn how to prevent encounters, conflicts and then how to react if they do encounter a bear. Lastly, we teach the proper way to respond in the rare case of an aggressive-defensive attack.
We recommend that anyone recreating in bear country be prepared and carry either bear spray, a firearm or both. At the end of the day, we don’t want to see anyone seriously injured or killed by a bear, and if a bear is killed in defense of human life we understand that is the reality of having large carnivores on the landscape and we will factor that loss into future management.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has been working on the ground to recover grizzly bears for over four decades. Now that the state has management authority over grizzly bears we are dedicated to ensuring their recovery long into the future.
Some good news is that since Wyoming and the other states took over management of grizzly bears there were fewer grizzly bears mortalities than last year when bears were under federal control.
Be safe and please ask more questions.
(s) brian nesvik
Chief of Wildlife Division
Wyoming Game and Fish