Wyoming Outdoorsmen would like to respond to the billboards around Cody and possibly other communities in the state put up by the Wyoming Wildlife Advocates.
While the grizzly bear picture is beautiful, the message is not responsible advertising. It states “Live Wildlife brings jobs to Wyoming. Our economy needs Grizzlies now more than ever.”
We feel this is another “ploy” being used by anti-hunting groups to get funding and support from the unsuspecting public traveling through our community. Most of the visitors to Wyoming have no idea of the problems created by grizzlies due to the lack of control and management that has resulted from the grizzly being kept on the endangered species list.
Billboards such as these, and advocate groups with hundreds of thousands of dollars, continue to play on the emotions of the people and derail any responsible management of grizzlies put forth by the State of Wyoming.
Wyoming is probably one of the most unique states in the United States with our diverse species of wildlife. The Game and Fish Department has done an outstanding job of management of numbers based on science and by utilizing hunting programs as a management tool to achieve proper population goals. Just as with game animals, the numbers of predator species must also be controlled by science-based management objectives.
Not long ago, a term was coined in the field of wildlife management. It is called “cultural carrying capacity” and refers to the number of animals of any species that people will tolerate cohabiting the same living space. Grizzly bears in Northwest Wyoming exceeded their “cultural carrying capacity” some time ago as evidenced by the attitudes and measures all reasonable outdoor enthusiasts (not just hunters and anglers) must take into consideration before venturing into the outdoors; carrying bear spray, foghorns, whistles and firearms in anticipation of a very likely grizzly encounter.
Jobs are not being “created” because of the grizzly, and our economy certainly won’t grow because of the grizzly. Finances are being pushed to the limit to comply with the federal requirements placed on Wyoming.
Wyoming has been burdened by the expense of keeping the grizzlies and the public safe. Instead of simply euthanizing problem bears killing livestock or even attacking people, offering a $10,000 license and a list of drawn hunters on call, would put responsible control into the hands of the state and at least problem bears would provide some recovery funds for G&F.
Advocate groups put few dollars, if any, into the management of the grizzly. Their dollars seem to go to billboards, propaganda to raise funds, and lawsuits to keep the grizzly listed. A little common sense on the part of advocate groups would go a long way in allowing the G&F, who work on a daily basis in the field and have first-hand knowledge of what is needed, to do their jobs and manage “all wildlife” in Wyoming.
(The Wyoming Outdoorsmen consists of a coalition of sportsmen and sportswomen established to promote the improvement of hunting, fishing, trapping, quality habitat programs)