U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moving forward with proposed rule to delist grizzly bears
Governor Matt Mead and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department are pleased the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is taking steps to remove grizzly bears from the endangered species list in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
CHEYENNE – “We have been working for several years with the Secretary of Interior and the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service one on one, along with our staffs to get to this decision. The proposed rule is to delist grizzly bears. Grizzly bears are recovered and have been for more than a decade. It is a great success story,” said Governor Mead. “I look forward to continued work with the Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana and Idaho as we move to a final rule later this year.”
The grizzly bear was first listed as threatened in 1975, when biologists estimated as few as 136 bears in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Now there are estimated to be more than 700.
“Grizzly bears have exceeded all recovery goals. Delisting the grizzly bear is good for the species, for Wyoming and for the West,” said Governor Mead.
The USFWS will now accept public comment on the proposed rule and an accompanying conservation strategy and has committed to complete delisting by the end of the summer.
“We are committed to maintaining a recovered grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Area into the future,” said Scott Talbott, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Wyoming has already contributed over $40 million dollars to grizzly conservation and recovery. We need to recognize the commitment of Wyoming stakeholders such as sportsmen, ranchers, conservationists, outdoor recreationists and other users of the Greater Yellowstone Area.”
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will soon release the draft Grizzly Bear Management Plan and the draft three-state Memorandum of Agreement and embark on a comprehensive process of public review and input. The public is encouraged to offer written comments and attend multiple public meetings held throughout Wyoming. All of this will be considered before a presentation and recommendations are made to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.
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Antlered means a deer, elk, or moose that has visible antler growth plainly protruding from the skull. Where a minimum number of antler points are specified, points shall be counted on the side with the greater number of points.
Antlerless means a deer, elk, or moose that has no antler growth plainly protruding from the skull. Females and young-of-the-year without visible antlers are antlerless big game animals.
Calf means young-of-the-year elk or young-of-the-year moose.
Cow means an adult female elk or an adult female moose.
National Elk Refuge Permit means a permit that allows a properly licensed elk hunter to access the National Elk Refuge to take an elk.
Point means any protrusion from an antler one (1) inch or more in length.
Spike Elk means an elk with antlers consisting of a single unbranched beam on both sides.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of deer, elk and moose. Special regulations below were formulated to decrease the spread of the disease. Details about CWD, where it exists in Wyoming and testing for CWD can be found here.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will be collecting tissue samples at various check stations and meat processing facilities for CWD prevalence. Hunters wishing to have their animal tested outside the Department’s surveillance program may have an animal tested at the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab (WSVL) in Laramie for a fee. Hunters need to contact the WSVL at 307-766-9925 for testing details and cost.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and public health officials recommend not eating any animal that is obviously ill and wearing rubber/latex gloves when field dressing an animal as a general precaution against all diseases.
It shall be the purpose of this section to regulate the transportation and disposal of potentially CWD infected deer, elk and moose carcasses to areas outside of the hunt areas with CWD and potentially reduce the spread of the disease to other areas in and outside of Wyoming. Hunters may obtain current CWD information on the Department’s website.
(a) No deer, elk or moose taken or possessed from any hunt area shall be transported to any other hunt area within Wyoming or to any other state, province or country except as provided in this section.
(b) Deer, elk and moose carcasses harvested from any hunt area in Wyoming may be transported within Wyoming to a camp, a private residence for processing, a taxidermist, a processor, or a CWD sample collection site in Wyoming, provided the head and all portions of the spinal column remain at the site of the kill or such parts are disposed of in any approved landfill in Wyoming.
(c) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, only the following parts of any deer,elk or moose harvested from any hunt area in Wyoming may be transported to any other hunt area in Wyoming: edible portions with no part of the spinal column or head attached; cleaned hide without the head; skull plate or antlers that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue;teeth; or finished taxidermy mounts.
(d) Only the following parts of any deer, elk or moose harvested from any hunt areas in Wyoming may be transported to other states, provinces or countries: edible portions with no part of the spinal column or head attached; cleaned hide without the head; skull plate or antlers that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue; teeth; or finished taxidermy mounts. Whole deer,elk and moose carcasses harvested from any area shall not be transported out of Wyoming.
(e) Nothing in this section shall allow for the removal of evidence of sex or species required by Section 6 of this regulation.
(f) Nothing in this section shall apply to the transportation or disposal of deer, elk and moose carcasses by any governmental agency or educational institution.
(a) No deer, elk or moose taken from within any other state, province or country within areas designated by the appropriate jurisdictional agency as positive for CWD in either deer, elk or moose shall be imported into Wyoming except harvested deer, elk or moose carcasses may be imported or transported into Wyoming to a private residence for processing, to a taxidermist, to a processor or to a CWD sample collection site in Wyoming provided the head and all portions of the spinal column are disposed of in an approved landfill.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this Section, only the following parts of any deer,elk or moose harvested may be imported: edible portions with no part of the spinal column or head attached; cleaned hide without the head; skull plate or antlers cleaned of all meat and brain tissue; teeth; or finished taxidermy mounts that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue.