Over the past decade, grizzly bear mortality due to human conflict has steadily increased in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem (GYE) and Northern Continental Divide ecosystem (NCDE). Big game hunters have emerged as a leading cause of grizzly bear mortality. Despite a precipitous drop in the number of hunters in recent decades, there has been a three-fold increase in bear deaths due to conflicts with hunters in the last 11 years.
Fortunately, such mortality could be addressed by, among other things, requiring hunters and outfitters in the GYE to carry bear pepper spray. Clear precedence for this exists on both Grand Teton Park and Montana's Bureau of Land Management Dillon District.
Bear pepper spray not only reduces bear mortality. (Its use stopped grizzly bears 92% of the time in close encounters with hunters.) It saves humans lives as well. Indeed, studies have found that 98% of people carrying bear pepper spray, who encountered bears, escaped uninjured. The same is NOT the case when people encountering a bear resort to using a firearm.
If we are to reduce human-caused mortality of grizzly bears, the Forest Service and state fish and game departments in the surrounding states need to take action. As the agents that license big game hunting and outfitting, they are responsible for ensuring the safety of both bears and hunters.
Therefore, we request that 1) the United States Forest Service, 2) Wyoming Game and Fish Department, 3) Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department, 4) Idaho Fish and Game Department and 5) U.S Fish and Wildlife Service address the increased mortality of GYE and NCDE grizzly bears due to conflict with hunters and outfitters by:
(A) Offering mandatory classes on bear safety that include proper use of bear pepper spray as well as other precautionary measures to avoid conflicts. These include but are not limited to, cleaning up camps and removing carcasses from backcountry within a timely manner.
(B) Requiring outfitters and hunters in the GYE and NCDE to carry bear pepper spray.
Specifically, individuals obtaining a license to hunt in the GYE, NCDE including on national forests lands, regardless of age, should be required to carry and have immediately accessible bear pepper spray as a non-lethal deterrent for use during potential bear encounters. These individuals must have completed a class on the proper use of bear pepper spray and bear safety prior to obtaining said license.
We request that you address this matter immediately to prevent further loss of both human life and the lives of GYE and NCDE grizzly bears.
#BearSpraySavesLives #BearAware #BearSprayNotBullets
This Petition is in honor of the loss of Scarface, a famed 25-year-old Yellowstone grizzly bear who was shot three times at close range with a .30 caliber rifle by an elk hunter in late 2015.
Read his story here:
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