Last month, professional hunting guide Mark Uptain tragically was killed by a grizzly bear while he and his client were recovering an elk from the backcountry of Wyoming. Since then, Wyoming Game and Fish personnel have been busy dealing with several more situations involving grizzly bears and humans in the northwest part of the state including at least four grizzly bears occupying a corn maze near Clark.
There are also reports of Game and Fish currently assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with two law enforcement investigations involving grizzly bears allegedly being aggressive towards hunters.
“In Park County this weekend our employees have been very active in trying to resolve situations where bears pose a risk to people,” said Brian Nesvik, Chief Game Warden for Game Fish in a department issued press release. “We remind everyone that grizzlies are in places people may not expect and that this is the time of year when bears are seeking high calorie food as they prepare to hibernate.”
Near Wapiti, three grizzly bears were frequenting a residential area eating pet food and were even filmed trying to enter the backdoor of an occupied house. In the Game and Fish release, Nesvik reminded people to secure human and pet food, garbage and big game meat to ensure bears aren’t inadvertently attracted to places near people.
Grizzly bears are now considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act due to the recent decision of a Montana judge. This change means that the final decisions about law enforcement and how to deal with bears that get into conflicts with people are made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has a “Bear Wise” program devoted to reducing conflicts with bears and there are many resources on Game and Fish’s website to help you stay safe.