We believe Jackson Hole can be a national model of a strong community living in balance with nature – with healthy, abundant, and sustainable wildlife populations.
Jackson Hole is a wild place with abundant wildlife, located in the heart of the last remaining large, nearly-intact ecosystem in the Lower 48 – the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Predators like wolves, bears, and mountain lions are an important part of this healthy ecosystem. We are committed to protecting healthy and sustainable populations of all our native species, including wolves and bears.
We oppose sport hunting of wolves in Teton County
Wyoming wolf reintroduction is one of the world’s great conservation stories, and it should be celebrated. We can’t overstate the increased economic value that wolves bring to wildlife watching in Jackson Hole and Teton County. And there is significant science showing the ecological value of top predators in healthy ecosystems.
We recognize the challenges that wolves pose to Wyoming Game & Fish (WGF) managers, and we believe management can accommodate hunting, livestock protection, and sustainable ungulate populations. We believe that WGF could pay greater heed to this community’s values – ecological and economic – when they set hunting seasons and quotas. Hunting impacts on celebrity wolf packs inhabiting Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks should be avoided by reducing or eliminating hunting near park boundaries and focusing hunting pressure on areas further east.
We oppose sport hunting of grizzly bears in Teton County
As with wolves, the growth of the grizzly bear population in the GYE over the last five decades is a conservation success to be celebrated. This outcome is also a clear demonstration of the power of the protections afforded to wildlife under the Endangered Species Act.
We oppose sport hunting of grizzly bears, especially in Teton County, WY, and believe it is unnecessary for managing a stable bear population. We recognize that regulated hunting has played an instrumental role in the management of wildlife in North America, generates funding, and has public support among some sportsmen’s groups. However, there is significant opposition to hunting grizzlies across the nation and in this state. We urge WGF to consider public values, moral and economic, in managing bear hunts.
We strongly believe that the economic values of grizzly bears from a wildlife-viewing perspective should be understood and incorporated into management decisions, as live bears are far more valuable to our economy than dead bears. Any discussion of hunt areas and quotas should account explicitly for the economic and tourism value of live bears. The economy of northwest Wyoming and the whole state depend heavily on wildlife-watching based tourism that requires live bears, visible to the public. Sport hunting bears is likely to impact this economic engine and must be taken into account while deciding upon hunt areas and/or quotas.
What are we doing about wolves & bears?
Hunting is not the only threat to our wolves & bears. While hunting dominates the headlines, wolves & bears regularly die in other completely unnecessary ways. As a local grassroots conservation organization, we’re leading the charge on a number of important strategies that often fly under the radar.
- We’re leading a campaign to fund and build safe wildlife crossings across Teton County – which would prevent the needless death of bears and wolves to vehicle collisions – and maintain movement corridors necessary to genetically-healthy bear populations.
- We’re advocating for best-in-the-nation Natural Resource Protection land development regulations in our Town and County, which would prevent bears being killed for getting in our garbage – something that happens all too often – by requiring everyone use bear-proof garbage cans.
- We’re proposing a balanced vision for the future of Snow King that doesn’t harm the wolves & bears who are protected by the current operating boundaries – and are under threat from a major proposed expansion.
- And we’re building support for a countywide conservation action plan, with shared goals and funding tools, to protect the habitat that all our native species – including wolves & bears – need in order to survive.
What about advocacy at the state and federal level?
Most wolf and bear management decisions aren’t made here, and the hard truth is that we don’t have much influence over decision-makers in Cheyenne and DC, so we aren’t investing significant resources in trying to influence them.
We applaud and support our partners who are pursuing strategies and advocacy efforts that we hope will be effective. These are often statewide, regional or national groups with more influence in Cheyenne and DC. They’re working directly on the ground – like the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) installing bear food storage boxes on our public lands and working with ranchers to implement non-lethal measures to protect private livestock grazing on our public lands.
We applaud our partners’ work, we don’t want to duplicate their efforts, and we’ll highlight their good work when we can.
Overall: we’re taking the actions we think will have the greatest impact, we applaud our partners for their great work, and we strongly encourage all community members to get involved directly.
If you are interested in the current status of grizzly or wolf hunting or other wildlife issues, and would like to learn how to get involved, please contact our Conservation Policy Manager, Leah Zamesnik, at email@example.com.