Hunters Kill Grizzly Bear In Grand Teton National Park, Claim Self-Defense

Hunters looking for elk in Grand Teton National Park on Thanksgiving Day wound up killing a grizzly bear they said suddenly charged them. The incident prompted calls for the park to bring a halt to the annual elk hunts, but the fact remains more bears are killed by motorists than hunters in the park.

In fact, this marked the first time a grizzly has been killed by a hunter in Grand Teton in its 62-year history, according to Grand Teton spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles. At the same time, at least one, and possibly two, grizzlies have been the victims of motorists this year, she said.

“There are many more bears (grizzlies and black bears) killed each year by vehicles. There are several bears killed each year by vehicles on park roads. We had a grizzly bear killed by a vehicle this year on a park road," she said Monday. “There was another adult grizzly bear found in the northern portion of Grand Teton in late September, early October, that likely was vehicle-caused. There was never a report of a vehicle hitting that animal, but it was attributed to being hit by a vehicle.”

In the latest incident, a trio of hunters was working their way along the east side of the Snake River between Schwabachers Landing and Teton Point Overlook about 7:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day when the boar reportedly charged them. A few minutes later the men called the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center to report the matter.

When rangers arrived on the scene to begin an investigation, the remains of a cow elk were found not too far from where the shooting occurred, the park reported.

“The carcass was several days old and had been partially consumed," Ms. Anzelmo-Sarles said. "We don’t know what caused the elk to die. We don’t know if it was a natural death, caused by a predator, or caused by a human.”

Called in to investigate the shooting were law enforcement rangers, park biologists and park science and resource management personnel. Additionally, since grizzly bears are listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was made aware of the incident.

Because Grand Teton is a long, narrow park, and falls within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, park officials don't keep an official count of grizzlies within the park's borders. However, Ms. Anzelmo-Sarles pointed out, there are an estimated 600 grizzlies in the ecosystem.

This is the 51st known or probable grizzly bear mortality in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for 2012, according to a tally maintained by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. In recent years, on average, about one-third of annual grizzly bear mortalities are hunting related.

Among those criticizing the Park Service for conducting the "elk reduction program" hunt after the grizzly killing was Tom Mangelsen, a well-known wildlife photographer who lives in Jackson, Wyoming.

“I came from a very long and strong hunting background, but this is not a hunt,” Mangelsen told the Jackson Hole Daily. “It increases bad behavior. People are chasing elk in their vehicles while on their cellphones. They’re herd shooting.”

Ms. Anzelmo-Sarles couldn't say Monday whether the park had seen a rise in the number of complaints about the hunt following the shooting of the bear.

“There are always strong opinions on programs like this in national parks. And we routinely receive feedback from members of the community, from the American public, with varying opinons on the issue," she said. "I don’t know if there necessarily has been an uptick on the number of people (calling), but there certainly are some outspoken and vocal opponents to the elk reduction program.”

The elk reduction program, authorized by Congress, is designed to control the size of the Jackson Hole elk herd and is held each fall. This year the hunt started on October 6 and closes on December 2.

Comments

...portion of the letter sent to Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott:

Superintendent Scott:

The most recent ten days of the Grand Teton National Park Elk Reduction hunt has resulted in two of YOUR deputized rangers fighting over an elk carcass which elevated to a point where law enforcement had to be called in, a storm of lead bullets aimlessly fired by YOUR deputized rangers into a panicked herd of elk resulting in seven elk killed and seven elk wounded and left to suffer to eventual death, several bull elk shot and wounded by YOUR deputized rangers left to die and not reported, YOUR deputized rangers racing to Schwabacher Landing shooting elk from the parking lot and their vehicles, YOUR deputized rangers killing several elk in a closed area, and three of YOUR deputized rangers tearing apart a grizzly bear with SEVEN lead bullets.

...Grand Teton National Park is out of control, dangerous and deadly. ...a mockery is being made of America's Best Idea!

You should immediately CLOSE the entire Grand Teton National Park Snake River bottom to hunting protecting not only your "qualified and experienced" deputized ranger hunters but grizzly mom 610 and her three cubs and grizzly mom 399.

It should be noted that in Mr. Mayo's comment above, "deputized rangers" refers to hunters who received permits to for the elk reduction program. They are deputized only during their hunt, and are not part of the park's full-time ranger force.--Ed.

It should be noted that the National Park Service are and have been actively committing FRAUD by deputizing hunters as National Park Service Rangers in efforts to circumvent the 1942 International Treaty for Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere signed by North and South American countries which banned HUNTING in National Parks!

Sorry Mayo, looks to me like they are doing exactly what the treaty calls for:

"The Contracting Governments agree to prohibit hunting,
killing and capturing of members of the fauna and destruction or
collection of representatives of the flora in national parks
except by or under the direction or control of the park
authorities, or for duly authorized scientific investigation"

Besides - Kurt has already assured us this is a cull not a hunt.

I recommend that you (Founding Fathers) & Kurt make a point of experiencing the "cull" first hand...