Grizzly Bear Shot and Killed in Grand Teton National Park

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Date: November 22, 2012
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3431

A party of three hunters participating in the Elk Reduction Program in Grand Teton National Park encountered, shot and killed an adult male grizzly bear around 7:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. The incident was reported to Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 7:32 a.m. The bear reportedly charged the hunting party comprised of three men from Wyoming, ages 48, 20 and 17. No people were injured. The incident occurred along the east side of the Snake River between Schwabachers Landing and Teton Point Overlook.

A team of law enforcement rangers, park biologists and park science and resource management personnel are conducting an investigation into the incident. Access was temporarily limited from east of the east bank of the Snake River between Schwabachers Landing and Teton Point Overlook to facilitate the investigation.

A cow elk carcass was discovered near where the incident occurred. A half mile area closure around the carcass is in effect until further notice.

This is the 51st known or probable grizzly bear mortality in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) 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. This is the first hunter caused bear mortality in Grand Teton National Park. Grizzly bears in the lower 48 states, including in the GYE, are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

All hunters participating in the Elk Reduction Program in Grand Teton National Park are required to carry bear spray and have it immediately available. They are also provided a bear information and safety packet that stresses the following guidelines:

  • Hunt with a partner. Carry bear spray (required).
  • Avoid "dark" timber during mid-day when bears may be using a day-bed.
  • Have a predetermined plan of action for retrieving harvested game from the field.
  • Be extra cautious after making a kill and when hunting in areas where animals have recently been harvested.
  • Avoid hunting in areas where fresh bear sign is repeatedly observed.
  • Avoid gut piles.

The individuals involved had permits to participate in the Elk Reduction Program in Wyoming hunt area 75. Rangers remind park users that only those who have been issued a permit to participate in the park's Elk Reduction Program can lawfully take elk in Grand Teton National Park. The Elk Reduction Program is a cooperative management tool used to regulate elk population numbers and was established by Congress in the 1950 enabling legislation that created Grand Teton National Park.

More information will be forthcoming as it is available.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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