Grizzlies to lose special status

US officials to lift Yellowstone grizzly bear protections

About time! There are now 700 grizzlies just in Yellowstone, who knows how many more there are. Until the 1980s grizzlies were pretty much only found in the back country of Yellowstone. Then a rancher from Jackson Hole obtained a federal grazing permit for lands at or near togwotee (toe-guh-tee) pass. See map at left, the tear drop marks togwotee pass. As you can see, grizzlies out of Yellowstone had no problem getting there. They could smell the aroma of an all-you-eat beef smorgasbord they probably thought was made just for them.

Running cattle in a remote area some of it above timberline with grizzly bears close by was not a good idea for the rancher. It also brought a profound change for the rest of Jackson Hole in that it brought grizzlies to the Tetons where they had not been not been present for decades.

Suddenly back country hiking in Jackson Hole was not the same. Hikers had to learn new tricks. It’s not that suddenly there were lots of maulings, there weren’t. It’s just that when a mauling does occur you sure want it to be somebody else.

Bear spray became mandatory, even if it doesn’t work. It doesn’t but unless you experience it for yourself I guess you will believe that it does. You could always put the matter to an easy test. Go outside when the wind is blowing, as it usually is on mountain trails, and let loose with a burst of the stuff and see what happens.

In a sudden bear attack you will want to know which way the wind is blowing. You could call King’s X while you hold up a wet finger, but the griz probably won’t play fair.

Only way to stop a griz determined to kill you is a great big hard cast lead bullet weighing at least 300 grains and going 1300 feet per second. It will go in a straight line [at least within bear attack distance] no matter which way the wind is blowing. You might need a little training before you try it though.

When they are hunted, which will happen eventually, I predict they will become better behaved around humans. That will be a better environment for both man and bear.

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