The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 38 - 5/18/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Black Bear Hunters Urged to Positively Identify Their Target
LANDER - Two grizzly bears mistakenly identified and shot for black bears this spring has the Wyoming Game and Fish Department urging black bear hunters to be 100 percent certain of their target.
"Black bear hunters need to realize they could encounter a grizzly bear anywhere in the Yellowstone Ecosystem," said Dave Moody, the G&F's large predator coordinator.
Moody says that grizzly bears are expanding their range in Wyoming and could be encountered from Cody to Pinedale to Jackson.
"Color and size are not a reliable ways to tell a grizzly from a black bear," Moody said. "The animals can be the same color, and a juvenile grizzly may be no larger than an adult black bear."
He says the threatened grizzly's distinctive "dished" or concave face and hump between its shoulders are the best identifying features. Black bears have a straight slope from their forehead to their nose and no hump. Black bears also have shorter and darker claws than grizzlies.
"Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference in heavy cover," said Moody, who serves as Wyoming's head bear biologist in his position. "So when you don't know, don't shoot. One of the first things taught in hunter education is to always be positive of your target."
Sketches and diagrams to help identify the two species are found on page 23 of the Black Bear Hunting Regulations. Additional literature to help identify bears is available at G&F offices.
The grizzly bears, both males, were shot near Cody and Meeteetse this spring. Investigations of both incidents are ongoing.
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