Will grizzly bear deaths be so high again this year that Yellowstone grizzlies go back on the threatened species list?

Good vegetation conditions this year should keep grizzly deaths down, but it’s not clear that they are-

Another year like 2008  and the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear population goes back on the threatened species list.

Federal, state wildlife agencies launch campaign to prevent grizzly bear killings. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press.



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  1. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Are environmentalists stupid? Forget about bear spray and focus on meaningful issues.

  2. jdubya Avatar

    Such as?

  3. Jeff Avatar

    Dave I can’t believe your hang up with bear spray, it is a great non-lethal deterent that seems to be more effective than a firearm. The only folks required to carry it that I know of are elk hunters in GTNP. Why do you get so wound up over a free market choice for personal protection?

  4. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith


    “There were 201 grizzly bear-human conflicts reported in the GYE in 2007. These incidents included bears obtaining anthropogenic food (47%, n=87), killing livestock (24%, n=49), damaging property (18%, n=37) [property damage typically results from bears attempting to obtain anthropogenic food], obtaining apples from orchards (9%, n=19), etc.” p.42, Yellowstone Grizzly Investigations 2007, Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team http://nrmsc.usgs.gov/files/norock/products/IGBST/2007report.pdf

    Bear spray is a red herring. If you’re an anti-hunter and you want a real issue concerning grizzly bear mortality, focus on black bear hunting in grizzly country. Years of effort at “education” to prevent black bear hunters from killing grizzlies have failed. State and federal agencies actually do a good job of helping hunters tell the difference between black bears and grizzlies. But it ain’t working. Black bear hunters don’t get it. Or don’t care. Instead of more failed efforts to “educate” black bear hunters, it’s time to change strategy—stiff fines, lifetime loss of all hunting privilages, etc.

  5. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Jeff–if you choose to buy bear spray and carry it, be my guest. Just don’t tell me I have to buy it and carry it.

    Bear spray works for hikers, therefore bear spray will work for hunters is as stupid as air bags in autos work for adults, therefore air bags in autos will work for infants.

  6. Jeff Avatar

    Saving grizzlies and reducing unintended deaths takes a multitude of answers as it is a complex scenario. Managing livestock and trash are huge issues, educating hunters is a huge issue (all big game hunters not just black bear and elk), protecting habitat and migration corridors, highway crossings, etc…Bear spray is a piece of this equation and it has been proven effective. I know you think it is too cumbersome as a hunter and it won’t work in all scenarios but what if you were hunting and spotted a grizzly 100 yards away and it was wandering your way? Might bear spray work in this non-surprise encounter? The answer is clearly yes, will it work in a short range surprise probably not…for the benefit of all bears (and other predators) all backcountry users should use it even if you are opposed to it being required.

  7. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Jeff–Fixing garbage, unnatural food and livestock problems will reduce grizzly mortality, and reduce the risk of grizzly bear-related human injuries and deaths. Forcing big game hunters to carry bear spray won’t reduce grizzly mortality, but does increase the risk of bear-related human injuries and deaths. Why glom onto “hunters should carry bear spray and know how to use it,” while ignoring real issues that can and should be dealt with?

    Bear spray is a red herring. Enviros have been duped. Waste of time and financial resources.

  8. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Grizzly bear mortality limits are based on some complex formula based on 2-3 year averages of bear mortality vs. bear population; the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee could tell us right now what the limits are for 2009.

    Of course, US Fish & Wildlife Service Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator Chris Servheen controls that data. Good ol’ Chris says the public should go piss up a rope and leave it to the experts.

  9. Craig K Avatar
    Craig K

    Since I’m quoted in the article, I’ll chime in here.
    Dave, as you can probably guess Matt B and I talked about a lot of mortality causes. With hunting season coming up, I mentioned Grand Teton’s rule. You and I will have to agree to disagree re effectiveness(I recognize the challenges of having a rifle in hand and spray on the hip, but having it right there when gutting makes a lot of sense.)
    What I think we can agree on and we are working on is dealing w. all the causes of mortality like the work we are doing re garbage in Island Park,habitat protection,etc.

  10. Jeff Avatar

    Dave-You avoided my non-surprise grizzly encounter scenario. Clearly some bears have learned from bear spray and have lived to see and breed another day. Insisting it is a red herring with no value in the overall process of reducing grizzly deaths is silly.

  11. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Craig–The endless fight of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and other conservation organizations on behalf of grizzly bears is much appreciated. But bear spray for hunters needs . . . umm, refinement.

    1.) Forget bear spray vs. bullets, and focus on bear spray or bullets. There are times when bear spray is a legitimate option for hunters, and there are times when it is not.

    2.) Convince hunters that bear spray works. Research clearly shows that bear spray has worked for hikers and non-hunters, even on charging grizzly bears. Stick to the facts rather than making bogus bear spray vs. bullets comparisons. Point out that T. Smith has noted that even inexperienced hikers unfamiliar with how to operate bear spray have managed to use it successfully under duress.

    3.) Conservation orgs are not winning the hearts and minds of hunters by telling them they’re lousy shots, so bear spray is a better bet. Most hunters are poor shots, ill-prepared to face a charging grizzly. But telling them that is like telling them they’re short-peckered premature ejaculators and you’ve got the cure. You need to find a better way to approach the issue. No red blooded American male hunter wants to hear that he’s a poor shot.

    In a way, it’s a marketing issue. Just as Dodge is trying to convince men a 382hp gas guzzling macho truck will get them laid, gun/hunting magazines are trying to convince them they need a .375 H & H magnum to kill a bear. That’s w-a-y more recoil and muzzle blast than most men can handle. Most men would be better off with a .30/30. They buy the .375 oh shit of dear Magnum and pretend it doesn’t bother them. So convincing them bear spray can be a legit alternative is a hard sell.

    4.) Stress that bear spray is a really good idea when field dressing game. Your rifle or bear spray is going to be on the ground while you’re gutting and quartering game with a knife. Much quicker to grab bear spray, point it towards a bear, and use it.

    5.) Urge hunters to carry bear spray while in camp. Who wants to wear a 47 oz. pistol on their hip when a 7.9 oz can of bear spray will do? If you spot a curious bear 75 yards from camp, you’ll have time to get a rifle or pistol and fire a warning shot. If the bear still continues to approach, it’s going to be walking in, not charging. 1st try bear spray when the bear is within range. If the bear keeps coming, shoot it. Recently, a commercial hunting outfitter killed a grizzly he was “hazing” away from camp. C’mon, if you’ve got a scoped rifle, there’s no excuse for shooting the bear rather than shooting 3 feet behind it.

    5.) The GYC, Sierra Club, Montana Dept. of FWP who insist hunters should carry bear spray and know how to use it, should demonstrate how to use bear spray while carrying a rifle with the shoulder carry, two-hand/safe carry, etc. It can’t be done safely or effectively. You’ve got a nano-second to react during a surprise encounter with a griz. No firearms instructor in the world is going to tell hunters to use bear spray. No law enforcement agency will back the bear spray cult on this one. Ask around. Check it out. You need to talk with the enemy–NRA firearms instructors. Conservation organizations and state and federal agencies have lost all credibility with hunters on this issue.

    If you try using bear spray while carrying a rifle, you’ll give up on the idea and move on to more productive areas.

    5a.) Having said that, I would still urge hunters to carry bear spray and keep it readily accessible. There have been times when hunters got charged and had their rifle knocked away. At that point, bear spray might come in handy.

    6.) Please, please, please drop the BS about research proving bear spray is more effective than a firearm. There’s no data on firearms. T. Smith and S. Herrero are working on a study. It has not been published yet. There’s no basis for comparison. Preliminary data on guns vs bears in Alaska is meaningless. Guns worked 65-72% of the time. Yes, but are those numbers for hunters armed with modern rifles, or homesteaders armed with a dilipated 25/35 held together with duct tape? Nobody knows, because the research has not been peer-reviewed and published.

  12. Craig K Avatar
    Craig K

    thanks for all your thoughts. Funny enough, I recently had a discussion w. someone about the cultural issue you cited(our language was less colorful):
    “Conservation orgs are not winning the hearts and minds of hunters by telling them they’re lousy shots, so bear spray is a better bet. Most hunters are poor shots, ill-prepared to face a charging grizzly. But telling them that is like telling them they’re….”
    We do need to deal with this dynamic. I’m a poor enough shot that it doesn’t bother me to admit to it, but for some people agreeing that they should carry something they consider the twin of mace in a purse is a big issue.

  13. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    it’s time to change strategy—stiff fines, lifetime loss of all hunting privilages, etc.

    That could be a better means of preventing grizzly deaths.

  14. Devin Avatar

    I think education is the best answer.

    Fines and punishments would serve some purpose but I don’t think that they will ultimately prevent a threatened human from reacting against a bear they feel is a threat. Do stiff penalties against murder prevent crimes of passion?

    People need to be better educated on grizzly/black bear differences and be better educated on how to diffuse the situation without relying on either pepper spray or firearms. There is alot of information out there about bears that people do not know…like looking a grizzly in the eyes and debunking myths about grizzlies and hills and trees. But even education won’t work all of the time.

    In the end, I don’t think there is any ultimate solution to human caused deaths as long as hunters remain. I’m not advocating a ban of hunting because I don’t feel I have a right to do it. Hunters give bears no sign of their presence and that will not change. The name of the game is concealment and often that results in encounters.

  15. Craig Avatar

    As a Hunter, I would say the best solution would be to lose your hunting privleges for life for mistaking a Grizzly for a Black Bear. There is know excuse, if you are not sure of your target don’t shoot!!! But people will lie and claim self defense, it’s a two bladed sword! Unfortunatly there are losers out there that don’t care and would lie to cover there own ass! I have NEVER shot a Doe or Cow because I didn’t know what I was shooting at! I have not took many shots because of heavy cover,other animals mixed in ect., it’s called ethics and it needs to be the main thing instilled in a hunter! When one loses site of that, you are not a Hunter you are just a poacher….period take responsibility!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Jeff Avatar

    Dave thanks for clarifying your stance, for a while I was thinking you actually felt bear spray was a complete myth. I definetly understand the akwardness of the bear spray on the belt and two hands on my rifle, though I continue to carry my bear spray throughout my hunts in NW Wyoming even on the BTNF where it isn’t required.
    While sneaking alone in north facing timber I have contemplated the scenario on more than one occasion and can only hope it never becomes reality. The plus side of having the spray on one’s hip is that after one gets steamrolled by an angry grizzly’s first charge and your rifle flies out of your hand, the spray is still likely to be on one’s belt when he/she comes back the second time. .. I don’t really like contemplating these “what ifs” but having spent the last decade hunting solo up here it has ceratinly made me keenly aware of my own mortality. In essence your not opposed to Bear spray, but you think public land managers have done a lousy job of selling its benefits and addressing the issue of rifle safety and effective bear spray use?

  17. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    As a Hunter, I would say the best solution would be to lose your hunting privleges for life for mistaking a Grizzly for a Black Bear.

    I agree, there is no reason to mistake the two just as there is no reason to mistake a wolf and coyote.

  18. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Public land managers have done a lousy job of delivering the maximum benefits of bear spray to hikers. In Yellowstone and Glacier, we’ve got about the same number of hikers today as we did in the 1980s. Despite a vast increase in the percentage of hikers carrying bear spray, the number of bear-related human injuries in the backcountry has not dropped. Three problems. One, agencies fail to emphasize to hikers that they need to practice getting out their bear spray quickly so they can use it effectively during a sudden encounter. Two, agencies fail to provide adequate warning about bear spray fostering overconfidence. From photographers like Jim Cole and Tim Rubbert, to trail runners racing alone through griz habitat at dawn, overconfidence in bear spray has people ignoring well known advice on bear avoidance. Three, research has not shown that one brand of bear spray works better than another–any brand of EPA registered bear spray will do. But bear spray literature goes on and on and on and on and on trying to justify Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee “guidelines” that bear spray should have a 25 foot range, and a spray durarion of at least 6 seconds.

    Instead of getting pertinent information on how to use bear spray, hikers get a sales pitch for one brand of bear spray.

    For hunters, yes, public land managers have done a terrible job of selling hunters on the benefits of bear spray. I forgot to mention that most archery hunters would probably be better off with bear spray than a pistol.

    I’d be complimenting public land managers if I said they did a lousy job of addressing the issue of rifle safety and effective bear spray use. They’re criminally negligent. The next time a big game hunter gets injured by a grizzly, I hope the agencies get sued for $ millions for pretending that bear spray is an alternative to a firearm in normal deer and elk hunting situations.

  19. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I want to point out the benefits of spray for problem animals in general.

    Joggers often carry spray to deter vicious dogs, and hikers would be wise to carry it for dangerous sheep guard dogs. Despite spending hundreds of days and nights in grizzly backcountry I never have had to use it for a bear, but came very close twice with moose.

    Near Pocatello, while hiking with my spouse I came very close to using it on a bull (cattle) that seemed intent on charging.

    It is a lot easier to spray a charging moose than explain the dead moose to a Game and Fish officer.

  20. Firebug Avatar

    These arguments about bear spray ruin every thread about protecting grizzly bears. They’re boring, boring, boring, boring, boring, boring zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  21. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Gee Firebug, why not take up my invitation to focus on the real issues? Share your thoughts on morons putting orchards in grizzly country. Why won’t Wyoming do anything meaningful about forcing citizens to secure garbage from bears? Etc. Balls in your court.

  22. mikarooni Avatar

    One way to address Firebug’s concern and get the discussion back on track and off the anti-bear spray juggernaut might be to simply block the offending anti-bear spray juggernaut poster.

  23. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Mikarooni–anti-bear spray? If you read the posts, it’s clear I advocate bear spray use by hunters in appropriate situations. Any suggestions on other things that could be done to reduce grizzly mortality? Still waiting to hear from Firebug.

    What would you say to banning posters who make personal assaults but fail to post any thoughts or suggestions of their own?

  24. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    mickarooni–how about banning people who post bogus pro-bear spray propoganda? If someone says, “research shows that bear spray is more effective than firearms,” he or she is banned? Thanks to me, we all know there’s no peer-reviewed, published scientific research on firearms. There’s no data on firearms.

    Banning pro bear spray propoganda would lead to realistic, productive discussion about what can be done to reduce human-caused grizzly bear mortality.

  25. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Ok, Ok, Okay!!

    So Dave why don’t you tell us “Why won’t Wyoming do anything meaningful about forcing citizens to secure garbage from bears?”

    And what about the orchards? I don’t know much about them.

  26. JB Avatar

    “Thanks to me, we all know there’s no peer-reviewed, published scientific research on firearms. There’s no data on firearms.”

    Well that’s an ironic argument to hear from you, Dave; seeing as how you’ve been on a crusade against scientific inquiry. I thought we already knew everything we needed to know about bears?

  27. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    A fed bear is a dead bear, and in 2007, 24% of all grizzly bear-human conflicts in the Yellowstone region were due to grizzlies feeding on livestock. We had similar problems in 1997, 1987, and 1977. I think we need to do research on the problem for another 30 years at a cost of $976,451 per year.

  28. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Hey Ralph–Seems to me that grazing livestock on public lands in the Yellowstone region has been a problem for grizzlies for over 30 years. More recently, it’s been a problem for wolves, too. So we could reduce grizzly and wolf mortality if we teamed up to get livestock off public lands in the Yellowstone region. Saves the lives of grizzlies and wolves, and, unlike the moronic bear spray campaign, it won’t result in human injuries or death. Win, win.

    Or should do research on wolf mortality related to livestock grazing on public lands for 30 years before taking action?

  29. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Well I’m not against research, but we know enough about grizzly bears and livestock, especially sheep, that no more studies are needed before action is taken.

    The Western Watersheds Project wants to rid our public lands of livestock. Hank Fischer, I see, is doing a pretty good job around the Greater Yellowstone, getting grazing allotments bought out. I think he is working with the National Wildlife Federation.

    Of course, with the cattle and sheep gone, there will be more of all kinds of wildlife, especially elk, pronghorn (in open areas), and bighorn sheep.

    Many smaller, non-game animals and birds will benefit too.

    The same is true for wolves. If you want more elk, shooting wolves isn’t the answer. It’s eliminating the animals that eat as much as 90% of the elk’s forage. We don’t need studies to know this is true, although more exact measurements might quantify the estimate to a higher degree.

  30. JB Avatar

    Dave, you are the king of the straw man argument.

    Research = systematic inquiry to establish facts.
    Management = actions taken to accomplish some desired goal.

    The two are different. Research is used to inform management actions; however, there is nothing to keep managers from taking action (which they often do) without any research at all. As we’ve already established (multiple times): (a) population monitoring is a requirement of the ESA, and (b) the factors that affect populations interact and change over time.

  31. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    JB–we do know everything we need to know about bears. Now we need to debunk myths and misconceptions about bears. Grizzlies defend their territory, all bears ferociously defend their cubs, bears bluff charge, never make eye contact with a bear, bears are unpredictable, etc., are all old wives tales that just won’t go away. The failure to debunk these myths puts people at risk and fosters intolerance for bears.

    Doing scientific research on the success rate of firearms for self-defense against bears won’t teach us anything meaningful about bears. U.S. Forest Service research on firearms in the 1980s suggested that you needed at least a .308 Winchester with 180 gr. bullets for self-defense in bear country. New research would probably tell us a 7 x 57 Mauser with 140 gr. bullets will do. That doesn’t tell us anything about bears, it tells us about improved bullet design and construction over the past 20 years.

  32. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Ralph–In the Southwest, it’s horrific to see the damage livestock has done to riparian areas. In SE Arizona, cattle were fenced out of the San Pedro River Conservation Area, and it’s now one of the best birding areas in the US. All over the arid western states, getting rid of livestock on public lands would benefit a multitude of wildlife ranging from insects to large carnivores. Of course that’s good for people, too.

  33. JB Avatar

    Again with the straw man. Scientific inquiry is capable of answering different types of questions, not just those for which you believe that we already have the answers.

  34. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    JB–Which benefits Yellowstone grizzly bears more in 2010? Spend $2 million to count bears? Or spending $1 million to provide people with bear proof garbage cans, and another $1 million to enforce regualtions requiring people to use the damn bear proof garbage cans.

    For decades, Juneau, Alaska had a major problem with people feeding bears garbage, Finally, the city required bear proof garbage cans, and hired people to enforce the regs. End of problem. And the fines for non-compliance pay the salaries of people who enforce the regs.

    This ain’t rocket science.

  35. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    JB–any specific research that needs to be done to help grizzly bears and people co-exist in the Yellowstone region? Please list your top three projects.

    I know, I know, you’re tired of the discussion, this is beneath your dignity, it’s obvious, etc.

  36. jburnham Avatar

    I think Dave’s six points on bear spray make a lot of sense. If these aren’t legitimate topics of discussion here, I’m not sure what is.

    I also have to agree with Dave that there are plenty of management actions we could be taking that would have dramatic, positive effects on bears. Things like bear proof garbage cans and enforcement are no brainers; and these are the low hanging fruit. However, I don’t think that ongoing research has anything to do with the failure to implement these management actions. There is simply a lack of political will to implement them, especially if you start talking about changes to hunting seasons, livestock grazing, and anything else that falls under the ‘western heritage’ umbrella. Plus, griz habitat is full of people unfriendly to bears, habitat protection, and any flavor of government mandate.

    I think it’s clear that continuing research and implementing effective management policies are not mutually exclusive.

  37. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I really don’t follow much of the bear debate that goes on so forgive me if I am not up to speed, but a question; If I am in the forest and come upon a bear what should I do if:
    1. the bear is not aware of me
    2. the bear is aware of me
    3. cubs are present
    4. the bear is on a kill
    5. my dog(s) are with me
    6. my 9 yr old daughter is with me, she screams
    7. my wife is with me,and is menstruating
    8. different action with black or grizzly with regard to any of the above

  38. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Jeff E.

    Buy 2 cans of bear spray, but not any brand will do. Buy Counter Assault and $2.00 goes to the Center For Wildlife Misinformation. If you have dogs with you when you encounter a bear, spray the dogs and take a nap. If your 9-year old daughter screams, ask her what’s wrong. Perhaps she sees someone with a can of bear spray in one hand and a Hostess Twinkee in the other hand approaching a bear for a photograph. If you wife is menstruating, put a tampon in your right hand, kotex in your left hand, and let her choose.

  39. JB Avatar

    “Spend $2 million to count bears? Or spending $1 million to provide people with bear proof garbage cans, and another $1 million to enforce regualtions requiring people to use the damn bear proof garbage cans.”


    Your comments suggest that you believe there is a bank account somewhere marked “grizzly bears” and every dollar that goes towards research is taken away from management. That simply isn’t the case. Moreover, as I’ve explained about 47 times, you have to count bears because (a) it is required by law for 5 years post delisting, and (b) if you want to know if your management actions are working (i.e. populations are increasing, or not decreasing, depending upon the objective) then the most basic information is HOW MANY CRITTERS ARE ON THE GROUND and ARE THEY INCREASING OR DECREASING. Yep, it’s expensive. Get over it.

    FYI: I haven’t answered your plea for my top grizzly bear research needs because (a) I’m not a grizzly bear researcher, (b) I don’t presume to know what is considered cutting edge research when it comes to bear ecology and behavior, and (c) frankly, I just don’t care to ponder these things for your amusement. However, because I know you’ll have extremely positive feedback regarding my research agenda, I will offer one suggestion: We agree that both wolves and grizzlies die because of people. Since we (humans) are the primary cause of mortality for these species, if I were the teller at Dave’s grizzly bear bank I’d put the money toward understanding and modifying human behaviors.

    Flame on…

  40. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Overall, Yellowstone National Park does a terrific job of preventing grizzly bear mortality. Conflicts due to livestock grazing on U.S. Forest Service lands are an issue that’s been ignored for years. The issue of garbage/food on private lands killing bears is being ignored. I suspect the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee is hoping that once the lawsuit on delisting Yellowstone grizzlies has been decided (in favor of Chris Servheen and the Feds), grizzlies that get into garbage can be killed with impunity, which will help reduce the grizzly population to “socially acceptable” levels. A legal hunting season on grizzlies will help reduce the population, too.

    Meanwhile, anti-hunting dolts will continue to be fixated on forcing hunters trying to kill grizzlies to “carry bear spray and know how to use it.”

  41. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    sorry to have asked a serious question.
    You seem incapable of responding to such
    You did however confirm that you are a putz.

  42. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Jeff E–I assumed you were being facetious, my apologies if that’s not the case. Yellowstone Park has decent info on bear safety 101. To learn more, the International Association for Bear Research and Management’s “Staying Safe In Bear Country” video is excellent. Read Backcountry Bear Basics. There’s an incredible amount of inaccurate BS about bears out there, some of it quite dangerous.

  43. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    jb–Counting grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) costs about $400,000 a year, but counting grizzlies in the Yellowstone region costs something like $1.2 million a year. Yellowstone should use the same methodology as the NCDE for a savings of $800,000.

    Spend $20,000 writing a detailed action plan for reducing grizzly mortality in the Yellowstone region. Spend $760,000 acting on the grizzly mortality reduction plan. At the end of the year, spend $20,000 to analyse the results of the grizzly mortality reduction plan. Did the strategy to reduce grizzly mortality due to livestock conflicts work, etc? Yes/No? If not, why not? Hold people accountable. Fine tune each component of the plan. Put it in all in writing.

    Two-three years of this, and the public would be outraged. Might be enough to force bureaucrats to take meaningful action instead of flying around, counting bears, and writing meaningless reports about the bear population.

  44. JB Avatar


    You know as well as I do that the NCDE spent 4.8 million counting grizzlies over a five year period (that’s a bit less than 1 million per year). In fact, you have repeatedly criticized the study and methods employed in the NCDE project–which you now are apparently advocating they use in Yellowstone?! I’m tired of going in circles with you. For people who are interested in something other than Dave’s tired rants, I suggest the following reading:


  45. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    jb–why are you so unwilling to discuss the issues? The John McCain grizzly dna study for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem did not take five years, etc. I am not “apparently advocating” the same type of study in Yellowstone. Get real, deal in facts, forget the baseless Ad hominem attacks. Pitiful jb. Truly pathetic.

  46. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    jb–the John McCain dna study was about $5 million for one year to count all grizzlies in the NCDE.. Now it’s $400k per year for grizzly bear population sampling in a small part of the NCDE to “prove” it’s OK to delist grizzlies in the NCDE. The sampling in one area is indictive of the trend for the whole NCDE. If thats good enough to prove we can delist grizzlies in the NCDE, it’s good enough to prove Yellowstone grizzlies are doing OK.

    Sweet creeping jesus JB, if you really understand this stuff why won’t you tell people the truth?

  47. JB Avatar

    Dave, you are either purposefully misrepresenting this research, or you are profoundly misinformed.

    “In fact, Congress over the past five years has forked over a total of $4.8 million to study the genetic material of Montana’s grizzly bears, according to Katherine Kendall, a research biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)”

    The methods employed in the study were designed to count grizzlies and learn about their genetic diversity without having to capture them (which you have also noted you oppose).

    Folks interested in the facts about the NCDE project can judge for themselves by checking out the project’s webpage: http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/research/NCDEbeardna_detail.htm


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan