Griz killings in Upper Green Allotment Wyoming

Grizzly Bear

The recent killing of more grizzly bears by the Wyoming Game and Fish, a listed endangered species, to protect ranchers in the Upper Green River Allotment on the Bridger Teton National Forest is another shameful example of the mixed-up priorities and mismanagement of our public lands. Why should native animals, especially, endangered animals, be killed or removed to facilitate the private profit of livestock owners.? These are OUR public lands. Grazing is a privilege, not a right. If ranching activities jeopardize the public’s wildlife, should not the private livestock be removed rather than the public’s wildlife?

Putting cattle out on the Upper Green River, one of the best wildlife habitats on the entire Bridger Teton National Forest, akin to putting out four-legged picnic baskets. If you or I were to leave our food out while camping in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park, we would be fined.  However, in Wyoming, taxpayers reward ranchers. If a livestock operator loses a cow to a bear, the state of Wyoming “compensates” them for the loss.

The Bridger Teton National Forest had an opportunity to manage these lands for public benefit when it revised management for the Upper Green River Allotment. Instead of managing these public lands for the public benefit, they continued the same old policy of putting private interests ahead of public interest. The presence of livestock in this area has more impacts than the death of grizzlies. The Forest Service documented effects to riparian areas, amphibians, sage grouse, and other wildlife. The presence of livestock also pollutes water, socially displaces elk, and permits the consumption of forage that would otherwise support native wildlife from grasshoppers to elk.

As long as the BTNF continues to put private interests ahead of public interest, we will continue to see grizzly bears killed merely to protect the profit of private livestock operations. Is this really what we, the public, want from our public lands managers?


  1. Barrie Gilbert Avatar

    George is absolutely right. The USFS is not in tune with public resource values.
    The primary cause of grizzly bear mortality in the GYE on all sides of Yellowstone N.P. is conflicts with livestock. If this continues how can grizzlies possibly connect on habitat corridors to other populations.
    If ranchers have to degrade wild habitat to remain viable then maybe that kind of ranching will no longer support modern lifestyles with new half-tons and sending the kids to college. The arid West has not supported ranching like other regions.

  2. David Mattson Avatar
    David Mattson

    Ranchers are heavily subsidized on our public lands–dare I say the real welfare queens? With tax-payer funded subsidies come obligations to deal with costs associated with furthering the common good, which in this case includes meaningful recovery of grizzly bears. Ranchers have no right to complain and certainly no right to demand lethal remedy for their largely self-inflicted problems. Get off welfare or grow up. Or, perhaps, tax payers could just give me huge sums of money to maintain my “way of life,” no questions asked.

    1. E. Avatar


  3. JohnR Avatar

    Cattle in the upper Green River area create a bottleneck for migrating wildlife between Yellowstone snd the Wind River Mtns.

  4. idaursine Avatar

    In Montana, backpackers shoot female grizzly bear, claiming self-defense. Neither were carrying bear spray:

    “All grizzly bears are important to the recovery of the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem, but, yes, females drive population growth more than males,” he said.”

    1. Nancy Avatar

      Hate to generalize but we’ve gotten a taste in the past of how some Sanders County residents feel about their wildlife:

      All the way down to their elected officials:

      “well shucks, they didn’t break any law”

  5. Carol Avatar

    A good read:
    Derrick Jensen “The Myth of Human Supremacy” re: management
    You may come to believe that forests can’t manage themselves, but that you can manage forests. You may come to believe that the world cannot survive without your interference, while the truth is that the world cannot survive your arrogant interference.

    It helps explain how an astronomer can say we need to explore Mars “to answer that most important question: are we all alone?” as this culture destroys life on this planet. It helps explain how so many foresters can continue to claim, as their “forestry” destroys forest after forest, that “forests need management.” It helps explain how people keep trying to “manage fisheries” as they wipe out species after species. It helps explain how even so many so-called environmentalists state explicitly that they are trying to save, not the planet, but civilization, which so many perceive as humanity’s–and thus the universe’s–most important creation.

    Perhaps the notion of humans attempting to manage the natural world reveals more than anything else the complete insanity of human supremacism, and this supremacism’s near-absolute invulnerability to counter-evidence. This culture has critically harmed or destroy EVERY single biome it has managed, and yet the managerial ethos gets stronger every day. Forests: managed to death. Yet still the managers claim to know what is best for forests. Wetlands: managed to death…. Rivers: managed to death…. Oceans: managed to death….

    If a doctor killed or injured every single patient he saw, would you trust your life to this doctor?

  6. Bruce Bowen Avatar
    Bruce Bowen

    New Book Alert: It is called “How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption are Ruining the American West” by Chris Ketchum.

    I have not read it yet as I am currently trying to get through :Fort Meade and the Black Hills by Robert Lee.

    What I have been seeing is a recurrent pattern of the elite taking resources and sponsoring the repression of any entity considered as a possible threat to their profits. It might interest you to know that the South Dakota business people of the time, heavily lobbied the government for protection even though the threat from Lakota Indians was quite minimal. The military spent 1.3 million dollars in 1890(much of it went to these businesses in the form of supply contracts etc) to make sure that the last 350 sick and starving Lakota in Spotted Elks band, who were walking from Standing Rock reservation to Pine Ridge (300 miles)in the cold of winter were thoroughly repressed. This resulted in the Wounded Knee massacre and many white business men smiling on their way to the bank.

    President Trump and to a large extent the media are bringing back these old frontier attitudes- like, ‘if you can’t make money off it then kill it’. The moral decay and rise of hypocrisy is very real but most of the population has been lured into a kind of mental stupor, fueled by computer technology and the lust for a kind of fun and games fantasy world that they now mistake for “reality”.

    Not even human life is worth very much to the U.S. senate as they adjourned for recess in the wake of mass killings of there own citizens. How can grizzly bears or any other species survive in this kind of atmosphere?

  7. Jan Avatar

    Pls tweet out to reps!!!is everyone above the law. While in recess blm n other nefarious agency are taking advantage of killings bears wolves All horses!!!

  8. Linda Avatar

    The land belongs to them HAVE YOU LOST YOUR DARN MINDS HELL NO WE WILL NOT SIT FOR THIS !!!time for free loading cattle farmers to buy there own land stop riping wild life and America off . There free loders !! Cattle bad on ozone and we have enough climate your own land move on cattle farmers cry babies we are sick of your bossy pushy movies and your crying ! Move on buy your own place we the public want are lands back !!!

  9. Ann Woltjen Avatar
    Ann Woltjen

    From an article in Star Tribune Casper, WY:

    Green River Cattle Association experimented with a cattle bunching technique several years ago, but it wasn’t effective. Sommers is toying with the idea of trying out less-vulnerable breeds of cattle and is also intrigued with guard dogs.

    (Gee, intrigued by guard dogs, he should be required to try all nonlethal methods before killing the grizzlies).

  10. Gypsy Avatar

    Wildlife belongs here…. cows do not

George Wuerthner is an ecologist and writer who has published 38 books on various topics related to environmental and natural history. He has visited over 400 designated wilderness areas and over 200 national park units.

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George Wuerthner