From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 20 - August 14, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Cattle kills now stand at 22

by Cat Urbigkit

The unofficial number of cattle killed by grizzly bears in the Upper Green River region of the Bridger-Teton National Forest now stands at 22, according to a state wildlife official.

Mark Bruscino of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said in an interview Tuesday morning that after an adult male grizzly was removed from the area last Tuesday, another dead calf was discovered Wednesday morning. Although wildlife officials trapped on the fresh carcass for several nights, bears did not return to the carcass to feed, Bruscino said, and trapping efforts were discontinued.

A calf hide was found as well, but this kill could have been days or weeks old, he said.

Bruscino said since these kills were found last week, his agency hadn't heard of more problems with grizzlies preying on cattle.

Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species, although under state law, WG&F must compensate property owners for damages caused by this trophy game animal. The recently approved formula will compensate livestock producers in the Upper Green for the market price of 3.5 calves for every one calf confirmed as being killed by grizzlies. This formula recognizes that many kills are never found, despite intensive efforts, and sometimes carcasses are completely consumed.

Besides the four-legged beef using the Upper Green, other food sources are now becoming available to grizzlies, Bruscino said. Berries are ripening and whitebark pine are just starting to become available to bears, he said.

"The cone crop looks very good," Bruscino said, adding that research has shown that a lot of bears will switch to whitebark pine when this food source is available, and really focus their eating efforts on these cones from about now until they enter dens for the winter.

"Food is going to be plentiful this fall," Bruscino said.

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