NOV 15, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wyoming Wildlife Advocates today launched a campaign requesting that the Wyoming Game & Fish Department respect Teton County’s community values and economic interests and publicly commit to not having a grizzly hunt in Teton County.
“We want to stop this before it even gets started” says WWA Board Chair Kent Nelson.
“Hunting grizzlies in Teton County makes no sense. It provides too little benefit to the county and exposes us to too much economic risk.”
Today, in a double-page spread in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, WWA took its message to the public, saying there are no scientific, economic, or cultural justifications for hunting grizzlies in Teton County.
While WGFD has been careful to say they have not yet decided to have a grizzly hunt, Nelson notes that “everyone in the conservation community believes that’s just PR posturing and a grizzly hunt is inevitable.”
“That’s the business they’re in” says Roger Hayden, WWA’s executive director, “and make no mistake, given that the Wyoming Legislature
allocates very little funding to WGF, it’s run as a business. They have to sell hunting licenses to make ends meet.”
“Delisted grizzlies are an opportunity to expand into a new product line, while at the same time hunting grizzlies protects elk and deer, their biggest revenue generators, from predation. It’s a big win-win for their business model, so of course they’re going to do it,” said Hayden. Nelson notes that the Teton County business community shares his economic concerns.
In a letter to WGFD the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, which represents nearly 1,000 local businesses, wrote that “Trophy hunting [of grizzlies] could potentially impact our tourism economy that is highly dependent on wildlife watching opportunities.” Additionally, they urged that “Hunting should be avoided in areas adjacent to our national parks.”
Nelson is quick to add that, “Due to the fact that national parks alone represent 45% of the county’s area, the entire county is adjacent to our national parks.”
Not only is a grizzly hunt not in Teton County’s best interests, it isn’t in the state’s interest, says Nelson.
“Last year tourism in Teton County brought in over $1 billion dollars, one third of the state’s total. Tourism is the second largest industry in the state, behind only oil, gas and minerals. And unlike oil, gas and minerals it is a relatively clean, steadily growing industry without the wide boom and bust cycles that have long been Wyoming’s economic Achilles heel.”
“It’s insane that a state agency would contemplate doing something that could put the county’s wildlife-based economy at risk. Too much of the statewide economy depends on it. It’s cutting off your nose to spite your face.”
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CONTACT: Roger Hayden, executive director, (307) 730-XXXX
To contribute to the “Teton County: We Protect Grizzlies!” campaign go to Teton County: We Protect Grizzlies!