Just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all, this happens. A lady at the Solitude Subdivision in Jackson, Wyoming was reported by neighbors for feeding grizzly bears. When Game and Fish confronted this individual, whose identity has been protected, she told the wardens that they are a “bunch of wimps” and that the bears are her babies. At the base of her deck sat five grizzly bears calming munching away on grain. The bears were four sub-adult cubs and the National Park Service’s sweetheart, sow #399.
You heard that correctly, she refers to the bears as her “babies” and even more interestingly, she’s been feeding grizzly bear #399 for several years now including many sets of #399’s offspring. Officers gathered evidence that could potentially lead to a violation of the Endangered Species Act. The woman said for them not to worry because she has an “aura” that allows her to communicate with animals and not be attacked. Although if she did get attacked, she said she would be “ok” with dying.
Here’s the catch. She insists the grain is for moose, not bears. She’s simply feeding the moose and the grain is laced with medicine for what she described as conjunctivitis. Feeding moose, elk, and deer is legal in the state of Wyoming although the general public is discouraged from doing so. Over a month later the District Attorney’s office said they would have a “difficult time convicting” her of feeding grizzly bears because she stated that she placed the food for the moose, not the bears. She told the officers that the grizzly bears “came to her” when they needed help and that she administers drugs to the wildlife even though she knows it’s not legal.
The investigation was initialized when grizzly bear #962 (offspring of #399) spent two weeks in the subdivision according to a GPS tracking collar. #962 and #964 were grizzly #399’s offspring from years past and frequented the same subdivision regularly. In 2016, grizzly bear #802 (who was later destroyed) was getting into trouble and had been tracked to the same neighborhood. There are eight grizzly bears getting into feed at the Solitude home site according to the current investigation. One Solitude Subdivision board member claimed that “In my 25 years in Solitude, we’ve never had bear problems like we are having this fall and winter.” Another resident told a story of being chased in the neighborhood by a grizzly. The resident was able to run away from the bear and it eventually lost interest.
The wildlife feeder agreed to let two officers in her home, in which they noticed many dogs, cats, and rodents kept in cages. There were many cans of feed stored and the officers also reported the woman kept a collection of bear poop which was stored on cookie sheets! The officers had a two hour conversation with the lady explaining that she controlled the fate of these bears since she continuously feeds them. As of now all the Game and Fish can do is focus on education since there is nothing they can enforce.
Looking back at 2020, grizzly bear conflict was on par with years past. 49 bears were either found dead or killed in the Northern Rockies ecosystem. 28 of them were problem bears that were euthanized by officials. A total of five grizzlies were hit by vehicles. There were at least seven documented grizzly bear attacks by June 26 in 2020. Officials blame it on increased recreation outside the park because the park was closed for part of 2020 due to Covid. Interestingly enough, there were no documented attacks or deaths during hunting season, a first since 2007. So be safe out there, I fully encourage everyone to carry bear spray and a gun when out in grizzly country, leave the grain at home.
SECTION 6.04. 180: Feeding wild animals prohibited-Exceptions-Penalty. (a) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally provide supplemental feed to the following wild animals and fowl: deer, antelope, elk, moose, turkeys, ducks, geese, pigeons, coyotes, bears, wolves, foxes, raccoons, and skunks.
You habituate bears, you should be hit with sticks until you stop.
Isn’t that like having a difficult time getting an arson conviction because the arsonist was “just burning brush”.... that just happened to be piled at the DA’s back porch?
So much for believing it's only the coasts and the big cities where everyone has been stripped of every vestige of common sense...
And these bears she’s habituating.... when they need to be destroyed as a matter of Public Safety... Shouldn’t she be prosecuted for causing the death of an endangered animal???
Rhetorical question, to be sure, but where is the Pro-Hunting organization that will demand accountability??
Whole new meaning to Stay off my Grass!
Good luck, Robb
What the hell?! Is bear poop good table fare?
"Like any other wildlife feeding operation in the county, we don't have any authority to do anything about it," he said. "We try to focus on education."
Teton County, which has prohibited wildlife feeding through its land development regulations, is another governmental entity that could take enforcement action against the feeder, who has been the subject of numerous complaints. Multiple calls to the county's code compliance officer, Josh Butteris, have not been returned.
While grizzly bears have denned for the winter, wildlife feeding at Solitude Subdivision persists.
On Tuesday afternoon, at least four moose and a mule deer now occupied the yard where Grizzly 399, her four cubs and other grizzlies have previously gorged on grain.
I guess I’m going to have to choose to believe here that the state is unwilling to make a martyr out of this woman; maybe it works out better for almost everybody if something really hits the fan and John Q Public comes to realize that maybe tolerating that kind of behavior isn’t such a good idea?
I just feel bad for whoever it is who has to pay the cost of setting everybody straight on this…
On a side note I was up in the Jackson area between Christmas and New Years and saw and photographed 399 and her four cubs as they headed to their denning area.
Here's a photo of the five of them.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
But you know, she DID say she’d be OK with that....
I’m just looking at those for a Cubs and wondering how many pounds of protein are required on a daily basis to keep that family up and running.....
And when one of them kills the neighbors dog or is up on their deck pushing on the patio door looking for a picnic basket and gets shot and killed the game warden sure as he!! will prosecute that person for shooting a federally protected animal.
Just saving the state the cost of the shell at this point, ‘cuz it’s a Fed Bear.... Only one foreseeable outcome.