The National Park Service and the Game and Fish Department changed regulations for hunting elk in Grand Teton National Park. Part of the reason for these changes is to avoid contact between hunters and grizzly bears.
Last year a hunter participating in the annual elk reduction program shot and killed a grizzly in the park. In 2011, a grizzly mauled a hunter. Both encounters involved bears protecting animal carcasses.
Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs says they are now limiting the number of shots a hunter can take in a day, and the number of shots that can be fired at a group of running elk. She says the goal is to reduce the number of elk that are wounded in the park.
“A wounded animal or an animal that has died later and is now a carcass can be claimed by a grizzly bear,” Skaggs says, “and then grizzly bears are very protective of those food sources.”
Skaggs says part of the Snake River Bottom, where both bear encounters happened, will also be closed to hunting.