Wyoming hunter faces up to a year in prison after killing grizzly bear
Wyoming hunter faces up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine after killing protected 530lb grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park that he claims he mistook for a legal-to-hunt black bear
- Patrick M. Gogerty, of Cody, shot at a grizzly bear seven times on May 1 — striking it at least four times
- He allegedly thought he was shooting at a black bear, which are legal to hunt
- It wasn’t until after he killed the bear, authorities say, that he realized he had struck a grizzly bear — which are protected under federal law
A Wyoming man faces up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine for killing a protected 530lb grizzly bear outside Yellowstone National Park.
Patrick M. Gogerty, of Cody, went out hunting on May 1, when he came within 100 yards of the grizzly off US 14-16-20.
At first, an affidavit filed in Park County Circuit Court claims, Gogerty thought he had spotted a black bear, which are legal to hunt.
It wasn’t until after he fired seven shots, the affidavit says, that he realized he had killed a grizzly bear — which are illegal to hunt under federal law. It had been struck at least four times.
But Gogerty did not turn himself into Wyoming Game and Fish Department authorities until after the beast was photographed lying bloody on the side of the road.
‘Gogerty should have turned himself in immediately,’ Wyoming Game and Fish Department Game Warden Travis Cane wrote in the affidavit.
Wildlife photographer Amy Gerber captured images of the grizzly inside the national park
Cane explained in the affidavit that Gogerty went hunting in Cody the day the regular black bear hunting season opened in the area.
He said that the hunter told him he was confident that the bear he shot at was a black bear because the animal did not have the grizzly’s humped back.
But ‘when Gogerty went up to the bear and saw the bear’s claws, the pads and the head of the bear, he realized it was a grizzly bear.’
Wyoming Game and Fish Department Game Warden Travis Cane said Patrick M. Gogerty should have turned himself in immediately after shooting the grizzly bear
He then apparently fled the scene without telling authorities about the dead bear.
It was later pictured by local wildlife photographer Amy Gerber, and sparked outrage online.
‘That bear can’t die in vain,’ she told Cowboy State Daily.
‘The very few people who are so vehemently hateful toward grizzlies, that doesn’t represent us. That’s not Cody, Wyoming.
‘It seems like there’s this perception that people here hate wildlife, and particularly predators, and that’s not true. The outcry over this bear being killed is strong.’
Gogerty is now charged under Wyoming law with killing a grizzly bear without a license, a misdemeanor in the state.
If convicted, he would face having to pay as much as $25,000 in restitution.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.
Experts say black bears are typically smaller than grizzly bears, but the two can often be mistaken due to their similar coloring
Grizzly bears within the Yellowstone ecosystem, however, have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 2018
Experts say black bears are typically smaller than grizzly bears, but the two can often be mistaken due to their similar coloring.
Grizzly bears within the Yellowstone ecosystem, however, have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 2018 as part of an effort to increase its population.
The population of grizzly bears inside Yellowstone was threatened with extinction in the 1970s but their population has grown from 136 in 1975 to around 1,063 in 2021, according to the National Park Service.
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