Thomas Mangelsen, the animal photographer who brought fame to Yellowstone’s “Grizzly 399,” has been selected to receive a hunting license in Wyoming. Mangelsen was one of 7,000 hopeful lottery applicants to appear on the “Issuance List” released on Thursday by the state’s Game and Fish Department. However, unlike the majority of entrants in Yellowstone’s first bear hunt in nearly half a century, Mangelsen hopes to tag his catch in a photo rather than a body bag.
Mangelsen’s application was part of the “Shoot ‘Em with a Camera, Not a Gun” campaign, which wildlife activists launched in an effort to lower the number of hunters granted licenses in Wyoming’s bear permit lottery. The randomly selected candidates were drawn in order of when they will be given access to the hunting grounds; only one ticket holder will be allowed in the zone at a time. Each hunter is given a maximum of 10 days to “tag” – that is to say, kill – a grizzly before the next individual is allowed in. The hunt will last either two months or until the quota of 22 kills is met.
Mangelsen was happy to report on Shoot ‘Em With A Camera’s Facebook page that he had drawn the eighth slot in the 2018 hunt and would most likely be able to save at least one bear, or possibly more. “The odds of winning a tag were extremely low considering over 7,000 people applied,” the photographer noted. “There are certain circumstances that would keep me from getting in the field, but if given the opportunity, you can be sure that I will be buying the $600 license and spending all of the allotted ten days hunting with a camera. With only one person allowed in the field at one time, hopefully the ten days I take up will save the lives of some of these amazing animals.”
The activist group was formed in Jackson, Wyoming on account of the bears’ 2017 removal from the Endangered Species Act list of threatened wildlife and the opening of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana’s hunting seasons. The group has raised just over $40,000 to stop the hunting expeditions through their Go Fund Me page and allied themselves with a network of environmental champions such as primatologist Jane Goodall and the Center for Biological Diversity’s Stop the Griz Hunt organization.