from C.A.S.H. Committee To Abolish Sport Hunting

WY: Man fined $25k for shooting grizzly

December 10, 2018


While hunting for elk in October 2017 a Casper man encountered a much larger animal, in that of a sow grizzly bear. He will now pay a steep price for illegally shooting the bear – he was recently fined $25,500 in Park County Circuit Court.

Brent Stalkup, 38, reported the incident to Wyoming Game and Fish and told authorities the bear approached his hunting camp off Monument Hill Road, west of WYO 120 and about 14 miles northwest of Cody, three different times.

Through investigation, G&F officer Scott Werbelow said this was not the case.

“There was no evidence of second and third attacks,” Werbelow said. “I think he saw the bear died and got scared.”

Werbelow said by studying the grizzly paw prints in snow near the hunting camp, it was apparent the bear never came close.

“The only tracks found were about 33 yards from his camp,” Werbelow said.

Stalkup told Werbelow his dog chased the bear away upon its first visit but the bear returned shortly afterward. On a yet third encounter Stalkup said he shot at the bear with his .22-caliber firearm and suspected he hit it in the buttocks, but said he wasn’t certain if he had killed it.

“It appeared not in self defense,” Werbelow said. “I think he killed it to get it out of camp.”

Stalkup reported the event as a bear encounter and “didn’t know the seriousness” of what had happened, Werbelow said.

Werbelow said the bear died from the “one-shot kill” and came to a final rest a short distance from the truck and camp Stalkup was elk hunting from.

Stalkup pled guilty early in the fall and paid all $25,500 of his fine on his sentencing date Nov. 19. In the sentence handed out by Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters, Stalkup is also prohibited from hunting, fishing or trapping for one year starting Jan. 1.

Werbelow said he has seen many cases like these in his 25 years with Game and Fish. His advice is to be careful when shooting around grizzlies if they are not attacking.

“A single shot will kill them if it’s in the right spot,” Werbelow said.

A recent federal court decision returning grizzly bears to Endangered Species Act protection was enacted about 11 months after Stalkup shot the bear. Now, shooting a grizzly bear without proof of self-defense comes with a hefty price, considered a felony carrying up to $50,000 in fines and one year in jail.

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