Hunter Charged with Killing Grizzly Pleads ‘Not Guilty’

Patrick Gogerty faces a jury trial in October

Patrick M. Gogerty, of Wapiti, Wyoming, pleaded "not guilty" in Park County Circuit Court on May 19 to the charge of taking a trophy animal without a license outside the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park on May 1. (Courtesy photo from Amy Wells)

By Melissa Thomasma

Special to the Wyoming Truth

Hunter Patrick M. Gogerty pleaded “not guilty” at his May 19 arraignment in Park County Circuit Court on the misdemeanor charge of taking a trophy animal without a license.

Gogerty, of Wapiti, Wyoming, is accused of killing a grizzly bear on May 1 near the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The hunter claimed responsibility for the bear’s death on May 2, stating that he mistook the animal for a black bear. May 1 was the first day of firearm hunting season for black bears in the area. 

Grizzly bears are protected by the Endangered Species Act, and it is illegal to hunt them in Wyoming.

Gogerty, who is representing himself, was released on his own recognizance with the special release condition that he does not hunt during the duration of the case, according to court documents. Violation of this condition could result in his arrest. 

The case is scheduled for a jury trial on October 12.

Gogerty may also face federal charges for the killing of an endangered animal; however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not issued charges at this time.

The incident first came to light when wildlife photographers discovered the bear’s carcass on the morning of May 2. After photos were widely shared on social media, regional conservation groups quickly responded with demands to hold Gogerty accountable to both state and federal law.

“It is a hunter’s responsibility to know what species they are aiming at, and with this being an area frequented by grizzly bears, he shouldn’t have taken the shot if he wasn’t sure,” Kristin Combs, executive director of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, told the Wyoming Truth.

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