Lisa Robertson, Ann Smith, & Deidre Bainbridge
Activists, Shoot ‘Em with a Camera
Against the grandeur of the Tetons in the background at Jackson Lake, any speaker would have a difficult time captivating the attention of twenty-one students. However, the enthusiasm of wildlife activists Lisa Robertson, Ann Smith, and Deidre Bainbridge resonated with us, evidenced by the widespread display of stickers showcasing the women’s campaign, “Shoot ‘Em With A Camera.” Under the beating sun, Lisa, Anne, and Deidre, all with varying backgrounds and experiences, explained how they banded together to protect Wyoming’s native grizzly bear.
Originating as a response to the delisting of grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act, these women sought to have a voice for non-consumptive users through the State of Wyoming’s approved grizzly hunt. The hunt was designed to eliminate grizzly bears exceeding the government-determined carrying capacity for the state, and is typically intended for hunters looking to kill. In order to receive authorization to legally hunt one of the 22 grizzlies intended for kill, hunters entered a lottery to receive a tag. Seeing an opportunity, the women of “Shoot ‘Em With A Camera” encouraged people all around the country to enter the lottery, regardless of whether or not they hunt, with the intention of shooting the bears with nothing more than a camera. The sole goal of this project was to serve as protection for the grizzly. Recognizing the importance of Wyoming’s wildlife, these women have worked to remain within the limits of the law while promoting their cause. By receiving tags and actively hunting for grizzlies while abstaining from the kill, they legally prevent trophy hunters from participating.
Transforming from an online GoFundMe to a nationwide movement, “Shoot ‘Em With A Camera” has raised upwards of $43,000 and proceeded to win two tags in the hunt lottery. Initially fueled by passion, these women have gone against the grain in their home state, unafraid of potential repercussions from their neighbors, friends, or even family. Their courage has given those without the tools to stand up for their beliefs a way to make a difference in the realm of wildlife conservation.
By Cindy Abrams