CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming wildlife officials encourage people who enter the backcountry to carry bear spray, but they declined to make it a requirement.

The Cody Enterprise reported Monday that the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission took no action last week on a petition submitted by seven conservation groups earlier this year.

The conservation groups had asked the state to consider a bear spray mandate, aiming to reduce the number of grizzly bear deaths from encounters with hunters.

Hunters defensively killed 15 grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 2017.

Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club says bear spray is a proven tool in preventing injury to both people and bears.

Grand Teton National Park requires elk hunters to carry bear spray when they're in the park each fall.

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