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JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) – The state will pay a Riverton rancher more than twice what it offered as compensation for cattle killed by grizzly bears, an appellate panel ruled.

Dan Ingalls will receive $39,846 instead of the $15,490 offered by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the three-member panel ruled last week.

Ingalls earlier sought $50,490 for 22 calves and four cows he claimed were killed by grizzly bears. He appealed after the department offered compensation for four calves, the only losses the wildlife agency confirmed.

Ingalls said the panel’s ruling is “much closer” to what he sought.

He told the panel the department was slow to investigate claims and failed to share information about the whereabouts of radio-collared grizzly bears to help prevent attacks.

Also, the state was slow to trap and remove bears, he said.

His efforts to improve communication included buying a satellite telephone and Global Positioning System to report the precise location of livestock kills.

He also hired a health inspector to examine his cattle before they grazed to rule out causes of death not related to bear attacks, such as disease, he said.

“I tried to do everything possible to take away any excuse they might have this year not to pay me,” he said.

Mark Bruscino, Game and Fish Department biologist, said the state responded as quickly as possible and investigated every claim Ingalls made.

The formula for compensating ranchers is generous because it takes into account losses for livestock that was never found, he said.

“This is a public fund of money that is set aside. We have to be responsible,” he said.

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Panel members said they were impressed by Ingalls’ efforts to help determine livestock killings.

Rancher Glenn Taylor, a panel member, said the department should not portray compensation as a financial burden.

“The public knows that that is set aside for that purpose,” he said. “Let’s use it for that purpose and not abuse it.”

Last year Ingalls received $78,000 from the state as compensation for grizzly killed livestock.

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