Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission To Vote On Yellowstone Grizzly Hunting Regulations

Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission To Vote On Yellowstone Grizzly Hunting Regulations

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet today to decide on potential huntingregulations for Yellowstone area grizzly bears.

The vote comes as state wildlife agencies draft management plans ahead of a planned proposal to delist Yellowstone grizzly bears from the Endangered Species List.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, besides hunting regulations, the commission will vote on a three-state agreement to establish guidelines for divvying up bears in the Greater Yellowstone Area.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced earlier this year they hope to delist Yellowstone grizzlies from the Endangered Species List by early next year. Each Yellowstone state must draft a plan regardless of whether grizzlies are delisted or not. Under the agreement, hunting would only occur if the USFWS successfully makes its case for delisting. Wyoming Game and Fish approved their grizzly plan just yesterday.

Grizzlies were previously delisted in 2007 but reinstated several years later after a federal judge ruled (in a case brought against the USFWS by environmental advocates) that the agency had failed to consider the impacts of climate change on the bears’ long term survival. From the Chronicle:

Opponents of delisting dispute the notion that Yellowstone’s grizzly bears are thriving and say that allowing hunting could send the population into a decline. Some have also called for a buffer zone between hunting districts and Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

USFWS’ delisting proposal includes a limit on the number of bears allowed to be killed within a 19,279-square-mile area that includes Yellowstone National Park and parts of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. The limits are population based, and would rule out any discretionary kills if the population dips below 600.

The USFWS is expected to make a final decision on lifting protections for the bears next year but is requiring that all three states draft hunting rules before that happens. Idaho and Wyoming have both unveiled their plans.

Montana’s proposal would create seven hunting districts near the borders of Yellowstone National Park from Interstate 15 east to the border of the Crow Indian Reservation. It includes measures meant to protect females and young bears from being taken by hunters, like banning the shooting of bears in groups.

Quotas based on what share of the allowed mortality Montana gets would also be implemented. Under the three state agreement, Wyoming would get 58 percent of the harvest, Idaho 8 percent and Montana 34 percent.

FWP representatives have said that even in the event of a hunting season, the quota would be consistently low —fewer than ten, sometimes zero if the population hews closer to 600.



4 thoughts on “Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission To Vote On Yellowstone Grizzly Hunting Regulations

  1. Once guns are out there – all bets are off. There’s no way to control what will happen, or if mothers with cubs will be shot. It’s so tiresome when they try to convince anyone with a functioning brain otherwise. Look what’s happened since wolves were delisted, and that should tell anyone all they need to know about what will happen to grizzlies. En-Oh spells NO!!!

  2. Another political decision by USFWS? Grizzly delisting consideration and state wildlife agency salivating over another trophy animal: It is too early for salivating and wet lips of state wildlife agencies (desire to hunt), already divvying up proposed grizzly hunting quotas, for trophy hunting, their version of “management”. It is exactly “not” management, not the way to go. It is not surprising that hunters encroaching on grizzly habitats are shooting more bears, or that bears are more often trapped and killed as their numbers grow. Hunters forget the more effective pepper spray, but they may be just taking an opportunity for a kill.. It would be surprising otherwise. Grizzly bear growing numbers should impel them to disperse into other regions and states where there are still plenty of niches. Management should concentrate on opening up predator and other wildlife corridors of travel, of dispersal; not “management” by killing (aka hunting) and driving down the numbers, so they are less likely to disperse into available niches. Habitat protection, acquisition, and wildlife corridors up and down the Rocky Mountains, corridors under highways are the way wildlife management should be going not “management” by hunting emphasis. All major predators (grizzly, cougar, jaguar, wolverine, wolf, and others) should be protected indefinitely from hunters and trappers and ranchers, as they especially, and extraction industries and development. Maybe state wildlife agencies should not manage predators with their protocol and almost single-minded mission of licensing hunters and trappers and recreational killing and farming of recreational killing targets to the detriment of balanced wildlife ecology. Enough of the political management of wildlife. Dan Ashe and the USFWS should be fired and the federal and state “wildlife agencies” revamped for wildlife protection, habitat protection and acquisition, corridor development and protection, and re-wilding, balanced ecology.

    References: Will Barack ‘Black Eagle’ Obama save the grizzly bears?

    A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. JIM URQUHART / REUTERS By ROBERT B. SEMPLE Jr.
    MARCH 4, 2016
    The 1973 Endangered Species Act, a landmark environmental measure much detested by developers and other commercial interests, is credited with saving the bald eagle, the peregrine falcon, the American alligator and the gray wolf, among other species. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has its way, the grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will soon join that company of once-close-to-extinction creatures that no longer needed the act’s protection. On Thursday, the service proposed to remove grizzlies in the Yellowstone region — meaning the national park, and the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming — from the endangered species list, whose protections the bears have enjoyed since 1975.
    If the bears are ultimately “de-listed” — a comment period on the proposal is now underway — it will represent another triumph for the act. By 1975, the grizzly population had dwindled from an estimated 50,000 animals in the Lower 48 to fewer than 200 in the Yellowstone region, and bears were dying faster than they could reproduce. Protected from hunting and trapping by the act, the Yellowstone population has since grown to between 700 and 1,000 animals, a number the agency’s scientists and many independent observers see as proof of biological recovery and sufficient to guarantee an expanding, sustainable population going forward.
    Grizzly bear | Categories: Bears | URL:
    But whether de-listing will ultimately prove to be a triumph for the grizzlies remains to be seen. The draft conservation strategy published along with the proposal contains strict mortality limits as well as protections against development of grizzly habitat….
    Most crucially, the future of the grizzlies depends on the states to which their protection is now entrusted. And here there is reason to pause and cross one’s fingers. Consider the case of the Rocky Mountain gray wolf. The service de-listed the wolf in Idaho and Montana after scientists concluded that it had reached sustainable populations in its range, and turned wolf management over to the states. Both states soon embarked on wolf hunts; the wolf was not de-listed in Wyoming, where the anti-wolf animus characteristic of the region was particularly virulent, and where the wolf is still under federal protection. The service says that wolf populations have remained stable throughout the region, but this is testament to their ability to breed rapidly, not to any particular affection or sense of responsibility among the politicians of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
    The environmental groups that have decried the service’s new proposal, including the Sierra Club, argue not only that the proposed de-listing is scientifically premature but also that the states simply cannot be trusted to make it work. They have sound historical reasons for feeling that way. It will ultimately be up to this administration and its successors to insure that its promise to the grizzlies — and it is indeed a promise — is honored.

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