State considers grizzly bear hunts

Posted on 06 May 2016

Contingent on federal delisting

The Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission on May 12 will discuss grizzly bear hunting —a  practice long illegal under the endangered species act.

With the federal government considering lifting protections on grizzly bears, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks  is looking at implementing a hunting season on bears.

As part of the Yellowstone grizzly bear delisting process the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requiring Wyoming, Idaho and Montana to outline the structure and framework of any grizzly bear hunting seasons.

Montana FWP’s draft season is based on mortality limits for theDemographic Monitoring Area. Mortality limits depend on the size of the bear population. If all types of mortality during a calendar year in the DMA are below the limits, then hunting could be allowed the following year.

The number and sex of bears that could be taken by each state would be mutually agreed on by the states, but the total could not exceed the mortality limit for the DMA. Greater restrictions will be enacted when the population falls below 674 animals. A more liberal harvest would be allowed if the bear population exceeds 747 animals in the GYE. In other words, the smaller the bear population, the lower will be the allowable mortality rates.

Montanans have not hunted grizzly bears since 1991. The animals were listed as a threatened species in 1975 and were protected under the Endangered Species Act.

grizzly bear hunt

about the hunts

Whether to even hold a grizzly hunting season will be decided at the end of each year. At that time wildlife officials from Montana, Wyoming and Idaho will review all grizzly bear mortalities, from natural deaths to collisions with cars and bears removed for killing livestock. If the mortalities exceed certain preset limits, no season will be held.

If there is an allowed harvest it would be split among the three states, likely with Wyoming having a larger take because it contains more Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear habitat, Vore explained. Montana contains 27 percent of the GYE’s grizzly habitat.

On May 11, the commission will hold a work session at Montana WILD to discuss a variety of ongoing issues: Beaverhead River water quality investigation, catch and release outreach, archery technology, a review of the commission’s petition process, and a grizzly bear delisting update. No audio or video will be available and no public comment will be taken during the work session.

Both meetings are open to the public. The work session on May 11 begins at noon and is scheduled to last until 5 p.m. The commission meeting will begin at 8 a.m. and is scheduled to last until 3 p.m. Public comment will be taken at the commission meeting on May 12, but not at the work session the day before.

Additionally, the commission will consider proposals on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear hunting regulation framework

The commission will also hear information about bighorn sheep augmentation in the Madison Valley.

The Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission meeting on May 12 is located in Helena at 2668 Broadwater Ave., next to Spring Meadow Lake State Park off Highway 12 West.









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