Grizzly bears have been removed from the endangers species list, and returned to state management. Wyoming Fish and Game has put forward it’s plan for a grizzly bear hunt this fall. The agency will finalize the plan with a vote on 24 May. If all goes well this will be the first time in over 40 years Grizzly bears will be hunted in the lower 48.
Wildlife officials estimate there were just over 700 grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem more then enough to have a sustainable hunting season.
According to The Casper Star Tribune, A quota of 12 exists for what is called the demographic monitoring area, a chunk of Wyoming surrounding Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks that is considered suitable grizzly bear habitat.Another quota of 12 is set for bears in places that aren’t suitable grizzly bear habitat – such as corn fields on ranches in the plains – or in areas where they consistently cause conflict.
Licenses will be $6,000 for a nonresident and $600 for a resident. Six of the 24 licenses will go to nonresidents.
Licenses will be given on a lottery system, but the hunt will run different then most big game hunts. License will only be issued two at a time and as hunters kill bears, they will call into the department to report the gender of the bear. If two female bears are the first two killed, for example, the hunt will be over. This is to ensure that only absolutely no more then two females get taken.
The female quota only applies within the monitoring area. The 12 bears allowed to be killed outside the area can be of either gender.
Game and Fish is also proposing a hunting ban within a quarter mile of U.S. highways in the monitoring area. The prohibition is meant to prevent hunters from shooting bears visible to the public. It will also not allow hunting in the western portion of the hunt area surrounding Grand Teton National Park to help avoid hunters killing some of the more well-known bears.
Hunters will also be required to complete grizzly bear hunting course, to help them to be able distinguish between male and female bears. They will also be given a satellite communication device to report their kill from the field.The bears will need to be brought into a Game and Fish office within five days to verify gender and collect other biological samples.
Of course this hunt is not with out controversy, Animal rights groups are currently suing the fish and wild life department to try and get the hunt stopped. They claim saying climate change and human conflicts are already putting too much pressure on the charismatic creature.
This plan is a great step forward in the conservation of a species. It should be a celebrated step in the recovery of such a great animal. In reality this has been a long time coming. Steve Rinella did a pod cast a while back where he talked with the head biologist that is in charge of the Grizzly Bear recovery effort and he said that the bears have reached close to maximum carrying capacity for the region.
State management of wildlife has shown to be highly successful and will ensure the bear as a species has a bright future ahead of it.