Grizzly Bear Hunting Season Suspended

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(Gillette, Wyo.) Last week, a Federal District Court Judge in Montana issued a temporary restraining order suspending grizzly bear hunting in Wyoming for two weeks. The season was set to open Saturday, Sept. 1, for the first time since 1974.

“I am disappointed by this temporary restraining order,” said Governor Matt Mead. “Grizzly bear recovery should be viewed as a conservation success story. Due to Wyoming’s investment of approximately $50 million for recovery and management, grizzly bears have exceeded every scientifically established recovery criteria in the [Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem] since 2003. Numbers have risen from as few as 136 bears when they were listed in 1975, to more than 700 today.”

The grizzly bear was originally delisted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 2007. Protections were reinstated by a federal judge in 2009, after finding the FWS did not adequately consider the impact of a decline in one of the grizzly bear primary food sources, white bark pine nuts.

In 2013, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team determined the decline in these nuts did not significantly impact the species and once again recommended delisting, which finally occurred in 2017.

At the same time, Wyoming adopted and implemented a Grizzly Bear Management Plan.

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“This is unfortunate. Game and Fish has a robust grizzly bear management program with strong regulations, protections, and population monitoring for grizzly bears. We believe in state-led management of wildlife and involving the public in decisions like the creation and implementation of a conservative hunting opportunity for those who want that experience,” said Scott Talbott, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “We will now await further information about whether the bears will remain under state management or if they go back to federal management.”

Hunters who were issued 2018 grizzly bear hunting licenses have all been notified that the season has been suspended.

 

 

 

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