Tag Archives: bear hunt

Carol Edwards: Grizzlies should be protected, not hunted

Grizzly Bear - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Terry Tollefsbol, NPS
Grizzly Bear – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Terry Tollefsbol, NPS

NFPA member Carol “Kelly” Edwards has had an op-ed published in several local and regional papers advocating against hunting of grizzly bears . . .

Letter written to Gov. Matt Mead of Wyoming…

As a neighboring Montana citizen, I am so proud of my state wildlife officials for having resisted pressure from “special interest groups” that somehow believe that they should have the right to shoot the very creatures that the rest of us are all spending our tax dollars to save. We want them, and the places they need in order to survive and thrive, protected. If you like all of your bears stuffed, hanging on walls, or in captivity, then you belong in a museum, a zoo, or a bar. You don’t belong in charge of live bears or their living conditions.

Our states can continue to thrive and expand our economic opportunities if we just take care of these critters and keep the things and places that live only in our northwest Rocky Mountain areas alive and healthy. They are a magnificent heritage.

These bears amaze people. Visitors come from all over the world for a chance to see one of these magnificent creatures. They, in themselves, not to mention our other magnificent top predators, and all those who form the chain of wildlife, create a base for an ever-increasing economy for those states that still enjoy their presence. You, of all people know that by far the large majority of our state earnings come from out of state visitors, and people who move here for the “quality of life” (read: clean air, water, beautiful scenery and access to the awesome public lands, natural parks and wildlife that live in them). It is a fiction that we have to sell “kill permits” to rich hunters, in order to keep wildlife around. This is just robbing Peter to pay Paul, a silly strategy no matter where it’s applied.

Think of our states and their traditional economies: mining, timber, hunting and some cattle and sheep ranching. Any way, you see it, no matter whose fault it is or isn’t, the climate and the shortage of water, especially in the west of the country, is making agriculture and animal husbandry very difficult to impossible, and it’s getting worse all the time. What happens when all the ore, oil, gas, forests and grazing and water for the animals are gone? Are we all just going to up and leave the stubble and rubble and poisoned water?

Our state needs a modern economy, a sustainable economy. It’s time to help the rest of us preserve a valuable resource that belongs to, and can earn a living for, all of us here in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Don’t kill the golden goose, er, bear.

Carol Edwards,
Polebridge

No grizzly hunt in Montana this year

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS
Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

Interesting. Montana decided against a Yellowstone Region grizzly hunt this year. Idaho is annoying everyone by proposing to take a single male bear. Wyoming, of course, is another matter . . .

While Idaho and Wyoming pursue plans to allow grizzly bear hunting outside Yellowstone National Park, Montana wildlife officials say they don’t regret deciding against holding a hunt this year.

This past week, Idaho opened public comment on a proposal for a hunt of one male grizzly. Wyoming has released a proposal to sell 24 grizzly tags.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department officials decided against proposing a hunt in February.

Read more . . .

Wyoming announces grizzly hunt rules

Grizzly Bear - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Terry Tollefsbol, NPS
Grizzly Bear – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Terry Tollefsbol, NPS

From NFPA President Debo Powers . . .

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department announced today a proposal to allow two dozen grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region to be killed through a state trophy hunt. The announcement comes despite strong public and tribal opposition to trophy hunting of the iconic bear and litigation challenging the removal of Endangered Species Act protections last summer.

NFPA is opposed to the trophy hunting of grizzlies.

Bonnie Rice from Sierra Club said in a press release: “Grizzly bears are one of the slowest animals to reproduce; it takes a female grizzly ten years to replace herself in the population. It’s a pipe dream to believe that hunters are going to be able to distinguish between male and female grizzly bears. We will undoubtedly lose more female grizzlies in a hunt– even more than authorized under this proposal.”

Here’s a write-up by the Jackson Hole News & Guide . . .

The first Wyoming grizzly bear hunt in over four decades will target 24 animals if commissioners who oversee the state’s wildlife sign off on a proposal released Friday.

A topic of fierce controversy, the hunt is being devised in a way that state officials hope will limit the chance of the bold large carnivore being shot in public view, or killed adjacent to Grand Teton National Park. A no-hunting zone will abut the east boundary of the park, and throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem it will be illegal to kill a grizzly within a half-mile of a named highway, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Chief Warden Brian Nesvik said.

“The intention is to address public concern that was focused on there being hunting and wildlife viewing going on at the same time,” Nesvik said.

Read more . . .

Montana FWP recommends not hunting Yellowstone grizzlies in 2018

Grizzly Bear - courtesy NPS
Grizzly Bear – courtesy NPS

Montana FWP is recommending against a grizzly hunt in 2018. The official press release has the details. The Flathead Beacon posted a less bureaucratic summary of the issues . . .

Montana wildlife officials are recommending against holding a grizzly bear hunt in 2018 after the animals lost their federal protections across a three-state region around Yellowstone National Park.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Martha Williams said Thursday the state wants to demonstrate its commitment to the grizzly’s long-term recovery.

State wildlife commissioners will consider the matter Feb. 15.

Read more . . .

Montana FWP press release: Department proposes not hunting Yellowstone grizzlies in 2018

More press coverage…

Montana FWP wants to hold off on a Yellowstone-area grizzly hunt this year (Montana Untamed)
Montana won’t recommend Yellowstone grizzly hunting this year (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

 

Park Service wants grizzly hunting ban in corridor between Yellowstone, Grand Teton

John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway location
John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway location

This seems quite sensible, but will no doubt trigger considerable head-butting. (Kudos to Bill Fordyce for spotting this.) . . .

The National Park Service said Tuesday there should be no hunting of grizzly bears in the 24,000-acre John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway between Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

The parkway should be “identified” as a national park unit where grizzly hunting is prohibited, Park Service regional director Sue Masica said in a memo to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The parkway is owned and managed by the Park Service, but hunting is allowed. Additionally, any hunting program in the ecosystem should limit the likelihood that “well-known or transboundary bears will be harvested,” Masica wrote.

Her comments were in response to a proposed Fish and Wildlife Service plan to remove federal protection from the Yellowstone grizzly. That delisting action is expected to be completed by the end of this year and would open the door for Wyoming, Idaho and Montana to institute hunts. The deadline for submitting comments on the delisting plan was Tuesday.

Read more . . .

Brian Peck: The ‘grizzly killing fields’: An irresponsible idea

Grizzly Sow with Two Cubs - - Wikipedia en:User Traveler100

As mentioned here three weeks ago, the affected states are already divvying up hunting quotas in anticipation of grizzly bear delisting in the  Yellowstone region.

Brian Peck thinks this is a bad idea, stating his case in a sensible, non-confrontational op-ed in yesterday’s Daily Inter Lake.

Left unaddressed is the topic of trophy hunting, a hot button issue for conservationists and many tribes . . .

In recent weeks, area papers have run the article “States divvy up Yellowstone-area grizzly hunt,” noting that Wyoming will get 58 percent of the body count, Montana 34 percent, and Idaho 8 percent. With grizzlies still listed as “threatened,” and likely to remain so for years to come despite efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prematurely delist them, it’s unseemly, irresponsible, and unnecessary for state wildlife agencies to begin dividing up the “killing fields” for this iconic species.

It’s important to remember that grizzlies are the slowest reproducing mammal in North America. As such, there is no biological “need” to ever hunt grizzlies for population control. In Yellowstone, it’s taken over 40 years for the population to increase from around 300 to last year’s estimate of 717. Not exactly a bear behind every tree.

OK, but how are we going to deal with “problem bears?” First, it’s important to realize that virtually all “problem bears” are caused by “problem people” and their bad behavior — for example, leaving bird feeders out from April to October and baiting bears to their deaths. Or leaving pet food on the deck, leftover burgers on the barbecue, unsecured horse feed, or tasty chickens in flimsy enclosures. Clean up our behavior and clean up the problem.

Second, a grizzly hunt is unlikely to target problem bears in people’s back yards or subdivisions because it’s too dangerous. And Fish, Wildlife and Parks can’t lead hunters to collared problem bears because it’s unethical and unsportsmanlike.

Finally, we already have the solution in the state’s Bear Conflict Resolution Specialists, who do a fabulous job through homeowner education, aversive conditioning of food-conditioned bears, and removing those whose bad habitats can’t be broken. However, we need to adequately fund and staff this vital program.

But don’t we need to hunt grizzlies to make them fear humans and avoid us? Nonsense. There’s no credible research to back up this claim. Properly conducted, ethical hunting of grizzlies doesn’t teach them to fear humans — it teaches them to be dead. And a dead bear tells no tales to his/her fellow grizzlies. It’s far more likely that grizzlies learn to fear/avoid humans by observing the thousands of big game hunters in the woods each fall.

So, if grizzlies don’t “need” to be hunted, there’s already a solution to problem bears; and if hunting grizzlies doesn’t instill fear in them, why are the states so adamant about divvying up the killing fields and starting a hunt in Greater Yellowstone?

State wildlife agencies get nearly all of their revenue from the sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses and were set up to manage wildlife populations through regulated “harvest” (killing). It’s part of their cultural history and ingrained in their management DNA.

Yet with grizzlies, and particularly the Greater Yellowstone bears, state wildlife agencies need to understand they’re playing in a whole new game where the old historic ways of doing business do not apply. States that insist on killing these iconic bears that millions of Americans associate with Yellowstone National Park itself, will quickly find themselves in a firestorm of public disapproval that will not only target them, but hunting itself. Time to think outside the box.

Brian Peck, of Columbia Falls, is an independent wildlife consultant.