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Grizzly tags? Permits may become available for Yellowstone-area bears.

IN 1975, GRIZZLY bears in the lower United States were declared "threatened" and granted protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); there were perhaps fewer than 1,000 animals at that time. But conservation efforts have turned things around, and after more than thirty years on the Endangered Species List (ESL), the grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) has increased from as few as 135 to more than 600 animals, which have been removed from ESL listing. Some wildlife managers are proposing hunting as a management tool.

This Greater Yellowstone subpopulation of grizzlies lives in parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Management of these bears will fall under each state's wildlife management agency. Each has a different opinion regarding the use of hunting as a management tool for the bears. Wyoming is the most likely of the three states to allow grizzly hunting in the foreseeable future.

"If there's going to be hunting," said Wyoming Game & Fish Department deputy director, John Emmerich, "it'll be in Wyoming." Emmerich said his department could make arrangements for a limited-opportunity hunting season as soon as next year.

In Montana, Arnold Dood of the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks estimated that grizzly hunting could be allowed in the next three to five years. The northwest corner of the state is also home to approximately 500 grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park, a population which is the subject of an ESA status review this year.

Idaho may have as few as ten grizzlies in the GYA. "Idaho is not making any plans for the hunting of grizzly bears at this point," said Ed Mitchell of the Idaho DFG. The state has three other separate grizzly populations that were not affected by the GYA delisting.

Wildlife managers are already facing opposition with regard to the future management of GYA bears. Last June, a lawsuit was filed by a coalition of antihunting and "conservation" organizations, including the Humane Society of the U.S., the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club. The most immediate purpose of the lawsuit is to convince a federal judge to issue an injunction against delisting until the full case can be heard in court. If such an injunction is issued, said Wyoming's John Emmerich, his department's planning for a possible 2008 grizzly bear hunting season would grind to a halt.

APPLICATION DEADLINES:

OCTOBER 2007

ARIZONA: Spring turkey, javelina and buffalo, Oct. 9

NEW YORK: Antlerless deer Instant Lottery, Oct. 1

OREGON: Cascade elk centerfire, Oct. 20; Rocky Mountain elk centerfire, Oct. 24

SOUTH DAKOTA: Nonresident East River deer, Oct. 26

TENNESSEE: Waterfowl at Bogota WMA, Oct. 17

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Title Annotation:THE Outfitter: News
Author:Rabb, John Hay
Publication:Petersen's Hunting
Date:Oct 1, 2007
Words:440
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