Grizzly bear numbers have recovered enough after years of federal protection to consider future hunting seasons, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

That was part of the proposal and request WGFD officials made recently to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. If a hunting season is set, it would be the first one in more than four decades. Grizzlies were listed for protection in 1975 by the USFWS.

From the Jackson Hole News & Guide:

Meeting in Douglas, Wyoming Game and Fish Department staffers asked their governing board for permission to draft hunting regulations. The request was granted, which means that in the coming weeks biologists and wardens will pore over maps to devise grizzly hunting boundaries and come up with proposals for how many bears could be killed.

Grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park, such as this one, have recovered enough after decades of protection that their range has expanded well outside park boundaries. Wyoming officials are making plans for a future hunting season. (Photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service)

It’s a development Game and Fish Chief Warden Brian Nesvik sees as “part of the success story” of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s grizzly population.

“There certainly is the opportunity biologically for there to be a grizzly bear season,” Nesvik said. “Grizzly bears have recovered to a point that they can be managed similar to other large carnivores in the ecosystem.”

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2017 said the bears had recovered enough after years of endangered or threatened protections to allow Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to manage them. Wyoming immediately began making plans then for a possible hunting season for boars by setting license fees: $600 for residents and $6,000 for nonresidents.

WGFD officials began trapping and monitoring grizzly bears in 2017. The department has a wealth of information including a map showing the recovery range of the bears.

Featured photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service