Grizzly Bear Hunters, Activists Await Judge's Ruling on Hunt

Tensions are high in Wyoming as hunters and activists await a federal judge's ruling about whether the state's planned grizzly bear hunt near Yellowstone National Park can take place.
Grizzly Bear Hunters, Activists Await Judge's Ruling on Hunt

Tensions are high in Wyoming as hunters and activists await a federal judge's ruling about whether the state's planned grizzly bear hunt near Yellowstone National Park can take place.

Six lawsuits have been filed about the planned hunt, which was approved earlier this year by Wyoming wildlife officials. Arguments will be presented Thursday before U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen.

Wyoming officials have watched the grizzly bear population return to strong numbers, now believed to be about 700 or more in the Yellowstone area. Biological data has been compiled and management objectives declared publicly to help conserve the population without letting it get out of control.

Environmental groups and activists believe the hunt should not take place. The bears were removed from the federal protected status in 2017. If the hunt takes place it will be the first in Wyoming for grizzly bears in four decades.

Proponents say the limited management objectives are a way to help control the population.

“It’s not being bloodthirsty. The fact of the matter is that we need to do something for the benefit of the bear," Wyoming hunting industry spokesman Sy Gilliland told USA Today. “We can’t turn the clock back and remove the people from Wyoming. The bear is overflowing. He just needs to have his number trimmed back for the benefit of the species overall.”

Wyoming's hunt is set to begin Saturday, Sept. 1, as is one in Idaho. Christensen may rule immediately given the impending starting date for the hunt.

Featured image: iStock

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