Judge Ignores Biology, Protects Grizzly Bears With Ruling That Ends Hunts

A federal judge has restored protection for grizzly bears, ending the first scheduled hunts in 40 years in the Lower 48 after almost a month of delays.
Judge Ignores Biology, Protects Grizzly Bears With Ruling That Ends Hunts

A  federal judge has restored protection for grizzly bears under the federal Endangered Species Act, ending the first scheduled hunts for the animals in the Lower 48 after almost a month of delays.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled that the bears' recovery in the Yellowstone National Park area was not sufficient based on their prior native range. He said possibly more than 50,000 roamed in the United States at one time. Christensen said because of that greater number, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's removal in 2017 of ESA protections based solely on the Yellowstone area population was "simplistic at best and disingenuous at worst."

The judge's ruling means the feds again have jurisdiction over the bears instead of the state wildlife agencies, which have decades of the best research and data to support their plans for sustainable management. Bear supporters decried the piecemeal approach to delisting and applauded the judge's decision.

In short, because the bears aren't fully recovered throughout in their entire native range — which is never going to happen — the activists and judge believe they should be protected until they are.

State officials said they're disappointed in the ruling. The USFWS said it believes its decision to delist the bears was correct. The Wyoming hunt, originally slated to start Sept. 1, had been delayed twice by the judge. Now, it's off.

The grizzly population is believed to be at least 700 in the Yellowstone area, but likely is at least several hundred more. You simply can't accurately count every bear out there for "how many do we have?" totals. Goals outlined by federal officials have been met for years as the bears have thrived.

Conservation groups have expressed concern about the ruling, including Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation, Safari Club International and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

“Despite this ruling, the basic facts remain the same: grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area have recovered, and no longer meet the definition of threatened or endangered under the ESA and should be rightfully returned to state management,” said Evan Heusinkveld, Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation president and CEO. “This ruling is just another example of why we need comprehensive reforms to the way we manage ESA-listed species in this country. We are evaluating all of our legal options to appeal this ruling.”

Now, we're seeing more interactions with humans and bears. The grizzly is booming in the Yellowstone area and expanding its range, indicating a problem with carrying capacity in the area where the Wyoming hunt was scheduled. Trimming the numbers with a carefully selected goal — just 23 bears in Wyoming and one in Idaho — is conservation management.

But that's foreign to some activists and those who do nothing but yelp ignorantly about saving everything. They have no concept or care of carrying capacity, how problematic it can be to simply be a preservationist, and that hunting to reduce numbers is part of true conservation.

State management should dictate the fate of the grizzly, as well as the gray wolf in the Great Lakes area, and other wildlife. Judicial whiplash thanks to emotion overturning biology and science is harmful.

It's also amazing how so many will rant about biology and science when it suits their agenda, yet clearly don't want to take into account the biological findings and research of a recovered species and limited hunting. That kind of science and research doesn't fit their "We're right, you're wrong and if you don't go along with that we'll sue you and make your life hell until WE get what we want" narrative, agenda or lifestyle. They're affected by a sick, ignorant Disney mentality instead of living in reality.

This happened in Florida with its black bear hunt in 2015, in which the low quota of 304 bears was met in just two days. Florida's bear population is exploding and the hunt was the first in more than two decades, with scads of biological, science-supported data to back up the state's effort to begin hunting them again. This included vehicle crashes and reports of interactions from homeowners and hunters, among others.

When the hunt ended, a flurry of lawsuit threats arrived if another hunt was planned for 2016. Among pressure from the public and from the legislature, the state wildlife agency (with no desire to fight in court) gave up the ghost. Instead of hunting, more "education" was begun. It's doubtful we'll see another bear hunt in Florida unless someone in the governor's office, legislature or wildlife agency gets some intestinal fortitude.

The same ignorant appeasement of voters happened in New Jersey, where its governor banned bear hunting on all state lands. Why? Not because of science or biological facts, but because he promised when campaigning to do so. There, too, vehicle crashes and homeowner interactions are regular events.

A Wyoming elk hunting guide and his client, while cleaning and packing the client's elk, were attacked by a pair of grizzly bears in September. This occurred near the Tetons, south of Yellowstone National Park. The guide was killed. The client was attacked but somehow was able to escape.

These kind of problems will continue to happen, and not just with hunters. It's going to happen to a family out for a vacation somewhere. Or to hikers, bikers, ultra-runners and other folks enjoying the outdoors.

The Endangered Species Act is broken and is nothing more than a preservationist tool of liberals who don't want management or conservation. They only want preservation, and they have the ESA and a gutless judiciary — Example A, the Great Lakes wolves, and Example B, the Yellowstone grizzlies — to help them achieve their agenda-driven goals of saving every bird, bear and fish while ending hunting, trapping and sound, biology-driven conservation management.



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