Wyoming Officials Unhappy With Grizzly Ruling

Wyoming Game & Fish Department, Bear Hunting Magazine

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and other officials took issue with this weeks court ruling that kept the Yellowstone region grizzly bears on the federal endangered species list. Some are looking into the state appealing in hopes of gaining jurisdiction over bear management.

Many Wyoming residents, including outfitters and cattlemen, say the state must take over grizzly bear management to allow controlled hunting that would reduce the bear population. Some environmentalists, however, say public opinion nationwide goes against allowing hunting of them.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from turning management of grizzly bears over to Wyoming and other states in the region. The judges said the future of bears is uncertain because whitebark pine trees, which provide nuts for the bears, are in decline.

Meads' spokesman stated that the ruling troubles him because population goals for the bears have been met. There are an estimated 600 grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone region, which includes Yellowstone National Park and surrounding lands in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. He did note the governor is pleased that the court held there are adequate regulatory mechanisms in place to conserve the recovered grizzly bear population after de-listing.

The Deputy Attorney General stated that Wyoming could ask the appeals court to reconsider, appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or allowing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to come up with another plan for de-listing the grizzlies.

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