WY, MT, ID : Allow Hunting to Replace Taxpayer-Funded Lethal Control of Grizzly Bears

GOA Fights to Allow Hunting of Grizzly Bears to Replace Taxpayer-Funded Lethal Control

In March, we informed our members and supporters about legislation from Congresswoman Harriet Hageman (R-Wyoming) in the U.S. House and Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) in the U.S. Senate.

The Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2023 would direct the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to remove the Yellowstone Region’s grizzly bears from the federal Endangered Species List (ESL).

Grizzly bears met all federal and state recovery goals 20 years ago, and the Hageman/Lummis legislation would force the federal regulatory process to finally follow the spirit and intent of the Endangered Species Act.

The Grizzly Bear State Management Act would return management to the states and allow regulated hunting, a concept supported by the Governors of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. With full GOA support, these three governors petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to remove the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) population of grizzly bears from the ESL over a year ago.

As the grizzly bear political battle continues and Congress recently held hearings on the matter, I weighed into the debate with an opinion piece published in the Washington Times explaining how anti-hunting activists are playing politics with the grizzly bear and using the Endangered Species Act as a weapon to ensure grizzlies are not hunted. My article can be read at this link (Activists weaponize Endangered Species Act to oppose hunting grizzly bears – Washington Times).

Current grizzly population estimates in the GYE demonstrate that over 1,000 grizzlies roam the three-state area, and this estimate far exceeds all federal and state scientific requirements for a recovered and viable population.   

Grizzlies are now found 65 miles outside the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA) established by the Federal Government (USFWS) as suitable habitat for the long-term viability of grizzlies.

As our members and supporters know, many opponents to “Delisting” are the same people who want to restrict your right to keep and bear arms as well as your right to hunt! They ignore the fact that lethal grizzly control is now being implemented by taxpayer-funded government employees to maintain a balanced grizzly population and ensure public safety.   

In one year (2021), in Wyoming alone, 29 grizzlies were lethally removed by government officials! If the Grizzly Bear State Management Act passes and returns management to the states, hunters in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho will be used to manage these populations using state-controlled and carefully regulated hunting.

“Delisting” will result in management authority being turned over to the states following American legal traditions established by the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. This “Model” grants legal authority to the states for the management of most wildlife species including upland game birds, deer, elk, moose, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, turkeys, resident birds, small mammals, reptiles, and all other species except migratory birds and those on the ESL.

Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho have long-term management plans in place to ensure grizzlies do not need to be “relisted,” and they will professionally manage grizzly bears just like they do all other wildlife species.

Let’s be honest, many “Delisting” opponents simply want to restrict your right to hunt, and these opponents to your freedoms will not tell you that lethal grizzly control has been used for many years to ensure public safety.    

Be sure to check out my Washington Times Op-Ed. Also, be on the lookout for more from GOA about this and other issues in the coming weeks and months as we fight to protect the Second Amendment and advance hunter opportunities throughout America!

P.S. Please be watching for updates about Second Amendment and hunting issues in the coming weeks and months, and be on the lookout for information about other GOA efforts that will protect and/or advance your Second Amendment Rights and hunting opportunities!