Waiting on the delisting of the grizzly bear from Endangered Species Act protection, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is hard at work planning future hunting regulations for the animals.
Officials are proposing both spring and fall hunting seasons for grizzly bears spanning seven hunting districts closely situated to Yellowstone National Park. Each of the districts, aptly referred to as Bear Management Units, will have strict regulations on the number of bears that can be taken.
The proposal is one of the requirements set out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the process to officially delist grizzly bears.
“This is a first attempt at hopefully a management option that we’re going to have here down the road,” FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim told The Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
The proposed fall season would take place between November 10 and December 15 with the spring hunt taking place from March 15 to April 20. Officials have stated the dates were strategically chosen to increase the odds of male bears being shot as opposed to females, who tend to den earlier and emerge from their dens later than their male counterparts.
In addition to the proposed hunting season dates, the proposal outlines that solitary grizzly bears are the only ones killed rather than those accompanied by other bears. Successful licensees will be required to take a course on bear identification and will have to wait seven years before drawing another grizzly bear tag.
At this point, delisting is still facing a fair bit of opposition, but things seem to be moving in the right direction.
Grizzly bears were delisted from Endangered Species Protection back in 2007, but after environmental groups rallied with a law suit, a federal judge restored protections. Officials expect a ruling on delisting the bears by the close of 2016.