Montana advances grizzly bear plans that could allow hunting | Montana News

By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Montana wildlife officials on Tuesday put forward plans that could allow grizzly bear hunting in areas around Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, if states north of the American Rockies are successful in their attempts to lift federal protections for animals.

Grizzly bears in the area have been protected as an endangered species since 1975 and have been protected from hunting for most of that time.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte announced last month that the state intends to ask the Biden administration to lift endangered species protection for grizzly bears in the glacier region. Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon is leading a similar campaign to end bear protections in the Yellowstone area.

Both regions have the highest number of bears in the United States outside of Alaska, the only state that currently allows hunting.

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Montana Wildlife Commissioners have signed a multi-state plan to keep more than 900 bears in the Yellowstone area. Wyoming has already signed the plan, which would allow limited hunting. Idaho officials are expected to review it next month.

Montana commissioners also gave preliminary approval to revisions to the Glacier region bear population targets that could allow grizzly bear hunting in northwestern parts of the state if federal protections end. The rule requires maintaining a population of over 800 bears.

Details on future hunting seasons would be established at a later date.

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