Hunting the Hunter

Opinions on the grizzly delisting.

Grizzly-bear recovery is one of the great success stories from the conservation movement. On the brink of extinction in the 1970s, the species now thrives in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This recovery has led many, including fish-and-wildlife agencies, to call for the grizzly’s removal from the endangered-species list, and the institution of a highly regulated grizzly hunt. So we ask, if the grizzly is delisted, should there be a hunt in Montana?

Not So Fast
No current science supports the need for hunting grizzly bears. As one of the slowest-reproducing mammals, the margin for error is slimmer than any other hunted species in Montana. And too many bears are dying without hunting, even while bears are still federally protected. In 2015, 61 bears were killed from human conflicts. Hunting will not reduce these conflicts or increase tolerance toward bears. Hunting could quickly erode decades of success. If Montana were to continue to lead the way in conserving grizzly bears and take hunting off the table, it would allow for all of us to discuss grizzly bears’ future without the emotional distraction hunting creates. —Chris Colligan, Wildlife Program Coordinator, Greater Yellowstone Coalition

Everything in Moderation
Grizzly delisting is justified because once a species has recovered, its management should be handled by state wildlife agencies, just like other game animals. Regulated hunting is a time-tested, effective wildlife-management tool that has worked for numerous other species, and can work for grizzlies, too. Hunters have been the most effective conservationists and have brought back numerous other game species, and they will continue to be the best advocates for grizzly bears in years to come. —Nick Gevock, Conservation Director, Montana Wildlife Federation