State wildlife officials issued on Wednesday a draft rule on removing grizzly bears of endangered species, which have been listed as a threatened species since 1975, from its list.
The draft includes spring and fall hunting seasons in seven districts, known as a Grizzly Bear Management Unit, near the borders of Yellowstone National Park. Each unit would have a certain amount of bears that can be killed.
The draft will be presented to the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission at its meeting next week, and will vote to give a final rule, which will be placed later this year. Federal officials have required that states have in place a plan to manage the bears.
If approved, the grizzly bears will start to be hunted after decades of being considered endangered, since they have been listed as a threatened species since 1975. They were briefly delisted in 2007 but were reinstated after a lawsuit.
If the hunting season is allowed, residents will pay $150 for a grizzly tag
Groups against the rule claim that the remaining grizzlies will become aggressive if they start to attack. They say that the bears are appearing more often near humans because they are looking for food that they cannot find in Greater Yellowstone.
David Mattson, an adjunct professor at Yale University who has long studied the bears, said in a statement to Monitor, that the bear reproduce slowly and, if the rule is approved, there will be a higher mortality of female bears.
Others say that the bears are vulnerable, adding that 61 bears were killed last year even though no hunting took place, according to Bonnie Rice, of the Sierra Club.
If the hunting season is allowed, residents will pay $150 for a grizzly tag. If they hunt a bear, they would have to pay another $50 for a trophy license which allows a person to possess and move a trophy animal. Non-resident hunters would pay $1,000 for a tag, and their trophy licenses would also be $50.
Source: Christian Science Monitor