Grizzly settlement talks break down

The delisting of the Grizzly Bear is being challenged in two district courts.  Bear advocates point to the tenuous food supply given global warming and the high mortality rate of bears shot by hunters.  Settlement talks were pursued to see if the all the parties could work out the differences.  That didn’t happen so it’s likely that a race between the two judges in court will decide.

Courts to decide grizzly’s status after talks flop – AP







  1. jdubya Avatar

    “”Last year, a record 48 bears were killed by humans, out of 79 total deaths that included eight cubs. At least 20 of those bears were killed by hunters who shot in self-defense or after mistaking the bears for other animals.””

    I don’t want to get into an anti-hunting rant but these numbers are pitiful. If hunters can’t get educated on what is legal to shoot, and what is not, then additional areas need to be closed to hunting.

  2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I agree that the areas should be closed if hunters can’t identify their targets. There really is no reason not to be able to tell the difference between a black and grizzly.

  3. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Five grizzlies killed by hunters who claimed they mistook a grizzly for a black bear. On April 15, 2009, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) discussed options for dealing with the problem. They decided that better hunter education was the solution, despite the fact previous educational efforts failed. The IGBC gives $60,000 taxpayer dollars a year to the non-profit Center For Wildlife Information to produce educational information on bears.

    The IGBC ain’t very good at problems and solutions. Problems: 1) too many black bear hunters kill grizzlies by mistake. 2.) All educational efforts by the Center For Wildlife Information to teach hunters the difference between black bears and grizzlies have failed. Solution: Give more money to the Center For Wildlife Information. Brilliant!!! Brilliant example of throwing good money after bad.

  4. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Prowolf–during an open public meeting on April 15, 2009, the IGBC discussed closing some grizzly habitat on public land to hunting. The idea was dismissed as laughable.

    For those who could not attend the April 15 meeting in Bozeman, MT, the IGBC took public comments on all it’s ideas for reducing grizzly mortality–provided you sent your comments via email, so the IGBC could deny that it ever got your comments. US Fish & Wildllife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator Chris Servheen runs the IGBC, and this is his way of making damn sure the public has no voice on grizzly bear recovery issues.

    If Servheen and the feds win the lawsuits against delisting Yellowstone grizzlies, they’ll promptly begin the process of delisting grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. (NCDE)

    Three cheers for the $5 million DNA grizzly bear population study of the NCDE that made it possible–a study opposed by Sen. John McCain, but supported by many environmentalists. You know who you are. Research is holy, holy, holy.

  5. Jeff Avatar

    I would be hesitant to say that all efforts to educate hunters have failed, perhaps a lot more grizzlies would be dead without the edcuational efforts?

  6. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Jeff–I’m sure you’re right that educational efforts to date have prevented some grizzlies from being killed by hunters who mistake them for black bears. But despite those efforts, 5 grizzlies got shot by mistake last year. That’s the problem. Is the IGBC solution to the problem–keep giving money to the Center For Wildlife Information–going to solve the problem, or is it just a case of throwing good money after bad?

    I think the IGBC–which includes the Idaho, Montana, Wyoming Fish and game departments–has done a decent job of educatining hunters on how to tell the difference between black bears and grizzlies. Despite that, hunters keep killing grizzlies by mistake. What’s a realistic solution to this problem? The IGBC rejected closing any grizzly bear habitat on public land to black bear hunters or elk hunters. What other options are there?

  7. JimT Avatar

    Let me ask a question here.

    What is the accountability record for those who “mistakenly” shot a griz instead of a black bear?

    If there is no accountability, no penalty for being a poor hunter for not knowing what you are shooting, then where is the motivation for them to change?

    It seems as if, on a lot of levels in a lot of areas, instead of accountability and consequences, we have a new standard, the “Whoops-My Bad, Won’t Do It Again, Please Believe Me” standard. Ridiculous.

  8. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    I keep hearing in the thread above hunters “mistake” griz for blacks. Why even follow that line of thought? There was no “mistake” for blacks in Thoro by outfitters, none I know of in the Gallatin and none on the East boundary ….. by any outfitters or anyone associated with them presaent or past.

    As for private “naive” hunters all they have to do is be hesitant if they don’t know for sure and it means a bear lives. I’d be looking to something other than the “mistakes”…like private hunters knowing they won’t get interrogated or prosecuted if they fire away. As for all those Walter Mitty guides and outfitters bagging a griz whether they get to keep it or not is very important to their bar room macho identity. They get to say, “I killed a griz” for the rest of their lives. Same for those privates who like to hang around the gun shops.

    The solution is lots of investigative work on every killing and big rewards ($50,000) for info on these guys. All like to brag it and buds get to feuding or having affairs with the others wife or girl friend.

    For a lot of resource enforcement I am for more education but in this case experience has shown me the killing won’t stop until the hammer is slammed down.

  9. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Jim T,

    Looks like we were thinking the same thing.

  10. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Bob Jackson–Given that state and federal agencies make a good effort to help hunters tell the difference between grizzlies and black bears, plus the commandment that you don’t shoot unless you’re 100% certain of your target–I tend to agree with you that big fines are in order for accidentally killing grizzlies. The question is, would that backfire and lead to an increase in shoot, shovel, and shut-up (SSS)?

  11. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Dave, you will see the SSS come about with large fines, but at the same time can the bears afford to have nothing done?

  12. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    3/22/07, U.S Fish & Wildlife Service

    Q16. Will mortalities increase if grizzly bears are no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act?

    Because of revised methods for establishing sustainable mortality limits, careful monitoring of all sources of mortality, and cooperation between Federal and State agencies, a significant increase in grizzly bear mortalities after delisting is not expected.

  13. Jon Way Avatar

    If grizzlies go back on the ESA it is critical to get rid of black bear hunting in grizzly inhabited areas. It is hard for me to believe how easy it is to kill black bears legally, esp. in grizzly areas. And for purely recreational purposes. It makes no sense…

  14. Ryan Avatar

    ” It is hard for me to believe how easy it is to kill black bears legally”


    That should read how easy it is to get a tag. BTW black bears are very good eating animals.

  15. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    As usual, anti-hunters are trying to advance their agenda by masquerading as legit conservationists who just want to save grizzly bears.

    I imagine the judge(s) deciding on whether or not Chris Servheen and the feds erred in delisting grizzlies in 2007 will focus on legitimate issues.

    Servheen and friends will argue that when grizzlies were delisted in 2007, their “conservation strategy” put policies and regulatory mechanisms in place to prevent excessive grizzly bear mortality. Attorneys for environmental groups will point to record high grizzly bear deaths in 2008 and say, the conservation strategy failed. We told Servheen and Co. it was inadequate and that it would fail.

    Servheen and Co will argue that 2008 was an abberation. Who knows what the judge will decide.

    I think the “primary conservation area” for grizzly bears is too small to sustain a healthy grizzly population in the long term. I don’t think US Forest Service policies protect grizzlies from logging, oil exploration, bubbleheads on ATVs, and a host of other activites that degrade grizzly bear habitat. I don’t think state fish and game agenices have done enough to reduce hunter related grizzly bear mortality. No black bear hunting in grizzly country? That’s not realistic. But no hound hunting and no baiting are no-brainers–to everyone except the Wyoming/Idaho fish & game depts, and Chris Servheen and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.

  16. cobra Avatar

    Remember a few weeks ago a North Idaho man shot a small male grizzly getting into his elk pen? I just learned this weekend not to far from that area there has been signs posted that say ( Warning: Sow Grizzly with cubs in this area.) I’ve heard they were transplants and I’ve heard they just showed up one day. There are several homes in the area so who knows what will happen. Seems like the Grizzlies are showing up in a lot of places their not supposed to be according to F&G.

  17. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Ryan if black bears are good eating why do so many hunters leave the skinned carcass in the field and just take the skin, head and paws?

  18. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    I doubt that many bears are hunted for food. Most, if not all, are hunted (or poached) as trophy – sometimes only just for that infamous “victory” picture. The link leads to the most recent Austrian brown bear poaching victim. The pic (can be enlarged) shows the skinned carcass with the head and paws cut off.
    If it does not work go to and search for the term Braunbär.
    Quite recently police found another one, stuffed for decorative purposes in a hunters living room. The slowly and always fragile recovering bear population in Austria has in the meantime again been poached to extinction. European Union demands the money back that has been granted for the WWF re-introduction project. Makes no sense to put in even more bears just for the fun of the poachers. Rural Austria has a long tradition of poaching and ol´poachers are considered local heros.

  19. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    If you google for recipes with bear you soon see that bear is not everyone´s favourite dish. Bear recipes are mainly circulated on (surprise!) specialized bear hunting sites and magazines. Bear seems to be not so uncommon in the Cajun cooking. However, some remarks that come with this recipes let me believe that Bear is for the true connoisseurs only. A few examples?
    “Bear should be prepared properly or your first meal will undoubtedly be your last”.
    “For eating purposes we choose a fall kill rather than a spring as the spring bear is quite often parasitic from it’s long winter nap”.
    “When roasting you should always cook on rack about 2 inches above bottom of pan as bear is quite greasy”.
    “The flavor of bear can vary greatly, depending on the animal’s diet and the amount of fat left with the meat.”
    “A bear that has eaten carrion will have objectionable flavors, while one that has fed on berries will taste completely different”.
    “Bear fat has a very strong flavor and will make the meat objectionable if not completely removed”.
    “Care should be taken with bear meat to prevent the danger of trichinosis”.
    Ok, I do not need it. But maybe with a bottle of ketchup……:-)

  20. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Thank you Peter that was very enlightening. I like my bears live and frisky and hold the hot pepper sauce.

  21. Ryan Avatar


    I can’t control what others do, only myself and my party. Some of peters quotes are correct, the taste of bears is very contingent on what they eat.. A grass and berry fed fall bear is very good as is a spring bear thats on grass. Bears that eat salmon and carrion are not edible. The same quotes have been made about several specialty foods as well. The stigma against eating bears and Cats is going away now, from what it was in the 60’s and 70’s. Cougar is a very good lean meat as well.

  22. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    In addition to requiring hunters in grizzly country to carry bear spray they probably won’t be able to use for self-defense during a life and death surprise encounter with a bear, maybe the IGBC and enviros could require all hunters on public land in grizzly country to eat tofu and spinach 3 times a day. The Sierra Club and Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife & Parks could “partner” on recipies. Federal and state agencies could use Pittman-Robertson funds to produce educational materials on tofu. The Center For Wildlife Information could do vidios featuring Gen. Norman Schwartzkoff as “Chef Tofu.”

    It’s important to let the public know that bean curds and bear spray are the keys to saving grizzlies, not protecting grizzly bear habitat.

  23. mikarooni Avatar

    What would be wrong with temporarily closing prime grizzly recovery country (Taylor basin and some of the area around Gardiner) to hunting for a few years until the bear population is high enough to have a breeding cushion against too much further narrowing of the genetic bandwidth?

  24. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    mikarooni–Closures to hunters on US Forest Service lands? Discussed and dismissed by the IGBC on April 15, 2009. Hikers in Yellowstone Park don’t beat bears to death with their backpacks, but there are closures to protect bears from people. Hunters outside the park kill bears on U.S. Forest Service with alarming regularity, but there are no closures. Go figure. I attribute it to politics and $$$$$.

  25. Jon Way Avatar

    My point above was that mgmt practices on bears ignores that they are sentient, intelligent beings like most predators are. It is amazing that anyone can buy a tag to shoot one for trophy purposes. I agree with linda hunter. I really do think mgmt of carnivores should be diff’t than say ungulates, rabbits, and birds. George Wuethner (spelling) makes this case in many of his postings as well.