May 10 is end of Yellowstone grizzly delisting comment period

Folks can make their grizzly bear delisting comments at until 11:59 pm on May 10. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave 2 months to comment on “Removing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Population of Grizzly Bears From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.”

The issue has been heating up. It seems to me that the biggest objection friends of the Yellowstone grizzly are making is the potential for large numbers of grizzlies to be killed in hunting seasons that will be set in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho after delisting. While Wyoming is playing coy on whether it will even have a grizzly season, statements from Wyoming public officials leave no doubt. No grizzly bears have been hunted since 1975.

There was hope that the area where grizzlies would be hunted would lie outside the primary conservation habitat zone. Instead it appears that hunting will take place deep in the backcountry and even in the most remote designated wilderness.

There will also be no protection for the grizzly bears such as n0. 399 that have become famous due to their visibility in Grand Teton National Park. There will be no hunting inside GTNP, but that Park is small and the bears den outside it on the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s Teton Wilderness. Already some Wyoming residents are publicly bragging how they will blast away famous bear 399 and her offspring in particular. People might want to go to this article in the Jackson Hole News and Guide by Todd Wilkinson and read the comments to the article at its bottom by someone named Bill Addeo.

The grizzly bear delisting seems to be taking on the character of the wolf delisting that ended with a year round hunting season in Idaho and a big decrease in wolf numbers inside Yellowstone Park as the packs were shot when they briefly left the Park. As if the grizzly delisting is a cue to take another swipe at Yellowstone Park, now Montana is planning an increase in wolf hunting along the boundaries of the oldest national park.

Other concerns about the delisting are availability of food for the bears, a multi-year (too long) period needed to verify and take action on the grizzly population drop, a primary conservation zone that is way too small, poor grizzly genetic diversity and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure to improve the bears’ genetics by bringing in an outside grizzly like they said they would do. Finally, removing grizzlies from the fringes will have negative impacts inside the primary zone for dispersal and bear cubs when a large boar is killed (new grizzlies move into his vacant territory and try to kill the bear cubs).

There are many sophisticated comments being submitted and you can do a web search to find them posted on-line for comment ideas. It is my view that comments that just say “delist the grizzly” or “don ‘t delist” are useless. At least a bit more should be written, but it does not have to be a lot more.


  1. Nancy StClair Avatar
    Nancy StClair

    The delisting of the grizzly bears would decrease numbers of tourists in the greater Yellowstone area. Our state needs the money due to lost revenue in mining. Science does not show that the area can not handle the number of bears in the Eco system, so does not call for the reduction of our beat population. Please reconsider!

    1. J. Par Avatar
      J. Par

      Like you, I oppose delisting the Grizzly. In the hope that you will make a meaningful public comment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opposing delisting, I wish to inform you of the following: (1) remarks made on this nature blog do not constitute an official public comment and will not be considered by the government. The government does not go out to the Internet looking for comments like these; rather, a citizen participates in the process by submitting a formal comment directly to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I recommend that you visit the website of an organization such as Defenders of Wildlife. There you will find an online form that will allow you to submit your identifying information and your comments. (2) Your comment does not actually address issues that relate to the Endangered Species Act. If you visit the websites of organizations such as Defenders of Wildlife or other reputable organizations that employ staff who understand the specifics of the Endangered Species Act, you will gain a lot of knowledge without spending too much time. And, if you still wish to make a comment on this issue, you will be in a better position to do so. Again, those organizations usually have a form letter available for you to use.(3) Please be aware that no one is suggesting that the bears should be delisted because their numbers need to be reduced or because the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem cannot handle the numbers. Again, please read the above discussion prepared by Ralph Maughan or visit websites of reputable wildlife organizations. I hope you will take your energy and your strong feelings about this issue and actually participate in the process by submitting an official comment to the US F&W Service. That is the only way you can really make a meaningful difference right now. Public comments are due on May 10, 2016 — TODAY!

  2. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    I should have added to my arguments against hunting is that killing animals for economics is something I cannot support either.

    I am very concerned that enough time is being given to studying the effects of decline in grizzly food supplies before we declare open season on them.

    I do not at all support killing additional wolves on the border of Yellowstone at Gardiner. Increases in quota are going to be a steady ‘creep’ every year unless the public says enough!

  3. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    In order to remove protections from the bears, the USFWS is arguing that the Yellowstone grizzly bear is a “distinct population segment” of the grizzly bear. That means it is physically separated and isn’t linked genetically to other populations, which the USFWS believes is true of the Yellowstone region’s grizzly bears.

    Whaaaat? It seems they are going the same way as Canis lycaon? (Incidentally, there was a court case challenging the classification of the Eastern Wolf, and I noticed as a ‘friend of the court’ Safari Club International was lurking.

    Can we really trust any decision by USF&W when government agencies are such hierarchies? We saw what happened with the wolverine, the findings of their own scientists were disregarded! An independent scientific report would be more reliable.

  4. Leslie Avatar

    I do not know Bill Addeo as I live east of YNP, but reading his comments in Jackson Hole N&G it is clear that 1. he is a clinically imbalanced individual and 2. this is the very type of individual who should NOT be owning a gun.

  5. Gal Yellowstone Avatar
    Gal Yellowstone

    I believe insufficient attention has been given to the public policy issue of the cost to both public and private sectors of restoring the population when the inevitable happens and the GY grizzly population crashes. Collapse of this fragile population is likely to occur when mortality by hunting is added to mortality increases related to ever-shrinking habitat and consequent non-hunting deleterious interactions with humans as well as the negative impact of climate change on food sources and habitat (e.g., reduction by fire of forest cover). Additionally, the fact that it IS a distinct subpopulation, isolated, e.g., from the bear population in Glacier NP, predicts diminishing genetic diversity that will also ultimately reduce the reproductive rate. When it is documented that the population has diminished below self-sustaining levels, and I believe that will occur within a few years of removal of protections, the substantial cost of restoring grizzly bears to the region must be factored into consideration.
    Pointing out to USFWS that bears are beautiful and important symbols isn’t likely to get a lot of traction, but calling attention to the cost of undoing the unintended and unwanted consequences of delisting very well might get their attention.

  6. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    You’re right, there is no shortage of reasons to oppose grizzly delisting. There are any number of issues that can be commented on re what is premature about delisting grizzlies. And today, delisting means hunting will follow. Hunting is already being planned in these states before delisting has even happened (and court cases that will ultimately follow), so they must feel pretty confident they are going to have their way. Renowned scientists including Jane Goodall have. But in the end, politics will be the deciding factor. The fact that there are restrictions on the way people can comment based on whim is appalling to me.

    With wild horses, all ‘form’ comments are considered as only 1 comment, no matter how many there are. So it inhibits people from commenting, and is like interfering with people’s voting rights by putting restrictions on them, or gerrymandering voting districts. No matter what people say, each comment should be counted individually. Who knows what they really do with the comments; in Michigan I believe, it was proven that some were just thrown out.

    I think people have considered all of those things you mention, it is the entire crux of the issue, – unstable food sources, climate change pressure, less genetic diversity, a low reproduction rate generally to begin with. We’ve questioned it for wolves as well. Once they are delisted, all bets are off as far as re-restoring them. Politics may ensure that they are never reintroduced again.

    The only thing that gets USF&W’s attention is the chain of command from above and keeping their jobs. Science is only one part of the equation. But the fact that they are beautiful and symbolic shouldn’t be minimized.

    Why are they an isolated subpopulation? That’s the thing – there needs to be a larger protected area for the bears to migrate, increase genetic diversity, and without being shot at. Ralph mentioned about the female bear that was supposed to be introduced but so far has not been.

    But the subspecies issue is up for debate and the subject of a court case – any scientists want to weigh in and elaborate (I’m obviously not an expert)? It doesn’t make sense, if they are a unique subspecies or subpopulation, why delist? It’s like a vicious circle humans have created, because we won’t let them expand to other areas!

    Speaking of costs consideration:

    Jane Goodall’s Bid to Save Grizzly Bears Threatened by $50 Hunting Licenses

    This is what I mean about killing for profit.

    1. Gal Yellowstone Avatar
      Gal Yellowstone

      Well stated, Ida!

      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        Awww, thanks! 🙂

        1. Leslie Avatar

          From what I’ve been told the subspecies angle is simply a way for the service to delist a portion of the population now, instead of the whole RM at once. The only reason they could be called a ‘sub-species’ is that they’ve been genetically isolated for so long from Canadian bears. But that hasn’t made them distinct. Only their food sources here are distinct.

          Next on the delist chopping block will be the RMF. They are already holding public meetings in MT.

            1. Ida Lupines Avatar
              Ida Lupines

              Isn’t there supposed to be a five-year observation period after a delisting? I think this is the prime example of what will happen when ‘control’ reverts to the states, right out of the starting gate they want to hunt and kill for trophies, to heck with any observation period.

              They are not concerned about the welfare of the species.

              I share concerns about ‘let the bears eat salad’. There isn’t much left for them. This needs to be addressed, never mind Safari Club Interantional lobbyists. (I realize I made a typo, but I decided to leave it.)

  7. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Sorry, my comment should read ‘in Michigan, during a vote for wolf hunting, it was proven that many of the overwhelming amount of comments opposing it were just thrown out’. There’s some info on it in the archives here.

  8. Theo Chu Avatar
    Theo Chu

    “The grizzly bear delisting seems to be taking on the character of the wolf delisting that ended with a year round hunting season in Idaho and a big decrease in wolf numbers inside Yellowstone Park as the packs were shot when they briefly left the Park.”

    Nothing remotely like what happened with wolves will happen with grizzly bears. State biologists obviously recognize the immense differences between the population dynamics of the two species and will not do anything to risk a re-listing for either. This means management of grizzly bears will be hugely more conservative than that of wolves. It is significant to note that wolves are still safely above recovery goals in both Idaho and Montana even after several years of intensive hunting. I personally have no interest in hunting any bear or wolves and I think any grizzly hunting should be limited to three strikes nuisance bears already destined to be killed by authorities or doomed to a zoo. This piece NY Times says it well.

    1. Ida Lupines Avatar
      Ida Lupines

      The first line of it says he wants a trophy! I guess we are supposed to think he’s a great guy because he passed up opportunities before (sorry, no.)

      I also think once the states assume control, all bets are off as far as conservative hunting. The Feds promise to step in if necessary, but by then the damage is done, and after what happened with wolves, I don’t have a lot of confidence in them.

      1. Theo Chu Avatar
        Theo Chu

        Having been closely involved in grizzly bear recovery/management with biologists from Idaho, Wyoming and Montana for many years, I am fully confident that whatever hunting is allowed by these states will be very conservative and will not in any way jeopardize the grizzly population. The very last thing they want is for the bear to be re-listed as a result of their mistakes. The biology of bears and wolves are not comparable and regardless of “what happened with wolves” under state management they are still doing very well.

      2. Theo Chu Avatar
        Theo Chu

        “I guess we are supposed to think he’s a great guy because he passed up opportunities before (sorry, no.)”

        I submit whether we think he’s a great guy is totally off topic.

        1. Leslie Avatar

          That opinion piece is pure opinion. He acts like connectivity means bears in Golden Gate Park! He takes lightly the issues of climate change and food sources. He really does not have the science correct and does sound like a spokesman for the hunting crowd.

          There are several problems with the criteria the Service has put forth for delisting. One of the main ones is that they are coupling delisting with a hunt. Not all delisted animals are hunted.

          1. Kathleen Avatar

            “That opinion piece is pure opinion.”
            Exactly so. This guy travels all over the world killing animals for his TV show “Meat Eater” on the Sportsman Channel. Ugh.

            1. Theo Chu Avatar
              Theo Chu

              These are “shoot the messenger” replies.

              1. Kathleen Avatar

                Actually, not. This person is not merely a disinterested “messenger.” He has a clear personal and economic interest in seeing bears delisted and available for trophy hunting. He writes about hunting. He produces TV shows about hunting. In other words, he profits from hunting.

                1. Ida Lupines Avatar
                  Ida Lupines

                  Zero credibility. Apparently he thinks reaching out to rich Wall Street ‘headhunters’ will give him support?

                2. Theo Chu Avatar
                  Theo Chu

                  The question that should have our focus is the future viability of the bear population, not whether someone might profit from hunting them, not whether they are hunted for trophies or for food, not whether they will be hunted by “rich Wall Streeters” or low income people. Those are sidebars. The legal question as to delisting is whether the population has met recovery goals and are there safeguards in place to prevent it from declining back to the point where the species will need to be re-listed and I’m confident those safeguards are adequate. If you are simply opposed to all hunting I get that, but hunting is still legal in most of the world and simply because someone like this author hunts does not disqualify him from having valid opinions.

                3. Theo Chu Avatar
                  Theo Chu

                  Try re-reading the NY Times piece starting with the second paragraph and blocking from your mind the fact that you already don’t like the author because he hunts. If it doesn’t make some sense to you that way then address the points in it, by not just attacking the messenger.

              2. Leslie Avatar

                My response above was not directed at the writer, but at his ‘facts’. Reread again. Begin with this wrong science line. This is not the connectivity we are asking for.

                “Opponents of delisting argue that grizzlies have yet to recover across their historic range, which extends roughly from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. But the Fish and Wildlife Service has addressed this problem by dividing the bears into “distinct population segments” and proposing that only one segment be delisted. After all, the grizzly’s absence from Golden Gate Park is hardly indicative of its status in the Indiana-size chunk of land surrounding Yellowstone.”

                First, connectivity is a Y2Y issue, not an ‘Across historic range’. Second, the service has already lost once on a distinct population segment, which GYE bears are only that because they have no connectivity!

                Theo, I do not know what kind of work you did with bear biologists, but if you are a biologist, then you know how 1. slow their reproduction rate it (replacement at best in 10 years!) and how slow they move out of home ranges which are extremely limited.

                1. Theo Chu Avatar
                  Theo Chu

                  In my previous comments I mentioned that biologists are well aware of the differences in reproduction rates of grizzly bears Vs wolves which will dictate that any grizzly hunting will have to be very conservative unlike current wolf hunting. I agree that home ranges are “extremely limited” and it appears that all available home ranges within the Yellowstone grizzly ranges are occupied which has resulted in bears being pushing into unfavorable or unsuitable habitats (as defined by both biological and social/cultural parameters)where they become conflict individuals.

    2. Leslie Avatar

      How can you limit hunting to problem bears? Use G&F employees as a guide with a telemetry reading? Not gonna happen that way.

      1. Theo Chu Avatar
        Theo Chu

        Yes that or something very similar is exactly how you would do it. It would be unprecedented but certainly not impossible. Thinking outside the box would be required.

        1. Kathleen Avatar


          “Vore said there would be no attempt in Montana to allow hunters to remove what’s known as management bears, those that are causing problems. That was tried in the past and met criticism for not being a fair-chase hunt and therefore unsportsmanlike.”

          1. Ida Lupines Avatar
            Ida Lupines

            “That was tried in the past and met criticism for not being a fair-chase hunt and therefore unsportsmanlike.”

            I don’t doubt it. Are there ever fair chase hunts? Only in theory or in our perfect view of ourselves. Certainly waiting outside the national park to kill a wolf isn’t fair chase.

            How would you even enforce such a thing? We read now that hunter(s) shoot bears in ‘self defense’. So if they do this they do not pass go and directly to jail? 😉

            They don’t have the coyote excuse, so it should be interesting.

  9. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Will anyone from here be attending?

    Grizzly Delisting Opponents to Talk on Saturday

  10. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    Folks should read this reported in Science Magazine.

    Culls (I guess that could mean hunting and direct reduction) are found not to foster rural tolerance, but only make matters worse. The article is about wolves, but could apply to all large carnivores, including grizzly bears. I have noticed a lot of hostile language toward bear since the matter of hunting them was officially put on the plate. The wolf hunts existing are not at all like deer or elk hunts. Reports of wolf hunts in the news and on Facebook are filled with wolf hatred. You don’t see elk hatred among elk hunters.

    Note that this study needs a lot of followup studies to overturn the view of wildlife biologists who try to practice social science and say a hunt is need to generate public support. I couldn’t read the original article because it is behind a damn paywall.

  11. skyrim Avatar

    Mike Jackson, excellent Jackson Hole photographer, has recent images of Bear 399 and a single coy on his Best of The Tetons web site.

  12. Yvette Avatar

    Using the ESA to protect wildlife may be a misuse of the purpose of the law. Assuming the purpose of the ESA is to design a management strategy to help a species recover from the damage we humans (either directly or indirectly) have caused then removing a species that has recovered is the intent. Has the grizzly truly recovered? Is the plan for grizzly delisting taking in account the projections of habitat impact from climate change and other factors like a loss of or significant decrease in whitebark pine seeds? Did the USFWS follow the federal law that mandates government-to-government consultation with affected tribes and INCLUDE those tribes in the process BEFORE the decision was made to delist? That is the law, and as required by EO #13175 all federal agencies must have written policy that outlines the particular requirements of the law. This law goes beyond simply requesting input by public stakeholders. Those who have followed this grizzly delisting process know the answer is a big fat and resounding NO, the USFWS did not properly follow the EO #13175 or their own agency policy on the law. Given that grizzly bears have one of the slowest reproduction rates of all N. American mammals we should assume that USFWS scientists and bear ecologists have addressed all of these factors plus many others. So the question to USFWS truly is, “What is the rush to delist a species that faces an uncertain future with loss of habitat and dietary needs coupled with their slow reproduction rate?” Why is USFWS and their grizzly ‘czar’ so anxious to delist? Why are the hunting guides and big animal trophy hunters salivating like a rabid dog to get the grizzly removed from the ESA?

    In this country, we need a law that provides permanent protection from hunters. For at least some species, we must have a way to protect species from those who view wildlife only as a source of entertainment and sport. At the state level, too large a portion of the wildlife management paradigm is based on killing for sport. You may not like my vernacular, but it is, “killing for sport”. It is a cultural clash between those who believe killing for sport is acceptable and those who do not. We’ve had the same wildlife management paradigm for over 100 years. There are definitely many components of our management paradigm that are needed and that work. Certainly, we need the habitat conservation that many state FWL agencies apply. However, we need reevaluate the entire system that is primarily focused on hunting and conservation for hunters’ gains. We should include an examination of the ESA and how it is used and utilized by scientists, hunters, non-hunters, anti-hunters, and wildlife advocates.

    Science (rork, please note I said science and not “western science), is supposed to be unbiased and repeatable. Is that what we’ve gotten when it comes to delisting species like grizzlies or wolves? Have we applied unbiased science when it comes to determining ESA protection for species like wolverines or sage grouse or lesser prairie chicken or have we been influenced by politicians, lobbyists, and big-money stakeholders?

    Our way and methodologies are not the only way, and in some instances, they may not be the best approach.

    I have shared this paper before, but I’m sharing it again because it has merit as to how these particular First Nation tribes managed to live with a high density of grizzlies for eons. Can their culture be applied to rules and regulations where a box can be checked or not? Highly doubtful, but it can be used as an example and to show other methods have existed that worked. If nothing else, we must open a discussion on how to protect animals and their habitat, manage for conflict and conflict reduction, hunt and fish for food, and list species on the ESA when needed (sage grouse and wolverine) and delist when they have truly recovered. Delisting should not automatically place that species in the crosshairs of hunters who kill for enjoyment and enjoyment only. But as long as our federal agencies are beholden to politics and lobbyists before they are to science then we and the wildlife are screwed.

    We need something beyond the ESA to protect wildlife.

    1. Leslie Avatar

      Yes! Delisting isn’t always coupled with hunting i.e. bald eagles and this is a major objection to the delisting proposal for grizzlies. Thank you for sharing the paper. I have not seen it before.

      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        Eagles may not be hunted, but they’re going to get the Cuisinart treatment by the Obama Administration to facilitate wind energy development:

        Under the plan announced Wednesday, wind companies and other power providers could kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles a year without penalty – nearly four times the current limit.

        And reporting the deaths is voluntary, so who knows how many? Thirty years sounds excessive to me.

        Surely there must be a happy medium between the current 5 years and 30 years? Will this Administration ever learn that you cannot let industries or hunters police themselves?

        Whose side is this Administration on, anyway? I hope it is struck down again in court.

        But there’s always a ‘comment period’, for what that is worth (zero).

    2. Theo Chu Avatar
      Theo Chu

      “Why are the hunting guides and big animal trophy hunters salivating like a rabid dog to get the grizzly removed from the ESA?”

      Really? Thanks for an otherwise rational discussion.

      1. Leslie Avatar

        Theo, you are just regurgitating what USF&W is saying but there are other ways to read the movement of bears to the edges of the PCA other than it’s full of bears. Declining food sources that pack lots of calories such as pine nuts and going towards meat (which they admit) which means hunters. Here is a very interesting article by Mattson (who is considered the expert on grizzly bear foods)who connects the 88 fires, pine nuts, and movement towards the SE areas of the PCA by bears. I suggest you read and think a bit outside the box rather than just accepting the USF&W political rap.!The-Grizzly-Bear-MothEating-Jig/c1ou2/570d59610cf29719a3860158

        1. Nancy Avatar

          “Why are the hunting guides and big animal trophy hunters salivating like a rabid dog to get the grizzly removed from the ESA?”

          Thought that comment was spot on, Leslie 🙂

          Can still recall some of those “grinning idiot” images (holding up dead wolves on a popular Facebook page) when hunting season was finally allowed on wolves in the northeast.

          “The FWS says the grizzly population will be carefully managed, but there is no funding for this, nor for monitoring the number of dead bears.

          The states, especially Wyoming, have been aggressively pushing delisting for years and can’t wait to get their hands on the controls. They’ve already divvied up the Yellowstone’s grizzly pie into wedges of “harvested” bears: Wyoming gets 58 percent, Montana 34 percent, with the final 8 percent going to Idaho (incidentally, the Wind River Reservation tribes get none.)

          After spending a federal fortune each year since 1975 to bring the grizzly back from near extinction, we’re now poised to abruptly begin killing them off for the bargain price of a hunting license. Why this fierce madness to kill our largest carnivore?”

        2. Theo Chu Avatar
          Theo Chu

          Thanks for the link to the Mattson piece. It is interesting opinion but highly speculative as the author himself notes repeatedly. He also throws in the appropriate amount of hyperbole, about Wyoming primarily, that is needed to stir up emotion. I am not regurgitating anything Leslie. My comments are based on the evidence and my background as a biologist. I have not read the “USF&W political rap” as you call it. Assuming your theory that the bears are spreading because of the loss of pine nuts and cutthroat trout and an attraction towards the very seasonally limited availability of gut piles etc. from elk hunting would suggest there should then be a loss of bears from the core which is not the case. There are as many and in most cases quite a few more bears throughout their range. The more obvious explanation would be the increase in the bear population from under three hundred to over seven hundred which almost no one disputes. Dave Mattson is one expert on grizzly foods – there are several. He is a adamant opponent of delisting and is far from objective on the topic in my opinion. Lastly after spending literally hundreds of hours in IGBST meetings I never once heard any biologist from any agency including Wyoming, Montana or myself representing Idaho ever indicate that one of the benefits of recovering grizzly bears was to provide hunting or that hunting was a significant benefit of recovery or that it was a goal of recovery or that it would contribute to agency budgets – it is far too small a number of licenses to even cover expenses in fact. The focus was totally on saving bears and bear habitat. The opportunity to hunt bears was never a consideration or goal. That there may be some hunters or guides and even some predator haters who are voicing excitement about the possibility of hunting grizzly bears is beyond the control of the state agencies and protected by the First Amendment.

  13. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines


    Before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes a final decision on grizzly protections by March 2017, it is requiring the three states to outline what their grizzly hunting seasons would look like.

    It’s sad that we only allow the slightest recovery for eagles, wolves, bears, and others before we start hammering our wildlife again, especially under this Administration. But it does sound like the brakes are being put on to some extent after reading this report, and one of the state’s spokespeople is saying they won’t hunt right after delisting (at least for a week I guess that means 😉 ). But I still don’t see how we can trust numbers from the states when they’ve played fast and loose with their wolf statistics.

    The scrutiny is intense, with wildlife advocates insisting the bear population is still too fragile for hunting and that federal officials reverse course before it’s too late.

    You bet!!

  14. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Here’s some more detailed information about the comments received re grizzly delisting (63,000!). They will be ‘weeding’ through them, and the ones that will carry the most weight, if at all, are going to be from the scientists. Thanks so much, scientists and commenters, and Park Service!

    Most of the opposition seems to be from familiar sources; cattle, woolgrowers, and hunting, with their own agendas and not concerned with the vitality of the species.

    The Park Services proposes staying away from Park boundaries, which I am grateful for (Yay!):

    But on Tuesday, Park Service officials sent a memo to USFWS reinforcing that grizzly hunting also shouldn’t be allowed in John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, the 24,000-acre region located between the two parks.

    The Park Service memo also requested that “states focus the majority of future grizzly bear harvests away from park boundaries,” and that “harvests be focused in areas where human-bear conflicts are prevalent.”

    Thank you, Park Service! We’ll see if anyone complies. As for the rest of the promises, I don’t see how they can be enforced, and once a bear has been killed, the damage is done. Not to mention illegal kills.

    I wish they’d stay away from Park boundaries for wolf hunting; we can see hunters have been unethical and not respectful of collared wolves and wolf watchers, and have outright flouted their kills in public. How do we prevent this with grizzlies?

    I don’t have faith in the ‘public comment’ system.

  15. Amre Avatar

    Judging by his comments, that “Bill Aldeo” seems like another one of those trump supporters that complains about political correctness ruining the country.

  16. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    For example, Matt Hogan, one of the key FWS spokesmen for the delisting issue, is a former leader of Safari Club International and the radical pro-hunting Sporting Congress (link). Recently retired Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator Chris Serhveen is a founder of Bear Trust International, a front group of Safari Club International (link). And, FWS Director Dan Ashe himself is hardly a neutral party on the topic of hunting grizzly bears, saying at an October 2015 conference of the Humane Society of United States that: “We need to reestablish and reground hunting (of grizzly bears) as part of an ethical tradition…. (link). ”

    From one of the latest articles from Louisa Willcox about grizzly delisting, the conflicts of interests and corruption of the people making the decision to delist. The Park Service is trying to hold the line against trophy hunting. We’ve seen this corruption with wolf delisting and I hope we don’t have to witness it again with grizzlies:

    National Park Service Stands Up for Grizzly Bears Yet Again

    And, by popular demand, a star greets her admiring public. 🙂 I was a bit hesitant to post this because I feared it would put her and her cubs in jeopardy. Watch her carefully, Park Service!:

    1. Theo Chu Avatar
      Theo Chu

      “….Bear Trust International, a front group of Safari Club International (link)”

      Can you provide the link or some other evidence?

      1. Kathleen Avatar

        It required a 2 minute google search to find that SCI and some of its individual chapters are partners and sponsors of Bear Trust. Give it a try if you want evidence.

  17. Matt Avatar

    FYI..There is a good issue of National Geographic magazine out this month. A special edition about Yellowstone National Park, including some good pics and info about grizzly bears and the park environments. It is in the local supermarkets and magazine racks this month.

    1. Amre Avatar

      Just got it today and red some of it! Its great so far!

  18. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Nothing new here, and certainly nothing to inspire confidence.

    “Illegal to kill a female with cubs” still leaves room for self-defense and “I didn’t know or see the cubs”. “Hunting season immediately closed when quotas are reached” still leaves room for going over quota as we have seen with wolves. In fact, so far this isn’t much different from wolf hunting regs, after all the buildup. “Certain areas” barred from hunting are not specified. I’d like to see a buffer zone between the two parks, and we know that ain’t never gonna happen.

    1. Leslie Avatar

      WY has got to come out with more hunting specifics like MT did in order to see what they are thinking.

      Theo says WY will send G&F guides to kill ‘bad’ bears. Doubt that’s coming. Not in MT. plan.

  19. Theo Chu Avatar
    Theo Chu

    Here’s what I believe will happen. As with the wolverine listing proposal, the USF&WS will make a decision on grizzly bear delisting proposal. If they delist every conservation group in the country, many of which I belong to, will take them to court. The court will review the evidence as they did with the wolverine and make a decision. If they decide in favor of the plaintiffs as with the wolverine it will be cheered as a great victory for science (I agree with the court on wolverine.) If the court, even if it is the same court, decides in favor of the USF&WS on grizzly bear delisting the decision will be booed thoroughly as a great defeat for science and the groups will file more lawsuits. I get all the solicitations for donations and there’s a lot of money on the line.

  20. Nancy Avatar

    The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. Black bears are omnivores with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. Wikipedia

    Scientific name: Ursus americanus

    Length: 4.5 ft. (Adult)

    Mass: 240 lbs (Adult)

    The grizzly bear less commonly called the silvertip bear, is any North American morphological form or subspecies of brown bear, including the mainland grizzly, Kodiak bear, peninsular grizzly, and the … Wikipedia

    Height: 3.3 ft. (Adult, At Shoulder)

    Length: 6.5 ft. (Adult)

    Mass: Male: 600 lbs (Inland area population), Female: 290 – 440 lbs (Adult)

    Oh, gee, I thought it was a black bear………

    1. BOB Avatar

      I suggest you research record black bears killed by hunters. Oh, gee 700 lbs and bigger

      1. Leslie Avatar

        Happens all the time. Including our very own large carnivore biologist specializing in grizzly bears who killed a griz with a black bear tag.

        Neither Size nor color works for certain identification. Hump and facial features and ears are what to look for.

        Do not shoot unless you are 100% certain.

        1. Ida Lupines Avatar
          Ida Lupines

          This will be the thing with out-of-state hunters, who don’t necessarily have a lot of experience, but lots of money to buy tags and gear. We rationalize that we can ‘educate’ but do not want to face that some will also deliberately kill a griz and use the ‘I didn’t know’ excuse. We will not factor these things in.

          It will be a lot harder without the McKittrick rule; but there’s still time to put the bite on their favorite crooked politician, if he or she isn’t too tied up with Safari Club Int’l. 😉

          “Similar to the heated debate surrounding wolves five years ago…..”

          Montana’s Congressional Delegation Supports Lifting Federal Protections for Yellowstone Grizzlies

          1. Ida Lupines Avatar
            Ida Lupines

            “Montanans” do not own or have any special claims or rights to the grizzly bears, wolves and other wildlife of the RMW, especially the ones in Yellowstone ‘National’ Park! Nor do the Wyomingites and the Idahoans.

            1. Elk375 Avatar

              I assume that RMW means the Rocky Mountain West.

              Ida, whether you like it or not historically the states own the wildlife outside a national park and in some cases such as the Grand Teton National Park the state has a right to allow elk hunting. Grand Teton National Park also has realized that they can not stop hunting on fee land within the park and now have allow in-holders to hunt on their lands.

              The 10th amendment to the bill of rights reserves what was not specify in the constitution to the states.

              There those on this forum that would like the federal government to manage all wildlife in the country or at least on federal lands. If the federal government started owning and managing wildlife on federal lands then private landowners would want to own and manage wildlife on there property Texas and New Mexico style. Impossible, think again, as large out of state individuals purchase western large ranches for recreation use there is a demand for ownership and control of residential wildlife. My opinion is that if the federal government took over the wildlife management of western federal lands then private land owners within 5 years would be in control of their residential wildlife.

              If the federal government decided that there were going to take control of wildlife on federal lands. Immediately there would be congressional legislation over turning any attempted federal takeover. No state wants the federal government to take that right away.

              It was mentioned on this forum that 75% of all big game in Montana lived on private lands, since Montana is 65% fee land and fee land has better forage that number would seem reasonable. Seventy five percent of the wildlife lives on private land and that wildlife would become privatized.

              The Western States have done a remarkable job managing wildlife with the emphasis on game animals in the last one hundred years. They may not manage for a complete eco system but that in not possible with private lands having a other priorities. Several weeks ago I was in the Madison Valley and there are thousands and thousands of elk, hundreds of deer and antelope. If one knows where to look there are mountain sheep, moose and both back and grizzly. Ida, come out West with a good pair of binoculars and you would be surprised at the abundant wildlife.

              1. Nancy Avatar

                “Ida, come out West with a good pair of binoculars and you would be surprised at the abundant wildlife”

                Wildlife, by the way Ida, who’ve got little choice in the matter when it comes to being managed, manipulated,, dominated, abused, hunted and consumed.


                1. Ida Lupines Avatar
                  Ida Lupines

                  Essentially, if you wouldn’t do it to a human, you wouldn’t do it to a nonhuman person.

                  I don’t know why this concept is so difficult. What makes us human, IMO, is what about us the ability to think of others in this way. It’s in every religious text since the beginning of time, if you define “others” as all inclusive. It’s becoming clear that other beings besides human have this ability as well, and not all of humans do.

                  I guess our selfish needs override it, and what someone else, especially the influential, defines as ‘reason’.

                  Thanks Nancy.

                  Slight OT, I’m still queasy watching the news of Donald Trump kissing up to the NRA, and putting down Hillary. 🙁

              2. Ida Lupines Avatar
                Ida Lupines

                Ida, come out West with a good pair of binoculars and you would be surprised at the abundant wildlife.

                Believe me, if I could, I’d visit every chance I got. It is breathtaking and, mostly, unspoiled.

                I just wish that the RMW (yes, Rocky Mountain West)and other places too) would be a little more open to compromise with environmentalists because we really have the same goal, and realize the same threats. I know there are decent people who are hunters, see Rich’s comments above. I might not agree, but I certainly can appreciate a thoughtful discussion. Threatening collared animals, and parading them through town to rub noses in it I do not. We all want to protect this place and its inhabitants, and ways of life.

                I appreciate your comments, Elk – you are one of the voices here that make the issue real for those of us not located ‘out there’. Your comments are reasoned and thoughtful.

                1. Ida Lupines Avatar
                  Ida Lupines

                  Or I should say – that I might not always agree generally about hunting. I agree with Rich’s comment entirely.

            2. Elk375 Avatar


              I have never meet Greg Gianforte yet I have great respect for the man and his accomplishments in the last 20 years. He came into Bozeman with small change in his pockets and by 2012 had 1200 employees with 700 in Bozeman paying an average. wage of 80 to 90 thousand. He sold his company to Oracle in 2013 for 1.8 billion.

              I could never vote for him. It will be the hook and bullet crowd that will defeat him in November.

              This is an quote from the above article.

              “He then recounted a story Sanders County commissioners communicated to him about FWP purchasing a private ranch and then locking the public out by creating a wilderness study area.

              “Access has been cut off and it’s out of the property bid. It’s out of the tax base. They already have enough public land in Sanders County. They don’t need any more public land out there. So that’s a concern. I think this is indicative of the leadership we have in Helena right now,” a leadership that is comprised of “political insiders” who are “environmental extremists.”

              Gianforte had some of his facts wrong. The state cannot create a wilderness study area, only the federal government can. Gianforte said he may have used the wrong words, but the commissioners were nonetheless angry about the acquisition in a county that already has plenty of public land.

              FWP did purchase the Full Curl Ranch in 2013 to provide a winter safe haven for a herd of about 300 bighorn sheep in the area. The 438 acres, which sold for $425,000 and included a donation from the landowner, was turned into a wildlife management area, for which FWP pays property taxes and provides public access except when the region is closed to protect the bighorns in winter.

              Funding for the purchase came from an account fed by the annual auction of one bighorn sheep license to the highest bidder. The Full Curl WMA is one of four WMAs in Sanders County that provide wildlife habitat.”

              For those that hate trophy hunting 433 acres were purchased from the funds of an auctioned Big Horn Sheep permit.

              He is a man that would allow the privatization of wildlife and the ending the stream access law. The stream access law is for another day but no sate

      2. Immer Treue Avatar
        Immer Treue

        Just another, “I thought it was.”

        In regard to the black bear “weight” 700 pounds and bigger… I’m asking a question, not a gotcha moment, but are those large black bears always taken in the fall just prior to hibernation, after putting on a seasons worth of weight?

        1. BOB Avatar

          While I would call that a educated guess.
          A quick search shows a male bear only looses 15-30% of it’s weight during the winter, a female up to 90%.

          1. Immer Treue Avatar

            Ergo that 700 pound autumn bear would be 500-600 pounds upon awakening from its slumber, well within the weight range of said grizzly.

            Yet, no absolution for improper target identification.

            Next question: those 700 pound black bears… Are they evenly distributed nationwide, or more the phenomena of eastern US, or western US?

            1. BOB Avatar

              15 year old California kid miss ID’s a bear and admits mistake. Shall we have him hanged old western style?
              10 year old Idaho kid killed a 400 pound black bear with his bow last year.
              Looks like you got some research to do to answer your next question.

              1. Immer Treue Avatar

                In the early 60’s a shirt tail cousin, while drunk driving, got in an accident and killed someone. Just an accident at that time, now he would get “hung”.

                Not much will happen to the young man, but I suspect his father will take one for the team.

                Research, without being pretentious, Nancy out up some general parameters in regard to bear weights, to which you responded. You seemed knowledgeable, so I asked.

  21. Leslie Avatar

    Both in Canada and Scandinavia, hunting has been shown to increase SSI — sexually selected infanticide — in brown bears. Ultimately, we could see a lot more of this behavior if GYE grizzlies are hunted. Just one of a multitude of peer-reviewed, published studies:

  22. Rich Avatar


    With all due respect to hunters, and I am one, I know that popular bears like 399 and her cub will not be safe if grizzlies are delisted and hunting is allowed. Hunters are often unable to tell the difference between wolves. coyotes and pet dogs with the owner standing nearby. And every year hunters harvest a few cows, horses, llamas and even humans, mistaking them for deer, elk or bear, and of course Dick Cheney shot his hunting partner. How can we expect individuals that want a famous bear skin to respect the lives of 399 and her cub and to not illegally kill them?

    Lets face it, the “I thought it was a coyote” or “the bear threatened me” will likely be sufficient to let the “perps” walk away with a wink and a nod. A few years back a young hunter in Washington shot and killed a woman hiker wearing a bright blue jacket and used the mis-idenity defense to go free without even a fine as I recall The trigger itch is intense in some individuals and will be satiated one way or another. It really doesn’t matter whether it is a 700 pound black bear, a grizzly bear or a 125 pound hiker. Famous, frequently photographed bears like 399 that tourists travel from all over the world to see alive in the wild, should have a higher purpose than to gather dust in someone’s den.

    1. skyrim Avatar

      Excellent points Rich.

    2. Kathleen Avatar

      I’ve mentioned this one before, but there was the Maine woman killed in her own backyard in ’88–it might have been her white mittens, it was suggested, that looked like a whitetail deer. And victim-blaming ensued–she was blamed for her own death. The hunter who killed her wasn’t punished. Here’s an excerpt of a compelling article from ’89.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        Jon Way, a well respected contributor to the Wildlife News, was also shot by a hunter a couple of years ago:

        1. Immer Treue Avatar
          Immer Treue

          The I thought it was excuse. This was posted a while back, but if you confuse a tent for a bear, it’s too damn dark to be hunting.


          This is not meant as anti-hunting, it’s meant as know what the hell your shooting at.

          1. Elk375 Avatar

            Shooting hours were over and the two were returning to the truck, hunting for the day was over. The tent was orange not yellow which had turned black in the darkness. This was verify the next evening by Park county deputies at the exact time as the shooting. The tent was set up in the exact spot.

            The two hunters had seen 4 grizzlies that day and were concerned. From the black object there was moaning and other noises. The hunters thought that a bear going to get them and they shot the black object. The couple was having SEX. This is the story that I got after the trial and the judge was surprise that the jury found one of them guilty, it was the 7mm that killed her. The following year the shooter drown in North Dakota.

            Put yourself in the seat of a juror and forget that this was a hunting accident but an accident that could happen to a driver on a dark evening, then make the decision.

            1. Immer Treue Avatar
              Immer Treue

              Thanks for the recap, because I “think” it was you who brought up the story a year or so ago. I just have trouble rapping myself around these excuses that “I thought it was.” It simply happens too often. It’s like “I thought I was OK to drive.” Just an accident, but no longer an excuse. The gun is meant to kill, and with that comes added responsibility.

              1. Nancy Avatar

                “The gun is meant to kill, and with that comes added responsibility”

                + 1, Immer.

                “You’re supposed to talk to the congressmen who represent a lot of your readers, and, you know, they have to sort of say “Let’s do this” or “Let’s do that.” You don’t do an executive order. But I’m for doing nothing.


                You know, it’s a mental-health problem, right? And the guns aren’t pulling the triggers, okay. It’s the people that are pulling the triggers”

                “AL: Let me ask you this—back to conservation and access for hunters’ rights to get on public land. One of the things that we’ve found is so much of this campaign—not your campaign, but this election cycle—has talked about cutting budgets and reducing the federal government. And what the budget is for managing public lands right now is at one percent. In 1970, it was two percent. Would you continue to push that number down for wildlife conservation or would you look to invest more?

                ***I don’t know why, but Paris Hilton came to mind when I read DT’s response:

                “DT: I don’t think there’s any reason to. And I will say—and I’ve heard this from many of my friends who are really avid hunters and I’ve heard it from my sons who are avid hunters—that the lands are not maintained the way they were by any stretch of the imagination. And we’re going to get that changed; we’re going to reverse that. And the good thing is, I’m in a family where I have—I mean, I’m a member of the NRA, but I have two longtime members of the NRA. They’ve been hunting from the time they were five years old and probably maybe even less than that. And they really understand it. And I like the fact that, you know, I can sort of use them in terms of—they know so much about every single element about every question that you’re asking. And one of the things they’ve complained about for years is how badly the federal lands are maintained, so we’ll get that changed.

              2. outdoorfunnut Avatar

                No matter how many time you drag up the your hyperbole the bottom line is that this type of article is more common than yours!


                Good job hunters …..keep it up.

                1. outdoorfunnut Avatar
                2. Rich Avatar

                  ODF “Nut”

                  You said

                  “No matter how many time you drag up the your hyperbole the bottom line is that this type of article is more common than yours! Good job hunters …..keep it up”

                  And the article you cited reports that:

                  “There were 23 hunting-related shooting incidents statewide during 2015, according to a newly released report from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.”

                  “Two of the 23 incidents reported in 2015 resulted in fatalities.”

                  That is an awful record. You definitely are a “nut” if you think that is a “Good job hunters”. Try to extract your head from your tokey before you write a comment.

                3. Immer Treue Avatar
                  Immer Treue

                  I’d hazard a guess, the single biggest improvement in regard to decrease hunting fatalities, esp deer rifle season, is requirement to wear blaze orange.

                  Perhaps a second positive step might be a bit less drinking.

                4. outdoorfunnut Avatar


                  Immer, Hunters orange IS NOT the number one reason for such an astounding good record. It’s HUNTERS safety courses that makes it safer! The neighbor boy that I took turkey hunting (THIS SPRING) showed great results from his classes!

                  Rich, You know full well that the numbers you site from the article (some estimates put) the hunter at 10 TIMES safer at the hunting site than the ride to it. OR 100 times safer then in a boat or shoreline or 1000 times safer then on a snow mobile. You must be one of those that fall for the “cops are killing black kids” narrative!

                5. Immer Treue Avatar
                  Immer Treue


                  And lest I become accused once again of harvesting a member of the genus Prunus, please also refer back to your cited article and improvements post 1980.

                6. outdoorfunnut Avatar

                  Immer, Your rhetoric is falling on deaf ears! If it were true that Orange is the biggy, the decline in the 80’s would be more dramatic! The steadfastness in decline is the great job the Hunters do in policing themselves! Our eyes don’t pick up orange better now then in the 80’s. Your graph tells us how flawed your author was in her (Charlotte’s) assessment. Either way, thanks for pointing us to another site that shows just how safe hunting is and the great job being done by hunters in that area.

                7. outdoorfunnut Avatar

                  PS…. hunter safety classes were started in the 70’s also.

                8. Immer Treue Avatar

                  What happened? Two things. First, in 1973, the state established a rule that hunters must wear two pieces of blaze orange clothing: one must be a hat, and the other “should cover a major portion of the torso.”

                  uThe second mandate that contributed to safer hunting came in 1986, when the state started requiring that hunters take a safety course.

                9. Nancy Avatar

                  “They see it as a necessary evil, and the good ones, the ones that don’t mix Budweiser and Winchester,” prefer to head into the woods wearing blaze orange, he said”


                  But really the most important fact is and always should be, regardless of the latest hunter “fashion wear – orange” or safety courses, best to know what the hell you’re actually shooting at, BEFORE YOU SHOOT AT IT!!!!

                  Because pleading ignorance (“oh I thought”) is a really sorry excuse anymore when it comes to death, whether they be human or non human, yet sadly still propped up and defended by the hunting/sporting hunting, industry…

                  “Collateral damage is a general term for deaths, injuries, or other damage inflicted on an unintended target”

                10. outdoorfunnut Avatar

                  Give it up Immer…. “Mandate” Wisconsin had hunter safety courses long before the approximate 1985 “Mandate”. I was one of those that took the course BEFORE it was “mandated”. Only those that think government is the answer to all social ills would think in terms of “mandate” being the start of when something actually began! Our class held at the local armory was sponsored by a local sportsman club OVER a decade before the WI “mandate”

                11. Immer Treue Avatar
                  Immer Treue

                  Well big whoop for you. Too bad the government sucks, for you. The crux of my arguement was Maine data and graph, and the largest drops came about after the mandate.

                  Why don’t we have all deer hunters go out this year,minus the orange, and see what happens. Hell, I put orange on my dogs during hunting season, because so many of those great hunters can’t tell the difference between a dog, wolf or coyote.

                12. outdoorfunnut Avatar

                  So you’re trying to tell me that if the hunters of Maine went back to the checked red wool garb the number of dead hunters would jump back up near the 1950& 1960’s average of 50+ from the current average of FIVE….. your delusional. It would be lucky if it doubled!

                13. Immer Treue Avatar
                  Immer Treue

                  Guess we’ll never know. Why don’t you and a few like you go give it a try.

                  I’m not a gambler, so if it doubled or not makes little difference to me, but it might make a difference to one of the unlucky five.

            2. Jay Avatar

              Shooting at things in the dark because you’re scared is not an accident, it’s idiocy.

              1. Immer Treue Avatar
                Immer Treue

                +++ a whole lot

    3. BOB Avatar

      Rich you claim to be a hunter. Then you should know hunters are human and all humans make mistakes. Although some here won’t admit to such.
      You should also know that laws don’t stop illegal activities or decrease trigger itch.

      Personally my opinion is all should be given the same value. No human should have a value larger than another human and no grizzly should be given a larger value than another.

      If you don’t want hunters that want a famous animal to kill that famous animal quit making them famous.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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