GYC welcomes Montana decision to hold off on grizzly hunt

Great news for grizzly bears! Montana’s wildlife commission recently voted *not* to hold grizzly bear hunts in 2018.

 Grizzly sow with cubs. (Photo Tom Murphy.)

Grizzly sow with cubs. (Photo Tom Murphy.)

The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) Commission voted in February not to hunt grizzly bears this year, in support of recommendations from FWP biologists and leadership.

In a news release, FWP director Martha Williams said the decision is meant to reinforce the state’s commitment to the grizzly bear’s long-term survival.

“Holding off on hunting for now, I believe, will help demonstrate our commitment to long-term recovery and at the same time allow us the science-based management flexibility we need,” Williams said.

We applaud Montana for this recent move, particularly because we’ve seen two years of record grizzly bear deaths because of conflicts with humans. And we simply can’t risk America’s 40-year, $40-million investment to bring bears back from the brink of extinction. This decision demonstrates Montana’s leadership in conserving grizzly bears, and we’ll be urging Idaho and Wyoming to follow Montana’s lead.

To be clear, GYC opposes trophy hunting of grizzly bears. Over the past two years, we’ve repeatedly called for at least a five-year moratorium on hunting. But we also know that bear deaths are mostly caused by run-ins with hunters, cows, hikers, and campers. That’s why we’re working to bear-proof campgrounds and communities, and to encourage people to carry bear spray.

Thank you, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for doing the right thing for grizzly bears. And thank you, our supporters, for standing with us as we work every day on the ground to keep bears alive.

-- Shana Drimal, Wildlife Program Associate