Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing that there will not be a hunting season for grizzly bears in southwest Montana this year. The proposal will be before the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission at their regular meeting Feb. 15.

Fuse

Why Montana isn’t hunting grizzly bears

FWP director, Martha Williams, has consistently stated that Montana won’t be hunting grizzly bears.

“Our focus, now they are delisted, is managing these iconic species for long term recovery and at the same time having the ability to respond to conflicts in the Yellowstone ecosystem,”

Williams said.

“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 also are continuing to work hard at responding proactively to bear conflicts and educating people and communities in grizzly country how to be bear aware.”

Additionally, with challenges to the grizzly bear delisting rule already working their way through the courts, a hunting season seems likely to complicate those proceedings.

The department is bringing the issue before the Commission now to clarify the process in this first year of delisting of how it will propose or not propose a hunting season for grizzly bears. However, the question may not come before the Commission again unless the department decides to recommend a grizzly bear hunting season.

The Commission meeting will be at Montana WILD in Helena starting at 8:30. It will also be streamed live online and by video conferencing to FWP regional offices around the state. For more information, go online to fwp.mt.gov and click on Commission.