The Home of Adventure

Bear-Sig-01 1

Bear Grylls

Montana Hunters Push for Open Season on Grizzlies

Over the last few years, anti-predator sentiment has flared across the American West, and legislators have loosened hunting restrictions for wolves and black bears. Now, some hunters want grizzlies to be next. 

The proposal to remove the grizzly bear from the endangered species list was first put forward in 2021. Five Republican senators introduced a bill to strip the grizzly of its federal protections. At the time, it was looking like grizzly numbers had recovered to previous, healthy levels. Ranchers wanted to be able to take down aggressive grizzlies if they felt their cattle were threatened. Hunters wanted the opportunity to shoot the bear, both for sport and for meat.

This past December, Montana took the latest step in paving the way for a grizzly hunting season: the Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) released a grizzly management plan in anticipation of the bear getting dropped from the endangered species list. The move has kickstarted a new wave of legal action and advocacy from bear proponents—including some who were previously on the fence about delisting. 

Image by Mark Newman

The issue, these advocates argue, is that a lot changed in the past few years. Montana, for one, has seen a flurry of new anti-predator legislation. A 2021 bill made it legal to use neck snares on gray wolves. Another let Montana trappers chase down black bears using packs of hounds. And in Idaho, legislators expanded permissions to kill wolf pups in their dens.

Wyoming and Wisconsin have passed similar bills. As a result, Wisconsin’s wolf population was decimated over the course of a three-day hunt in 2021. Then, one-fifth of Yellowstone’s wolves were killed in a single season when it became legal to hunt along the national park’s borders. This has set back wolf conservation efforts by years if not decades. 

Now that this data is in, some prominent bear biologists have started to speak out against the delisting measure, fearing that grizzly populations could suffer the same way wolves have. But the anti-grizzly contingent isn’t slowing down. Idaho representatives are currently pushing for a Congressional decision on delisting, and Montana is working to update its legislation around large-carnivore hunting, possibly in preparation. 

With so much federal pressure, we can likely expect to see a decision on grizzlies this year, and with it, the potential for sweeping change in large-carnivore conservation across the U.S. 

Join the Conversation!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Like This

More Stories

Big News: Biden Just Established TWO New National Monuments

On March 21, the Biden Administration officially designated two brand-new national monuments: Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada and Castner Range in Texas. The monuments [...]

Peak Skis’ Latest Innovation: Skis With Built-In Tracking Technology

Outdoors + Peak Skis partnered content. When you buy through links on our site, we may also earn a commission. Thanks! A leader in [...]

Everything You Need to Know to Hike The Appalachian Trail

In July 1900, Benton Mackaye climbed a tree at the top of Vermont’s Stratton Mountain. That moment, he would later claim, was the origin [...]

6 Spectacular Summer Ski Camps for Kids (and Adults, Too!)

As temperatures get warmer around the country, young skiers and boarders dread closing day at their local ski resort. Months of dry-land training, weight [...]

What Your Zodiac Sign Says Could Be Your Ideal Outdoor Adventure

While you might only see the sun, the clouds, the moon or the stars when you glance up at the sky, astrologers see a [...]

Outlast Episode 7 Recap: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

A leopard never changes its spots. So it’s inevitable that Team CHARLIE was going to see the real Jill, warts and all. Luckily for [...]

Scroll to Top