MTPR

Dan Vermillion

Montana Won't Allow Yellowstone-Area Grizzly Bear Hunts In 2018

Feb 15, 2018
Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. (File photo).
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana won't hold a grizzly bear hunt in 2018 after state officials said Thursday they want to avoid complicating lawsuits over the animal's legal status.

Federal officials last year lifted Endangered Species Act protections for about 700 bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, opening the door to potential hunting in the three-state region.

Elk at a feed ground in Wyoming.
USGS (PD)

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission sent a letter to Wyoming last week asking wildlife managers to reconsider the use of winter feeding grounds in order to help prevent chronic wasting disease.

Dan Vermillion, the chairman of the commission, said "it’s not our position to tell them what to do. It’s not our position to tell them how to manage their wildlife. We’re just asking them as a neighbor to help us."

Saskatchewan's CL215, or "super scooper," is decontaminated of potential invasive species after fighting the Bridge Coulee Fire on the east side of the continental divide.
Nicky Ouellet

Montana faces twin threats this summer: On land, crews are battling some of the biggest and most destructive fires in the country. In the water, officials are staving off the spread of invasive mussels that could cause millions of dollars of damage to hydropower dams and irrigation lines. These threats come together for wildland firefighters, who often use equipment that travels across the country and has the potential to carry invasive hitchhikers with it. But firefighters are tackling the potential contamination head on.

The grizzly bear is Montana’s state mammal, famous for its size, strength and intelligence. Grizzlies have been hunted for centuries by first peoples to obtain mythic power and by farmers and ranchers to protect livestock. In large swaths of the U.S., market hunters exterminated the great bear for its fur. With the grizzly off the endangered species list, should Montana allow trophy hunting? Dan Vermillion, chair of Montana's Fish & Wildlife Commission, joins us to discus on this episode of "Home Ground Radio."

State Wildlife officials today re-opened portions of the Yellowstone River and most of its tributaries, but it kept a popular stretch of the waterway closed to all recreational activity because of a parasite that’s killed thousands of fish.

The closure has been in place since August 19.

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