A federal judge in Montana will make the decision Thursday whether to put the iconic Yellowstone grizzly bear back on the endangered species list. Depending on the outcome, Wyoming’s grizzly hunt may not happen.
If the federal judge decides to put the grizzly back on the endangered species list, all management of the bears will go back to the federal government. This would mean Wyoming’s planned grizzly hunt would be canceled.
Wyoming Game and Fish Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik said he doesn’t believe that's what Wyomingites want.
“In consideration of what the public has articulated they are interested in, that process cumulated in a hunting season. A managed, very tightly regulated hunt,” said Nesvik.
He said grizzly management should be in state hands. That way the decisions are made by those who live closest to the bear.
Conservation groups and Native American tribes, including Wyoming’s Wind River tribes, say they support putting the bear back on the list and say the federal government has disregarded of the effects of climate change on the grizzly’s main food sources. They also say a spike in bear mortalities in the last four years had made the grizzly’s future uncertain. The judge is expected to decide from the bench Thursday or within 24 hours of the hearing.