Wyoming's Game and Fish Department is seeking a change in federal regulations to allow hunters to take nuisance grizzly bears that would otherwise be killed by authorities.
The regulation is expected to be published in the Federal Register by early October, according to a Game and Fish news release. Under the change, hunters would be limited to taking grizzlies that fit the status of nuisance bears and meet the criteria for bears to be removed from the ecosystem as defined by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Guidelines."No bears would be taken by hunters that would not otherwise be taken as nuisance bears by authorized state or federal authorities," the release added.
Nuisance bears are defined by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee as those which cause significant depradation, damage, injury or death, or which show aggressive behavior that threatens human safety.
The committee is composed of representatives from state wildlife agencies in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington, as well as the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In the release, the Game and Fish Department added that most nuisance bears likely would be relocated at least once before being killed, depending on the age and sex of the bear, the nature of the offense and the number of previous incidents.
"The decision to use a depradation hunt to remove a bear would be made only after consultations similar to those used in identifying a nuisance bear. Depradation hunts would not be used for all grizzlies," the Game and Fish Department said.
The federal regulation would authorize similar depradation hunts in Idaho and Montana, but no bears would be taken in Yellowstone National Park or Teton National Park except by authorized agency staff.