Sportsmen should be allowed to hunt and kill nuisance grizzly bears in Wyoming, according to the state Game and Fish Commission.
Commission members agreed recently to endorse Game and Fish Department plans to seek a federal regulation establishing guidelines for such a hunt in Wyoming."I want you to know that there are people who will oppose this," said Dale Strickland, department assistant chief game warden. "There will be people nationwide who will be against this because there are some people who do not want grizzly bears to die."
Strickland said such hunts would have to occur outside of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, and he added hunters selected would have to be accompanied by a department representative.
A hunt for nuisance bears would be patterned after a similar program in place around Glacier National Park in Montana, Strickland said.
He added the department would like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to allow such hunts in areas in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming around the Yellowstone ecosystem.
A bear would be designated a nuisance bear under Interagency Grizzly Bear guidelines, Strickland said.
"The criteria are long and they're very detailed and there's a lot of anguish goes into making a decision to remove a bear," he said.
Although conservation groups have questioned the wisdom of a nuisance bear hunt informally, none have offered alternatives, Strickland said.
Canada has said it will no longer allow the U.S. to relocate its problem grizzlies in its territory, and zoos prefer to use grizzlies born in captivity, leaving agencies with only the option of destroying the animals, Strickland said.