The Citizen Grizzly Bear Advisory Council released a final report that sets the guidelines for state management of Grizzly Bears.
The Grizzly bear population is increasing. These predators are now being observed in much of our state. The initial restoration numbers for a healthy bear population has been surpassed. Human, agriculture, and livestock are being impacted. Encounters are common and deadly.
Elk, deer, and other game populations are declining due to more predation from Grizzly Bears. Education and training will be needed t reduce contact and conflict.
Gov. Bullock ordered the council to form last summer. “Existing management plans did not fully anticipate grizzly bear distribution across the landscape.” 18 citizens were chosen to develop a more comprehensive plan to address the growing Grizzly Bear population.
The final plan focuses on education, outreach, conflict prevention, connectivity between populations and potential hunts. Bolstering Bear Aware programs is recommended. These programs teach how to use bear spray. More bear proof infrastructure is needed.
Full funding for the Livestock Loss Board is recommended. This fund is used to compensate livestock producers for bear kills and damages.
Carcass removal, range riders, electric fencing are tools to reduce bear issues. Trapping and relocation of bears is encouraged. Sadly, many of these problem bears are released into public lands where encounters with hunters becomes more likely.
The Council wants to see the populations expand so that the bears can more easily breed. Grizzly Bears are still Federally managed and protected. This plan will be used if the bears are de-listed. Hunting is not being encouraged at this time. If hunting were allowed, out of state hunters would be required to hire a guide. If a hunter were to receive a tag, it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. They would be required to take a training course and qualify. Only male bears would be legal.
Bear with us!
For more Montana Grant, find him grizzled at www.montanagrantfishing.com.