May 24, 2024

Bill to Return Grizzly Bear Management to the States Introduced by Wyoming Congresswoman Hageman

Hunters in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho could have opportunities to hunt grizzlies like this hunter in Alaska if Hageman’s Bill passes. Hunters will replace government-funded “shooters” and maintain a balanced grizzly population for generations!

New legislation from Congresswoman Harriet Hageman (R-Wyoming) would direct the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to remove the Yellowstone Region’s grizzly bears from the federal endangered species list (ESL).

This would return management to the states and allow regulated hunting, a concept supported by the Governors of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Last year, with full GOA support, the three Governors asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to remove the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) population of grizzly bears from the ESL.

As our members and supporters probably know, many opponents to “Delisting” are the same people who want to restrict your right to keep and bear arms and your right to hunt! They ignore the fact that lethal grizzly control is now being implemented by taxpayer-funded government employees to maintain a balanced grizzly population and ensure public safety.   

Current grizzly population estimates in the GYE demonstrate that over 1,000 grizzlies roam the three-state area, and this estimate far exceeds all federal and state scientific requirements for a recovered and viable population.   

The states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho developed a tri-state Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding the management and allocation of discretionary mortality of grizzlies in the GYE, and this MOA demonstrates that grizzly populations have expanded their range far beyond the edges of the bears’ biological and socially-acceptable range.

Grizzlies are now found 65 miles outside the Demographic Monitoring Area (DMA) established by the Federal Government (USFWS) as suitable habitat for the long-term viability of grizzlies.

“Delisting” will result in management authority being turned over to the states following American legal traditions established by the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.  This “Model” grants legal authority to the states for the management of most wildlife species including upland game birds, deer, elk, moose, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, turkeys, resident birds, small mammals, reptiles, and all other species except migratory birds and those on the ESL.

Let’s be honest, many “Delisting” opponents simply want to restrict your right to hunt. These opponents to your freedoms will not tell you that government-funded lethal grizzly control has been used for many years to ensure public safety.   

In one year (2021), in Wyoming alone, 29 grizzlies were lethally removed by government officials! If Hageman’s bill passes and returns management to the states, hunters in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho will be used to manage these populations using tightly controlled and carefully regulated hunting. 

Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho have a long-term management plan in place to ensure grizzlies do not need to be “relisted”, and they will professionally manage grizzly bears just like they do all other wildlife species.

By all objective measures, grizzly bears have been “recovered” for many years. Gun Owners of America publicly supported delisting over a year ago and applauds Congresswoman Hageman for her 2023 legislation.   

Be on the lookout for more from GOA about this and other issues in the coming weeks and months as we continue to fight to protect the Second Amendment and advance hunter opportunities throughout America!

P.S. Please be watching for updates about Second Amendment and hunting issues in the coming weeks and months, and be on the lookout for information about other GOA efforts that will protect and/or advance your Second Amendment Rights and hunting opportunities!

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